A Glimpse Behind the Walls

The Poor Clare Colettine Nuns in Rockford are featured in a new book called: Dedicated to God: An Oral History of Cloistered Nuns. A part of the Oxford Oral History Series, the author Abbie Reese was given permission to spend time over the course of 6 years with the nuns. She wanted to get a first hand glimpse into what goes on behind the mysterious walls.

51kVMJ6PEqL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_By the looks of the chapter headings, the story of individual nuns is told. From the excerpts I read, it is a fascinating and frank glimpse into the lives, past and present, of the nuns.

The Poor Clares are an IRL Affiliate Community founded in 1916. According to an article about the book in a Rockford newspaper, there are 22 nuns in the monastery (ranging from age 20 to 81), 50 Poor Clare monasteries in the U.S., and 1,221 monasteries worldwide with a total of 14,000 Poor Clare nuns. Pope John Paul II said that their life “appears as the most radical way of living the Gospel on earth, a way which may be called divine.”

Mother Maria Dominica thought that this unprecedented access was “valuable because it gave flesh to the life.” She said, “We live a hidden life. We’re not used to publicity. But we’re human beings, like everyone else.”

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