An Eastern-Rite Carmelite Monastery

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Holy Annunciation Monastery in Sugarloaf, Pennsylvania, is the only Carmelite Monastery in the Western Hemisphere belonging to an Eastern Catholic Rite. They belong to the Order of Discalced Carmelites and have the special mission to pray for the unity of the Eastern and Western churches.

Mother Marija of the Holy Spirit, Sister Marie Helen of the Cross and Sister Ann of the Trinity (d. 2001)  inaugurated the monastery on February 23, 1977. Fr. Walter Ciszek (may he one day be canonized), SJ, encouraged Most Rev. Michel Dudick, the Bishop of the Ruthenians (Byzantine Church) of Passaic, NJ, to accept them into his eparchy.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, several Byzantine rite girls came to them from Slovakia and Carpathia. In return, in 1995 and 2002, they sent Sisters there to begin the Monastery of St. Therese in Koritnyani, Transcarpathia (Ukraine). In 1999, they accepted Sisters of the Syro-Malabar Rite from South India, now five in byz 3number, who today comprise one third of their community.

Six to seven  hours daily are devoted to prayer and sacred reading. They also operate a bakery with mail order sales (you can request a catalog for Christmas!), design gift cards and breed miniature horses. Check out their website (Carmelites Mini Corral) if you would like to purchase a stallion, mare, foal or show horse!

 

 

5 Myths About Cloistered Life

marbury3The Dominican nuns of St. Jude Monastery in Marbury, Alabama, have a little brochure describing the 5 myths about cloistered life.

Myth #1: They pray all day

Their whole life is harmoniously ordered to preserve remembrance of God throughout the day. They chant the 7 hours of the Divine Office daily and have times for Adoration, meditation and the rosary. But they also clean, cook, nurse, study, recreate and more. They rise early and go to bed late and their hearts are free for God alone.

Myth #2: Talented. Go elsewhere?

Of course, all of the talents a women brings to the cloister are put to good use (teacher, musician, artist, writer, nurse) but the greatest gift a woman gives to God is the gift of herself, so that it may bear fruit a hundredfold for the life of His Mystical Body. Contemplatives are Christ’s chosen spouses, imaging in a radical way the exclusive union of the Church as Bride with her Lord.

Myth #3: The Cloister is for Introverts

The cloistered life involves solitude of heart which leads to deeper union with God. It also involves intense community, for you live in the enclosure with your sisters 24/7, 365 days a year. They pray, work and recreate together, striving to grow in unity of heart and mind rooted in love of God. . The cloistered life is for both introverts and extroverts—both have strengths and challenges which are transformed by grace; both serve God.

Myth #4: Cloistered Nuns Never Talk

The question is not, “Do I like to talk?” Rather it is, “Am I able to keep silence?” Silence is an ancient monastic observance which directs a nun’s thoughts and affections towards God rather than in unnecessary and distracting chatter. During work hours, however, the sisters speak when necessary and talk during meetings, classes and recreation.

Myth #5: Unfit for the Active Life? Try the Cloister.

Actually, the cloistered Dominican life is just as demanding though not as distracting as that of a student, mother or active religious. Normal good health is essential to enter upon their life of total dedication, complete self-giving to Jesus through Mary for the salvation of souls, lived through the monastic life of the community.

Contact the Dominican nuns for the brochure or if you are interested in knowing more about their life.

 

A Community for Later Vocations – Sisters of Jacopa

Bl. Jacopa
Bl. Jacopa

One of the most common inquiries we get is from women who have discerned a “belated” vocation and are asking what community will consider accepting women who are past 40 years of age. The communities do exist, some considering it on an exception basis, some dedicated communities for mature women.

One such community is the Sisters of Jacopa (FJA) in Toronto, Ohio. Sr. Kathleen Marshall, a widow and mother, was inspired to found the community on September 14, 2012. With permission from the diocese, they are pursuing candidates and forming this emerging Franciscan family.

The members (widows or single women over 40)  will seek to deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ through prayer, contemplation, adoration and study. Their characteristics are Franciscan, Marian, Eucharistic, and

Sr. Kathleen, wearing the proposed habit of the FJAs. Habit is a similar to what Bl. Jacopa is wearing in the picture.
Sr. Kathleen, wearing the proposed habit of the FJAs. Habit is a similar to what Bl. Jacopa is wearing in the picture.

obedience to the Holy Father. Their apostolates of prayer and service will focus especially on widows in addition to priests, the suffering elderly and families.

Bl. Jacopa (feast day February 8th) was a widow, friend of St. Francis of Assisi and a Third Order Franciscan. As he lay dying, he asked Jacopa to bring him his favorite almond treat to taste one last time. She was in attendance at Francis’ deathbed, hence, the tradition, when Franciscans commemorate Francis’ passing unto eternal life (Transitus), of distributing almond treats.

The Sisters of Jacopa are having a Come & See Weekend at their monastery(Mary, Ark of the Covenant) on May 15-17, 2015, in Toronto, Ohio (NOT Canada!). For more information, call (740)314-4023 or email: familyjacopa@yahoo.com

 

 

 

Franciscan Walk for The Year of Consecrated Life

OSF1  The Year of Consecrated Life is being recognized and celebrated in so many beautiful ways!  In the month of March, one group of 10 Franciscans walked the ancient Via Flaminia from beautiful Assisi to stately Rome in just seven days.  Filled with joy and prayer, these 10 men endeavored to travel from the land of Saint Francis, “a man of peace, a man of prayer”, to the land of Pope Francis and his hallowed halls of Rome.

As Pope Francis attempts to carry on the great traditions of Saint Francis’ devotion to poverty and service to the poor, these Franciscans travelled to honor him in his second year as our Holy Father.  Along the way, the men stayed with religious communities, parishes, and families.  Bowled over by the warmth and hospitality of all they met, they brought from each OSF2stop prayer petitions to lay before the Holy Father.  Collecting grains of incense in these stops as well, they symbolically infused those prayers into the incense which they handed to the Most Reverend J. Rodriguez Carballo along with a letter to be presented to the Pope.  The burning of incense at a future papal celebration will lift all these prayers to heaven.

The Franciscans had many reasons to embark on this physical and spiritual journey this year.  Not only is it the Year of Consecrated Life, it has also been 800 years since the granting of the indulgence of the Portiuncula and 500 years since the events which signaled the division of the Order.  They reportedly enjoyed the experience to the utmost.  As one of them writes; “The beauty of walking together allowed us to get to know each other, to tell our stories, to grow in fraternity, to learn how to help each other and give each other the time needed to find common rhythms.”  Surely the beautiful springtime countryside didn’t hurt!