Catholics throughout the world today are invited to celebrate Pro Orantibus Day, a special day set aside to honor the cloistered and monastic life.
“The primary purpose of Pro Orantibus Day (‘For Those Who Pray’) is to thank God for the tremendous gift of the cloistered and monastic vocation in the Church’s life,” noted Fr. Thomas Nelson, O.Praem., National Director of the Institute on Religious Life.
“Since the lives of these women and men religious dedicated to prayer and sacrifice are often hidden, this annual celebration reminds us of the need to support their unique mission within the Body of Christ,” he added.
In 1997, Bl. Pope John Paul II asked that this ecclesial event be observed worldwide on November 21, the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Presentation in the Temple. It is a most fitting day to thank those in the cloistered and monastic life for serving as “a leaven of renewal and of the presence of the spirit of Christ in the world.” It is also intended to remind others of the need to provide spiritual and material support “for those who pray.”
Pope Benedict XVI has also spoken often of the tremendous value of the cloistered, contemplative life. Speaking to a group of cloistered Dominican nuns in Rome, the Holy Father referred to such religious as “the heart” which provides blood to the rest of the Body of Christ. He noted that in their work and prayer, together with Christ, they are the “heart” of the Church and in their desire for God’s love they approach the ultimate goal.
The nationwide effort to publicize Pro Orantibus Day is coordinated by the Institute on Religious Life (“IRL”). Visit cloisteredlife.com, also sponsored by the IRL, for more information on cloistered and monastic communities.