“Inside the Cloister”: Casey N. Cep on Joy Within the “Jesus Cage”

in the New Yorker:

…The community at Rockford, one of around fifty or so in the United States, was organized in 1916. It was first housed in a Victorian home, then in a former sanitarium. In 1962, it moved onto its current fourteen-acre campus. The Poor Clares at Rockford observe extreme poverty, by fasting and going barefoot. Theirs is a contemplative order, meaning that, unlike active orders, they separate themselves from the world, embracing solitude and silence, devoting themselves to prayer and worship. Reese writes in the book’s preface that her project began with this question: “What compels a woman in this era of overexposure—at a time with the technological means to reach a global audience—to make a drastic, lifelong, countercultural decision for her life, in favor of obscurity?”

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