I spent Saturday with the lovely, incredible, joyous, and Spirit-filled nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary in Summit, New Jersey. It was a rare gift not only being able to speak with Srs. Mary Catharine and Judith Miryam and meet many of the Sisters, but also getting a tour of the Monastery. I’m writing the story up for Our Sunday Visitor, but I wanted to share some of the pictures of this remarkable place.
The nuns are experiencing such a vocation boom that they’re bursting at the seams and have to build a new structure, and they need your help. They are sustaining us with a life of prayer, and more young women keep flocking to their order to discern a vocation. The least we can do is help them in their vital mission.
I’ll link to my OSV story when it’s ready.
Many people misunderstand the essential role of cloistered nuns in the life of the church. (When I told someone about them, I was asked, “Why aren’t they out teaching?!”)
Sr. Mary Catharine sent me this quote from St. John Paul II as a partial reply to that question:
Moreover, in the East, monasticism was not seen merely as a separate condition, proper to a precise category of Christians, but rather as a reference point for all the baptized, according to the gifts offered to each by the Lord; it was presented as a symbolic synthesis of Christianity.
When God’s call is total, as it is in the monastic life, then the person can reach the highest point that sensitivity, culture and spirituality are able to express. This is even more true for the Eastern Churches, for which monasticism was an essential experience and still today is seen to flourish in them, once persecution is over and hearts can be freely raised to heaven. The monastery is the prophetic place where creation becomes praise of God and the precept of concretely lived charity becomes the ideal of human coexistence; it is where the human being seeks God without limitation or impediment, becoming a reference point for all people, bearing them in his heart and helping them to seek God.
I would also like to mention the splendid witness of nuns in the Christian East. This witness has offered an example of giving full value in the Church to what is specifically feminine, even breaking through the mentality of the time. During recent persecutions, especially in Eastern European countries, when many male monasteries were forcibly closed, female monasticism kept the torch of the monastic life burning. The nun’s charism, with its own specific characteristics, is a visible sign of that motherhood of God to which Sacred Scripture often refers.