A Joyful Community of Intercessors Needs a Bit More Space

dear sisters

In Rumer Godden's classic gem of a novel, In This House of Brede, a large cloistered community of English Benedictine nuns faces a pressing debt; one nun rather serenely says she will pray for the solution. "Like a child asking the bank manager for a bag of money to take home to Daddy?" a sharp-tongued sister asks in rebuke."Exactly. Exactly like that," says the first nun.Later, when the idea of selling of 7 of the community's 14 acres seems like the only practical answer, the doubtful … [Read more...]

Sisterly Support: When Nuns Move In Together (and Nun News Updates)

Sioux City Carmel, June 2013

Earlier this year, after what sounds like a truly "long and difficult journey" some Redemptoristine nuns, who were losing the temporary housing they needed while seeking a permanent place to live, work and pray, found a solution out of Carmel:The Carmelite nuns of Beacon were prudently examining their future and their ability to remain on their lovely property. Knowing of the Redemptoristine‚Äôs dilemna...The Carmelites voted unanimously to issue an invitation and within two weeks the councils … [Read more...]

Nun News for Autumn, 2013

nun news network

The annual nun-news round-up happened, last year, on the Feastday of Saint Therese of Lisieux, and it seemed to me a perfect day to celebrate news of new or proceeding religious vocations, so I've decided to do it every October 1. As ever, please don't ask me why I don't include more unhabited communities; there are some here; I give the news I can find.Let's start with the monastics!The big news from our friends the Dominican Nuns of Summit, NJ, aside from their new line of soaps, is … [Read more...]

Craving Silence to Hear: Atchison Blue

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If I am late coming to a review of Judith Valente's new book -- which is currently being featured in the Patheos Book Club, it is only because the pope keeps all of us very busy these days, and Atchison Blue: A Search for Silence, a Spiritual Home and a Living Faith is too good for a slap-dash mention. After reading, it needed time for absorption, and even some revisits, to do it justice.People are fast to make comparisons between Atchison Blue and Kathleen Norris' beloved modern classic, … [Read more...]

Reconciling Eve and Mary in Another Way – UPDATED

Eve and Mary by Sr. Grace Remington, O.C.S.O

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. -- Ecclesiastes 3:1Via Deacon Greg, we get this terrific story out of Missouri:A former monastery for Catholic nuns is preparing for new life. It will now become home to Life House Crisis Maternity Home, which has partnered with Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri.For more than forty years, it was a quiet place of prayer. "They were here praying, praying for all of us in southern Missouri, and … [Read more...]

Benedictine Voices: Angels and Saints Debuts at #1

1A SINGING NUN

So, Katrina is in one of her hissing moods, tonight, and I have decided that what she needs is to listen to the incredibly sweet tone of the Benedictines of Mary, whose latest album, Angels and Saints at Ephesus has debuted at #1 on the Classical music charts.Why am I doing this? Because that's just the kind of gal I am, and also because "music hath charms to soothe the savage breast", and for soothing the savage there is almost nothing better than this stuff. I don't know if it's because … [Read more...]

God in the Balance; Loving Dark and Light

shutterstock_128909486 fallencrucifix

Regardless of our religion -- whether we are Catholics or Evangelicals or Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist -- the spiritual life challenges us to find balance. One of the reasons I was attracted to the Rule of Saint Benedict was because in ora et labora there is a prescription for balance. In the recitation of the Divine Office, we not only sanctify our time but we also set a pace for the whole day of prayer; work; prayer; work until -- if we are good Benedictines (and I am not one) it all flows … [Read more...]

They’re running out of white veils, at Summit!

When my husband and I had a chance to attend a First Profession at the Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary, in Summit, we saw that the professing nun, Sister Mary Magdalene was radiant with joy, but one impression that remained with me for a long time after was her small but constant smile of delight.To me it seemed eloquent of the intimacy of this moment of espousal to Christ. The declaration of vows is public, and yet it is all interior, as well. As I wrote, then:One expects a … [Read more...]

Benedict’s hope lies in the reach of a monk’s prayers…UPDATES

Subiaco Cave

(Subiaco Cave, where St. Benedict of Nursia lived)My piece at First Things this week looks at the point and the lesson behind Pope Benedict's embrace of monasticism over his remaining time on the papal throne:The failure is heard in the shrieks of pain, ignorance, and hatred directed at the Church throughout the chambers of mainstream and social media; it is seen in the faithful priests and laypeople who read one awful headline after another and continue on, but with increasingly … [Read more...]

Order Monastery Candy, Cremes and Wreaths Soon!

caramels trappistines

I know, I know, I keep saying I'm going to create my annual "Christmas Gift Ideas" post but Sandy has slowed me down a little. I promise to have that for you this weekend (and I have some great stuff to recommend!) but a heads up here, for those of you planning to buy from Monastics -- most of them take their orders now and then ship near Christmas so they can pray their way through Advent without a lot of noise, so its best to order these things in nearly November:The chocolate-covered … [Read more...]


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