The Poor Clares Sisters of Omaha, Nebraska, have completed construction on their new monastery and will be hosting an open house on Sunday, February 8, 2015 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
This unique open house will be the only time the cloistered area where the nuns reside will be open to the public. The tour will begin in the new chapel where the superor, Sr. Theresina Santiago, will share about the the Poor Clare way of life, which will provide a better understanding of the ways other religious orders live in comparison to the Poor Clares.
The community discerned the need to build since their former monastery did not have a chapel large enough for groups who want to join the sisters to pray. The building itself also did not have room for more Poor Clare sisters.
“I’ve had at least seven women come here to visit,” said Sister Theresina. “If all of them were found to be called to be Poor Clares, I would have a big problem.”
To fund the new monastery over $5.3 million was raised from generous supporters will ensure that over 130 years of Poor Clare tradition and prayer within the Archdiocese of Omaha will continue.
Sister Theresina stresses the new monastery will not just be for the Poor Clare sisters, but for all of Omaha and beyond.
“Look out to our world today and you will see that we need God’s help,” said Sister Theresina. “We need to be able to bring God’s presence to many more.”
Groups will be given the opportunity to tour the entire new building, and will get a chance to meet the Poor Clare nuns. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, so don’t miss out on this exciting day!
For more information click here.
And as craft beer continues to rise in popularity in the United States, author Dr. R. Jared Staudt in a recent article in Catholic World Report notes the ones responsible for creating western brewing practices are reclaiming their own.
This renewal is important for monastic life in providing another opportunity for monks to produce their own goods and to sustain their monasteries (in an age when many of their traditional farming practices are in decline). St. Benedict affirms the necessity of the monk’s work: “When they live by the labor of their hands, as our fathers and the apostles did, then they are really monks” (Rule, ch. 48). Benedict also states that “the monastery should, if possible, be so constructed that within it all necessities, such as water, mill and garden are contained, and the various crafts are practiced” (ch. 66).
Although this self-sufficiency is meant, in part, to insulate the monks from the world, the crafts Benedict mentions are important to provide an opportunity for the monks to witness to society. St. Benedict foresees the contribution of the monk on society: “Whenever products of these artisans are sold, those responsible for the sale must not dare to practice any fraud. . . . The evil of avarice must have not part in establishing prices, which should, therefore, always be a little lower than people outside the monastery are able to set, so that in all things God may be glorified (ch. 57, quoting 1 Pt 4:11). Though speaking of prices in particular, Benedict wants the monks to glorify God when they enter into contact with the outside world through their products.
This combination of bolstering monastic life and creating a more dynamic engagement with our culture has the potential for what has been called a “Brew Evangelization.”
The New Evangelization is a renewed proclamation of the treasury of the Christian faith to meet the needs and challenges of modern culture, especially for those Christians who have fallen away from the faith. The revival of brewing is also a small recovery of monastic tradition. Monastic brewing can be considered a part of a general need for Catholics to reassert our presence and influence in modern culture.
Brew Evangelization. Is this an exaggeration? Well, it might be, but only a bit. Of course, evangelization applies primarily to the direct proclamation of the Gospel. However, in our day it is becoming ever clearer that we need to evangelize—spread the good news—about the goodness and integrity of nature.
Read entire article here.
Catholics throughout the world are encouraged to honor the cloistered and monastic life on Pro Orantibus Day, which is Friday, November 21, 2014, the Memorial of the Presentation of Mary in the Temple.
“The primary purpose of Pro Orantibus Day (“For Those Who Pray”) is to support—both spiritually and materially— the gift of the cloistered and monastic life,” noted Rev. Thomas Nelson, O. Praem., National Director of the Institute on Religious Life. And as Pope Francis reminds us, “it is a good opportunity to thank the Lord for the gift of so many people who, in monasteries and hermitages, dedicate themselves to God in prayer and silent work.”
In 1953 Pope Pius XII instituted Pro Orantibus Day, also known as World Day of Cloistered life, to recognize those men and women who so generously give of themselves to this unique vocation and who each day, from the various convents and monasteries spread throughout the world, offer their prayers unceasingly to build up the Kingdom. Pope John Paul II later expanded its celebration and encouraged the faithful to support this special vocation in any way possible.
Last year at a general audience in St. Peter’s Square Pope Francis reminded the Church, “Let us give thanks to the Lord for the powerful testimony of cloistered life.” He urged the faithful to lend their spiritual and material support to these brothers and sisters of ours “so that they can carry out their important mission.”
As a sign of spiritual solidarity Pope Francis visited a Camaldolese monastery to celebrate vespers on the Feast of the Presentation of Mary. In his address the Holy Father stressed Our Lady’s great witness to hope, even in the face of difficulties and obstacles. The Holy Father urged all cloistered nuns to keep the “lamp of hope” burning brightly, and that monastic religious must strive to conform their lives to the model of Our Blessed Mother.
The nationwide effort to publicize Pro Orantibus Day is coordinated by the Institute on Religious Life, a national organization based in the Chicago area. 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.
For more information or to download resources, click here.
“What is beauty?” and “In our life, what strikes you as beautiful?” These were the questions proposed by the Mother Abbess to the youngest members of the Poor Clare community in Roswell, New Mexico, for a special video presentation.
Wanting to benefit from the insights of all, they in turn invited each of the sisters to reflect upon the nature of beauty and the expressions of the beautiful found within our monastic enclosure. “God is Beauty,” all agreed, “and He both reveals and conceals that beauty in the glimpses of Himself that we are blessed to perceive this side of heaven.” And, in a particular way, “Beauty is Jesus Christ.”
After the expression of these most essential realities of their Poor Clare life, a pattern emerged in the wide range of responses which allowed the nuns to categorize insights and suggested images under the headings of:
– Beauty in the Liturgy
– Beauty in their Customs – Becoming Whole
– Beauty Perceived by the Senses
– Beauty in their Bridal Covenant with Jesus
Then began a two-month long enterprise of translating a little portion of those large possibilities expressive of beauty into a concrete form genuinely reflective of their Poor Clare life. Evening recreations in the novitiate were often spent gathered around the common room table, discussing, planning, selecting.
A small video camera donated by the younger old sister of their postulant was the first piece of equipment, supplemented by the seven and a half minutes of video-capacity on the community’s camera, with both together eventually producing hundreds of video and sound clips of their daily life and observance. An adjustable music stand (already doubling as the Mass lectern) was called into service as a make-shift tripod. And, finally, a bargain sale purchase by one of their families at an eBay store enhanced the capacities of a donated laptop to include a suitable movie-making program, a critical component for coalescing the final selection of 253 pieces of image and sound into one united whole.
Filming and editing, stabilizing and refining, each of the novitiate members and their mistress contributed according to their particular areas of proficiency, with all of them coming together on a daily basis for consensus as they worked through each category for presentation. The video in itself is one of the most beautiful aspects of their shared vocation – that every one of the sisters and all of them together were needed to create, maintain and foster beauty in their Poor Clare life.
To view the video click here.