One of our favorite communities, the Dominican Nuns of Summit, NJ, have been investing new novices with some heartening regularity. Their blog, Moniales, is an inspiring, enlightening and often fun window into their monastic life, making it more understandable and less strange to people, while also helping young women discern if such a life of prayer is meant for them.
Like other monastics, including the Carmelite Monks of Wyoming who produce the Incredible Mystic Monk Coffees in my right sidebar, these nuns try to earn money by offering unique and superior goods manufactured in their house. Most recently they have begun marketing what I unhesitatingly call The BEST Lip Balm Evah (it really is), as well as a Hand Lotion that glides beautifully, and which I actually like better as a body lotion. A little goes a long way; I put that stuff on my limbs in the morning and at bedtime I’m still silky-smooth. The soaps are lovely, too. (This is where I’ll be buying my Christmas stocking stuffers this year).
The monastery at Summit was originally designed to be a Basilica and Shrine, but construction stopped for during the depression and the original plans were never completed. The sisters – who live out their lives enclosed within the house and grounds – find they need to upgrade the building, give themselves a little elbow room and consider the possibility of enlarging, and so they are establishing a Capital Campaign and looking for help. I know my kitchen needs an upgrade, too, but my cabinets doors are not falling off as I cook!
We are working to raise $500,000 for crucial renovations to the monastery and also to establish an endowment fund of $1,000,000 for the daily upkeep of the monastery. Our dream is also to raise enough to build a new wing, housing infirmary, library, guest rooms, parlors, and gift shop, although architects estimate that such a wing would cost a whopping 7 million dollars.
The renovations are necessary in order to make our hallways, refectory and kitchen fully accessible to all the nuns and to bring them up to safety codes.
You don’t undertake this sort of fundraising without a huge dose of faith. But it can be done. Consider what Mother Angelica managed to accomplish with $200.00 and her monastery’s garage!
The sisters have posted information on planned giving and commemorative gifts. Those interested can also donate online here. As the sisters say, “No gift given in love is too small!” I believe they take paypal. The nicest thing about dealing with these nuns is that they pray all day and all night, and they are happy to pray for you and your needs or intentions – even if you don’t donate at all. But gosh, imagine if you have a nun praying for you as both a friend and a benefactor! Hmmm….
As long as we’re talking vocations, some further updates since my last posting on the topic.
Franciscan Sisters of the Martyr St. George received six sisters to first profession and four new novices.
The Franciscan TOR’s: one final profession, three simples, four novices and two aspirants.
The Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal: a final profession and numerous novices
The Cistercian Nuns in Wisconsin are literally bursting at the seams of their small house, with five new novices and three postulants
The Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church have a GORGEOUS new web site!
The School Sisters of Christ the King: two novices and two final professions
The Dominicans of Mary Mother of the Eucharist: Eight final professions, Fourteen (!) first vows, 8 new novices and 12 postulants
Salesian Community: 2 First professions and two final professions; they have 19 men in formation.
North American Pontifical College – 61 seminarians. Deacon Greg says it’s the biggest class since 1968. New generation!
Deacon Greg also has a story that might make a great movie: a boyfriend in Italy, keeping vigil at the convent, hoping his g/f will come back out.