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.
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