Saturday, May 16, 2009

Our Chimes are Back. A Benedictine oblate blog

My wonderful wife and I try to keep our home monastic quiet except for bell sounds that chime the time — like the chimes we hear from the bell tower at the monastery where we are oblates.

We use and highly recommend PC Big Ben Chimes Computer Software by Aquarius Soft to create such bell chimes if you do not have a resounding grandfather’s clock. The sound from the program is remarkable. We play the sounds on a set of Altec Lansing VS4121 speakers with great resonating bass and one Acoustic Research wireless speaker. We can hear the rich sound throughout the house.

Some time ago we used an old laptop computer to run the PC Big Ben chime program to constantly remind us to pray without ceasing. And of course it reminded us of our visits to the monastery because the chimes from this super program sound just like the ones at the monastery.

OK, so everything was working fine until the old laptop computer broke leaving us in the dark — sound-wise.

A couple of days ago we got a used computer for $75 and now have chimes back in our quiet home. We are very happy and have missed the structure of the day marked by the chimes — like guardrails for our monastic spirits.

“Listen” is the first word in the Rule of St. Benedict. But equally important is the next part of the first sentence in the Rule:

“LISTEN carefully, my son, to your master's precepts, and incline the ear of your heart (Prov. 4:20).

The chimes help incline the ear of our hearts to the precepts of quiet living and prayerful meditations.



The picture is "Bell of Reconciliation" in Berlin. Photographed by ThunderChild5, thank you.

The picture is "one of the Bells from the Reconciliation Church on Bernauer Strbleepe, Berlin [built in 1884]. This church formed part of the infamous Berlin wall until it was blown up by the East German Army in the eighties.... A new church was built after reunification on the existing site, the bells are now housed in a wooden slatted structure."


  1. Hi, Colleen,

    Thank you for the comment.

    Another oblate at St. Leo Abbey is also using the PC Big Ben Chimes Computer Software by Aquarius Soft and she loves them too.

    In addition to a midrange speaker, it’s mostly the “woofer” (which is a speaker that reproduces bass sounds, ie the lower audio frequency sounds) that causes the chime to hang in the air a long time and adds a lot to the effect.

  2. Thanks for the inspiration. My computer is not compatible to that program. However, I know just how I can set up chimes in my own home with recordings and equipment that I already have.
    I have the speakers and the chime tones recorded, and the alarm capabilities on my ipod which will plug into the speakers.... I just had not thought to put an Ipod and the speakers together for this purpose.. Thanks for reminding me to do this.

  3. Deanne, Obl. S.B.,

    You are very welcome. Your set up sounds super --- very smart!

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed this blog, thanks for sharing.