It has been a long and difficult journey. but now the Redemptoristines (formerly of Esopus) has finally found its way to a proper monastic home in the city of Beacon, New York. They are sharing sacramental and liturgical life, beauty, silence, and spaciousness in the Carmelite Monastery of the Incarnation. They are making history in this arrangement; two different canonical religious groups living under the same roof. The nuns have received the blessing of Cardinal Timothy Dolan and the diocesan Vicar for Religious who view this development as a healthy response to the signs of the times.
In January of 2011, the cloistered nuns were informed that they would have to find a new home within 2 to 3 years. Four months later they learned that they would have only one year to relocate.
The nuns searched long and hard for a new home; a suitable monastery, visiting over 40 sites in five states and researched many others via the Internet. By the spring of 2012 they were ready to purchase a Franciscan friary that fell throug due to environmental contamination problems with the property. Having only 5 weeks to find a place to live the nuns were fortunate to arrange rental of space from the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart .
In January of this year the Missionary Sisters informed the Redemptoristines that they would have to relocate again. As they looked a various options they realized that their financial resources were quickly diminishing as sisters aged and required more medical care. The nuns began to ask themselves, “Is it realistic for us to buy a property and take care of it into the future?”
About the same time the Carmelite nuns of Beacon were prudently examining their future and their ability to remain on their lovely property. Knowing of the Redemptoristine’s dilemna, the Carmelites began discussing the possibility of the Redemptoristines sharing their facilities. The Carmelites voted unanimously to issue an invitation and within two weeks the councils of the communities met and the generous invitation was accepted.
In their decision to accept the Carmelite invitation the cloistered nuns were acknowledging the sad sign of the times; fewer vocations. They were also acknowledging a deep desire to preserve their contemplative vocation. The nuns saw that they could do that by joining forces with another contemplative community and sharing the sacramental, liturgical life already established in their horarium.
This is not the ideal that the Redemptoristines initially had in mind when they set out on their journey in search of a new home. But the nuns came to see that given their circumstances, resources and the limited choices this arrangement was the most life-giving for all. They believe the Holy Spirit worked mightily in the hearts and minds of each sister in both communities. Each member has had to accept losses but they have also embraced new life and welcomed with grateful hearts the opportunity to live out their comtemplative vocation.
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