As the Restoration of the Church in the West accelerates (Deo Gratias!), I become more and more conscious of the fact that this is due to the grace of God operating through the prayers and good works of professed religious men and women who devote their whole lives to prayer and praise of God, and works of mercy. (Since I began to pray one of the “hours” of the Divine Office every morning, I have begun to appreciate the amazing fact that whole groups of men and women have devoted their entire lives to praying the complete Divine Office every single day, year after year after year. It is an incredible calling, a beautiful vocation, and I love following the flourishing of religious orders at home and abroad. Here are a few things I have found that showcase the beautiful and sacred life of consecrated religious women in the United States, organized by religious order.
- Benedictines On Regina Magazine‘s blog, a recent post with abundant photos shows life Behind Convent Walls at a Benedictine convent in Oklahoma, the life of the Benedictine Sisters of Clear Creek in the diocese of Tulsa. These nuns are wonderful, and the magazine/blog is as well. How I would like to visit someday!
- Carmelites A Few Lines to Tell You: My Life in Carmel by Sister Marie of the Trinity from 1957 tells, in the delightful form of letters to her family at home, all about her new contemplative life in the Carmelite convent. I read this book around the time of my Confirmation, and marveled at the beauty of the calling to the religious life. Ultimately I had a vocation to the married life, but this book is a wonderful way that I hope to use in teaching my daughters and sons to understand the dignity and beauty of the cloistered religious life.
- Cistercians Did you know that there is only one order of English-speaking Cistercian nuns in the West? This is the order of Our Lady of the Valley, and you can find out about them here. I just learned about them and their beautiful life yesterday on their website. (They have oblates, if you want to become a Third Order Lay religious!)
- Dominicans Also at Regina Magazine, there is an interview with a cloistered Dominican nun. Lots of photos show the joy of the nuns in their life that is based on the liturgy: the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the Divine Office. The best known Dominican sisters in the U.S. right now are not strictly contemplative, and the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia in Tennessee and the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Michigan pray and teach in Catholic schools. (This was the order I wanted to run away and join once upon a time, in the heart of Tennessee–and I still love them dearly!)
- Franciscans (Poor Claires) And of course I must link to the site of the wonderful Our Lady of the Angels Monastery and their Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, to which I have been privileged to visit. You will love the vocation stories told by the sisters themselves on the website. If you live within driving distance of Hanceville, AL, you should visit the Shrine and pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament for a while, as the sisters do all day every day.
Because they are constantly supporting us with their lives of prayer, support faithful religious orders with your own prayers and almsgiving! The goodness of God is being poured out upon the United States through its multiplying foundations of faithful religious orders. I just got a letter in the mail yesterday asking for donations to help the Dominicans of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, whose congregation went from 4 sisters to 110 sisters in just seventeen years. Glory be to God! It’s an exciting time to be Catholic–let’s help keep this going!