Once a month, Hendrix has a Taizé worship service. These services consist of repetitive song, silence, and prayer in the candlelit chapel.
History of the Taizé Community
Taizé is a tiny village hidden away in the hills of Burgundy, in the eastern part of France not far from the town of Cluny. Since 1940 it has been the home of an ecumenical community of brothers whose prayer, three times each day, is at the center of their life. Today, Taizé is a place to which visitors of all ages and backgrounds come on pilgrimage, to participate in international meetings of prayer and reflection.
Brother Roger first came to the village of Taizé in 1940, at the age of twenty-five. He dreamed of starting a community "on account of Christ and the Gospel" , and he chose to do so in an area, in those years, strongly marked by human distress. It was wartime, and his house became a place of welcome for refugees, especially Jews, fleeing from the Nazi occupation. After living alone for two years he was joined by his first brothers, and in 1949, when there were seven of them, they committed themselves, for life, to celibacy and to life together. Year after year, other brothers make the same monastic commitments.
At first, the community was made up of brothers from different Protestant denominations. Today it includes many Catholics as well. By its very nature Taizé is an ecumenical community. It is also international. Its eighty or so brothers come from some twenty different countries throughout the world. All the brothers do not always remain in Taizé; some live in small groups, known as fraternities, among the poor of different continents. One of these is located in a poor section of New York City. Since 1966, members of an international Catholic congregation of sisters, who live according to the spirit of St. Ignatius of Loyola, have taken responsibility for a large part of the work of welcoming people to Taizé; their house is located in a nearby village.
Taizé vocation is to strive for communion among all. From its beginnings, the community has worked for reconciliation among Christians split apart into different denominations. But the brothers do not view reconciliation among Christians as the end in itself: it concerns all of humanity, since it makes the Church a place of communion for all.
Taizé and the young
During the first twenty years of its existence, the community lived in relative isolation. Then, gradually, young people between the ages of 18 and 30 began coming to Taize, in ever-increasing numbers. Today, visitors take part in the week-long international meeting which bring young people from many different countries together, throughout much of the year. Participants enter into the prayer of the community, and share their lives and concerns with one another. They look for ways of living lives of prayer and commitment in their own local situation. Others came to Taizé to confront their lives with the Gospel in the solitude of a silent retreat.
But this search is not limited only to Taizé. Through meetings and visits, it spreads out to many countries and continents. In this way, hundreds of thousands are able to participate in a common journey of faith. But Taizé has always refused to create a "movement", instead placing the accent on becoming involved in one's own local situation.