World Day of Cloistered Life

Catholics throughout the world are encouraged to support the cloistered and monastic life on World Day of Cloistered Life, Monday, November 21, 2016, the Memorial of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple.

“The primary purpose of World Day of Cloistered Life, traditionally known as Pro Orantibus Day (“For Those Who Pray”), is to support—both spiritually and materially—the gift of the cloistered contemplative life,” said Rev. Thomas Nelson, O. Praem., National Director of the Institute on Religious Life. Pope Francis reminds us that “it is an opportune occasion to thank the Lord for the gift of so many people who, in monasteries and hermitages, dedicate themselves to God in prayer and in silent work.”

Pope Pius XII first instituted this worldwide ecclesial event in 1953 to publicly recognize women and men who so generously give of themselves to this unique calling and who each day, from the various convents and monasteries spread throughout the world, offer prayer unceasingly. Pope St. John Paul II later expanded its celebration and encouraged Catholics to support this sublime vocation in any way possible.

Since his election, Pope Francis has highlighted the vital importance of cloistered contemplative life in the Church’s mission. In the recent Apostolic Constitution, Vultum Dei Quaerere, the Holy Father wrote that those who devote the whole of their lives to the contemplation of God “are a living sign and witness of the fidelity with which God, amid the events of history, continues to sustain His people.”

World Day of Cloistered Life has a special significance as the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy comes to a close. “The prayers and sacrifices of cloistered religious is the foundation of all the Church’s work of mercy,” said Father Nelson, “because their prophetic witness and prayerful presence secures the grace needed for God’s merciful love to reach even the most hardened and distant of hearts.”

 The nationwide effort to publicize World Day of
Cloistered Life (Pro Orantibus Day) is coordinated by the Institute on Religious Life. The IRL was founded in 1974 by Servant of God Rev. John A. Hardon, S.J., and is comprised of bishops, priests, religious and laity who support and promote the vowed religious life.

A FREE PDF packet of resources is available online, including a meditation for this occasion at

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The cloistered religious featured on the 2016 World Day of Cloistered Life logo is from the Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of the Blessed Sacrament in Farmington Hills, Michigan. The community’s website is

A Prayer for the Forgotten Holy Souls

We often think of friends and family who have died and wonder if their immediate loved ones are praying for them after death. There are also the people who died long ago or who were ignored and abandoned in this life and have no one to pray for them now.  This is the prayer for all of these beloved children, awaiting to enter their eternal homeland.

souls(Czech artist Jakub Schikaneder’s 1888 painting “All Souls Day”)

O merciful God, take pity on those souls who have no particular friends and intercessors to recommend them to Thee, who, either through the negligence of those that are alive, or through length of time are forgotten by their friends and by all.

Spare them, O Lord, and remember Thine own mercy, when others forget to appeal to it. Let not the souls which Thou has created be parted from Thee, their Creator. They are Thy work, and though they  have sinned, they have been redeemed by Thee.

Vouchsafe, therefore, to look upon them  and to deliver them from the intolerable pain of absence from Thee; the light and love of all Thy creatures. Oh! place them in the number of Thy blessed Saints and citizens through Jesus Christ their Savior. Amen.

(Courtesy of the Desert Nuns)

l1-poor-souls-altarThis picture is of the side altar at St. Michael’s Church in Chicago, a church that survived the great fire. It is called the Poor Souls altar and shows a soul being raised from purgatory to be united with Christ through the intercession of a priest during Mass. Have a Mass said for a poor soul today!

A Latin phrase at the bottom inset of the Altar is translated as “The written book will be brought forth, in which the whole is contained whence the world is to be judged.”

Apostleship of Prayer November Prayer Intentions

refug1Countries Receiving Refugees

That the countries which take in a great number of displaced persons and refugees may find support for their efforts which show solidarity.


refug2Collaboration of Priests and Laity

That within parishes, priests and lay people may collaborate in service to the community without giving in to the temptation of discouragement.

For more information, visit the Apostleship of Prayer’s website.