The meeting a few days ago with Brother Alois, Prior of Taizé, was an opportunity to discover once again how the health crisis, while causing drama, can spark creativity and help us reinvent ourselves.
The Community of Taizé, which has just celebrated its 80th anniversary, today brings together a hundred brothers (from nearly 30 nations). In the words of their founder, Brother Roger, they are determined to live in community with God who is “love and love only”. They “seek to understand each other and always reconcile: a community where kindness and simplicity are at the center of everything”. (Brother Roger, God Can Only Love, p. 40). For them, finding themselves in the essentials of common life means working for ecumenism, not in a theoretical way, but by living the reconciliation between different cultures and in mutual hospitality. We know how much their charisma appeals to teenagers and young adults; they generally come by the thousands to the hill of Taizé or congregate each year in a large capital.
What founds the life of the brothers together, spiritually and materially, are the bonds that keep them alive. In the midst of the pandemic, it is a challenge and a call. How to respond when many countries are subject to containment measures and the arrival of young visitors to Taizé is made impossible?
To nurture this spiritual bond, Taizé offers every day the possibility of following the noon and evening prayers online, live, in audio or video .
But how can we continue to live materially? Traditionally, to earn a living, the brothers of the community produce pottery and enamels on copper, and publish Taizé books and music. However, in these pandemic times, there is no financial income from hospitality or from the store that has closed.
While this question was being asked in the midst of confinement, in the spring of 2020, an intuition took hold in the Taizé community and a new project was born: to produce biscuits, “the squares of Taizé” (the squares of Taizé ). Thanks to the advice of several biscuit factories, brothers were trained and learned the different stages of biscuit making.
Local craftsmen provide the ingredients needed for the entire biscuit industry, flour, honey, … Until the making of the magnificent boxes shaped by a company in the neighboring village. Thus, this production is part of the ecological logic of short circuits.
This is how the “Carrés de Taizé” were born. They are sold today at the corner market which has become a veritable meeting place for the brothers, and orders can also be placed online.
But beware! Anticipate your purchase to taste or offer these little wonders! Because the demand is such that there may be a shortage of stock, … and yet the brothers work without counting the cost.