Sr. Mary Catharine Perry, O.P., a Dominican nun of the Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary in Summit, New Jersey, has taken a unique approach to providing others a glimpse into the cloistered life. A talented writer, she penned a novel, “Amata Means Beloved,” the story of Sister Maria Amata–the former Emily Barone–who enters newly–established Mater Christi Monastery. Eager to become a spouse of Christ, Sister Maria Amata finds that living in the monastery with the other nuns radically confronts her understanding of the life itself and her own motives. The author says that portraying a positive, real picture of cloistered nuns was one of the reasons that she began writing the novel. She also wanted to share with the reader the profound and essential truth of the joy and freedom that comes from responding to God’s grace.
To order a copy of “Amata Means Beloved,” visit the Sisters’ website.
In the Western world, we see continuous and progressive changes, all of which weigh heavily on religious vocations. And although there has been a general decrease in the number of vocations to the consecrated life in the last few decades, vocations to the contemplative life of women are increasing in comparison with those of active communities. In places such as Africa, Asia and in many countries in Latin America monastic and cloistered life of women religious is flourishing in such a way that they continue to open up new convents and send out vocations to replenish dwindling monasteries elsewhere.
Here are some numbers offering a more precise idea of the monastic presence in the Church. According to recent Vatican statistics, there are 12,876 monks residing in 105 monasteries worldwide. In addition to these, there are 48,493 nuns living in 3,520 monasteries of which 2 out of 3 are in Europe.