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Saturday, 4 April 2015

On Female Religious Vocations

In the United States, unlike Europe, only a handful of contemplative, traditional nuns exist today.

I can only think of four convents, or rather monasteries, as these contemplative places are truly called, which I can recommend.

The problem centers on the American Catholic preoccupation with action. The active orders, such as the excellent Dominican Sisters of Mary, the Mother of the Eucharist, have more popularity in the States than contemplative ones. Another great active order is the Sisters of Life, from New York, which are partly contemplative.

But, what is sorely missing on this continent are the religious orders which pray and work within the confines of the monastic rule, such as the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles.

St. Faustina had a vision concerning the need for the sacrifices and prayers of the contemplative orders. After this snippet, I shall explain what I am doing.

"During the renewal of the vows, I saw the Lord Jesus on the Epistle side (of the altar), wearing a white garment with a golden belt and holding a terrible sword in His hand. This lasted until the moment when the sisters began to renew their vows. Then I saw a resplendence beyond compare and, in front of this brilliance, a white cloud in the shape of a scale. Then Jesus approached and put the sword on one side of the scale, and it fell heavily towards the ground until it was about to touch it. Just then the sisters finished renewing their vows. Then I saw Angels who took something from each of the sisters and placed it in a golden vessel on the other side of the scale, it immediately out weighed and raised up the side on which the sword had been laid. At that moment, a flame issued forth from the thurible, and it reached all the way to the brilliance. Then I heard a voice coming from the brilliance: "Put the sword back in its place; the sacrifice is greater."

It is becoming clearer daily to me now that I have this humble and sadly under-furnished chapel here, that my daily monastic life in the world is exactly what God wants for me. This daily prayer and work combination, very Benedictine, of course, has been shown to me to be a great need on the scales of sacrifice noted above.

Now, vows constitute a much more powerful spiritual power than my small actions daily, as I have made no vows. Yet, daily, even hourly, a cloud has lifted, a cloud of doubt, being replaced by a calm light of assurance that something good is coming out of my decision to pursue monasticism in the world, in a very small manner.

One person in a remote neighborhood with the grace of God, the rule of discipline, and the sacrifice of a desired life for one of obscurity and no comforts, can change an neighborhood, an area, souls. I am being encouraged,

One woman said to me the other day after we prayed together briefly that she wishes she could join me, as the experience of prayer was like being in a monastery. However, she has six children and this was a mere respite for her.

This little chapel is that respite, this little cell in the world. 

I pray that young women answer the call to the contemplative life. Christ needs such women to balance the judgement on the one side of the scales.

Who knows? If enough young women responded, maybe the coming tribulation could be lessened, or even avoided.

Parents, encourage your daughters to think and visit these orders of contemplation. The Church and society need contemplatives more than ever today.

Please pray about helping me outfit this little chapel. I still need a real altar, linens, and kneelers, as well as a standing crucifix and tall candlesticks, as the candlesticks I am using are borrowed. The owner of the house has given me permission to "go for it", meaning she likes the idea of a chapel in her empty house. Someone will sell me a portable altar at a reduced price, with linens, but I have no money for this.

I have many icons now, and will be getting some smallish statues soon from a reader. 

Remember the chapel, St. Mary of the Angels and Martyrs, in Ephesus in your prayers.