As part of Benedict XVI’s pastoral visit to the Calabria Region of Italy this month, he will visit the famous Carthusian monastery of San Bruno. The Pope will celebrate vespers and deliver a homily in the church of the Carthusian monastery of Serra San Bruno, after which he will meet the monastic community and visit a cell and the infirmary of the monastery.
Among the monastic religious families, Carthusians live in greater solitude. The monks and the nuns of the Order, while living separately in their own monasteries, share the same rule and follow a unique model in the person of their founder, Saint Bruno (c. 1030–1101).
The Carthusian monk does not live alone, as the monastery is a community. Nevertheless, he will pass the greater part of his life in his cell where he prays, works, takes his meals, and sleeps. During the course of the week, he only leaves three times a days for the Liturgy of the Hours and communal Mass: in the middle of the night, the Night Office, the morning Eucharist and Vespers towards the night.
The Carthusian can be a cloistered monk or a brother, two different ways of living the same vocation of solitude. This solitude is not lived for its own sake, but as a privileged means of attaining intimacy with God.
With the feast of St. Francis of Assisi on the horizon — Oct. 4 — we should also remember St. Clare, who, under the inspiration and guidance of Francis, founded the Poor Clares in the thirteenth century.
The Poor Clares of Santa Barbara, CA certainly held the ideals of their founders close to their hearts as they celebrated two jubilees this summer. In June Sr. Miguel Jose celebrated her silver jubilee of 25 years, which was followed in July with the golden jubilee of 50 years celebrated Sr. Chiara Marie. The community also received a new postulant in August.
As contemplatives, Poor Clare nuns observe the Gospel life lived within the bounds of papal enclosure. To the three ordinary vows of religion: obedience, poverty and chastity, the Poor Clare nun adds a fourth vow of enclosure.
These Poor Clares follow the Colettine observance which includes: bare feet, mendicancy, perpetual fast, strict enclosure, traditional habit, and night rising for the Liturgy of the Hours.
For more information, go to the website of the Poor Clares of Santa Barbara.
A cloistered nun who witnessed the Spanish Civil War left her monastery for the first time in 84 years to visit Pope Benedict XVI in Madrid for World Youth Day last month.
Sister Teresa, age 103, entered the Monasterio de Buenafuente del Sistal on the day of the birth of St. Benedict, April 16, 1927. Aside from a distraction of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) that caused the nuns to flee from the fighting, Sister Teresa has lived her vocation as a cloistered nun in that place.
A journalist for the prominent Spanish newspaper El Mundo, Jesús García, authored a book this year about ten nuns, of whom Sister Teresa was included, titled, What is a Girl Like You Doing In A Place Like This?
Sister’s monastery was founded in the 13th century, and for twenty years she was the religious superior.
Vietnam is far from Lafayette, LA, but there is a common thread of faith between the two. On July 16, two Carmelite sisters from Vietnam made their profession of Solemn Vows at the Carmelite Monastery of the Mother of Grace in Lafayette.
The sisters made a sacrifice in leaving their homeland to come, said Fr. Marion Joseph Bui, a Discalced Carmelite from Arkansas, who was among the “boat people” who came to the United States from Vietnam in 1981, and who was instrumental in bringing the two sisters.
Sr. Marie Camille of Jesus (Hoang Thi Thuong) and Sr. Marie Joseph of the Eucharist (Pham Thi Lan) made their profession in the presence of their former prioress from Hue, Vietnam, Mother Marie Ange.
“We also thank Mother Regina and all the sisters here for receiving us so lovingly and for helping us as we endeavor to incorporate ourselves into a new community and culture,” the sisters said. “We left behind a community which we cherished, but we have found here in Lafayette, a Carmelite family which has become as dear to us as the Carmel in Hue.”
Read the full article and see the slide show at the website of the Lafayette Carmelites.