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Sacred Silence in the Heart of the City

ViviCam 6300When people picture monks living in a cloistered, contemplative monastery, they likely don’t think of Chicago. Benedictine Fr. Peter Funk, O.S.B.,prior of the Monastery of the Holy Cross in Chicago, tends to plants in the monastery garden. The monks live in a cloistered, contemplative monastery and welcome visitors to their two guest houses and bed and breakfast. Yet, just such a classic contemplative monastery exists only minutes from Michigan Avenue and Navy Pier. The Monastery of the Holy Cross, located in the Bridgeport neighborhood, is home to a community of Benedictine monks who dedicate themselves continuously to prayer, hospitality and evangelization. Originally from northern Minnesota, the monks desired to establish their monastery in an urban environment so people living in Chicago and the surrounding areas could experience the spiritual life of a peaceful, contemplative monastery without having to drive extended distances to remote, rural settings. At its founding, the community numbered three brothers and was extremely poor. The Archdiocese of Chicago had gifted an old, closed church building for their use. The building was beautiful and historically significant, but was in need of serious disrepair. With prayer and generosity from the community and the archdiocese, the monks restored most of the church’s interior and have renovated their cloister to accommodate guests. There are now nine professed brothers and one novice. The charism of the community is focused on evangelization by showcasing beauty in the Mass and in their sung Liturgy of the Hours. Seven times each day – at 3:30, 6, and 9:30 a.m., and 12:45, 2:30, 5:15, and 7:15 p.m. – the monks gather in the church to sing the Liturgy of the Hours in English. It is a deeply moving experience to pray with them during these times. Their Masses are peaceful, reverent and feature sung congregational participation. There are many things to love and admire about the monks and their community: sharing simple but delicious meals with them in their residence; experiencing their Benedictine hospitality and service; and having such frequent access to prayer and the Sacraments.chicagomonks The best thing about visiting the monastery, however, is experiencing the profound transcendence and beauty of God in their prayer and worship. The community is poor and doesn’t have much: even now, though major structural problems have been fixed, the chapel and buildings are old, empty, and full of chips, cracks and second-hand furnishings. Yet, the beauty of their worship is impossible to miss. Why? God shines through in the midst of the simplicity. They worship and pray in a manner that shows the sacred in an unmistakable fashion. This treasure offers affordable rates for retreatants – room and meals for a suggested donation of $40 a night. In addition to retreats, they also host an award-winning bed-and-breakfast service. For more information click here.

Saint Bernard’s Four Kinds of Contemplation

TaddeoCrivelliSaintBernardAt the end of his treatise on contemplation (also known as his treatise On Consideration), Saint Bernard of Clairvaux observes the dimensions of Christian mental prayer. Specifically, when Saint Paul prays in Ephesians 3:18 that we might come to comprehend and be filled with the breadth and length, height and depth of the fullness of God revealed in the love of Christ, Saint Bernard sees four kinds of contemplation. For Saint Bernard, God’s breadth is His eternity, His promises. His length is His love, His works. His height is His power, His majesty.  His depth is His wisdom, His judgments. Bernard goes on to teach that our meditation on the promises by faith covers the eternal length of God, Himself; our remembrance of all His blessings is a contemplation of the breadth encompassed by the Trinitarian mystery; contemplation of the Lord’s majesty is a glimpse of the heights Divinity; and that our examination of divine judgments gazes on the very depths of the Invisible God. Christ’s sacrifice of Himself on the Cross reveals this whole mystery Saint Bernard describes and makes it accessible to us in such a way that it can fill our whole being to the point at which love transforms our whole existence through prayer. To read more click here.

Poor Clare Job Ad — Pay Not Much, But Benefits Are Out of This World!

PCC7signOn their website, the Poor Clares of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Roswell, New Mexico, have posted a job description for young women to join them for “hard labor” to serve God with full enthusiasm of mind and body! The nuns in this little desert monastery are looking for committed women who are willing to “pursue an ambitiuous career as a fully certified, full-time lowly servant of God.” No prior experience is needed but potential candidates must possess plenty of “spiritual zeal for the Kingdom of Heaven,” and be willing to partake in “full schedule of prayer and so much besides.” poor_clares_six The task of being a Poor Clare nun does require long hours, being ready, willing and able to get up at the “enchating hour of 12:30 a.m. to sing God’s praises! Those who enter will find the meals quite simple and religious garb extremely adequate. How much does it pay? Well, it doesn’t …. at least here on earth; but you will be able to pay back your constant and insurmontable debt to God! Such benefits are literally out of this world! To read the full job description, please click here.  

Passionist Nuns Keep Alive a Love for Our Lord’s Suffering & Death

NunGroupPhotoResizedMany Catholics are aware that there are cloistered orders of nuns in the Church, and they probably would be vaguely aware of the Carmelite family and perhaps the Poor Clares, if only because of St. Francis of Assisi. But the average person in the pew is not likely to know the Congregation of the Passionists, founded by that dear holy man, St. Paul of the Cross in 1720 in Italy. Which is a shame, because they have the mission to keep the Lord’s Passion forever in their hearts. When the world is going about its business, and people are living their lives oblivious to the salvation won for us by Our Lord’s Passion and death, these sisters ponder it anew every day, every hour, for us! The IRL has three Passionist Affiliate Communities in Whitesville and Erlanger, Kentucky; and in Ellisville, Missouri. This blog post is to alert you that the Ellisville Passionists have a new blog! Through the kindness of some lay people who love them, the blog is an effort to make them better known. Death has taken some of the beloved sisters to their eternal reward and their faithful friends would like to see them receive holy vocations! So please, visit their blog and ‘like’ it and pass it on to young women who might have a vocation to this life of Prayer, Solitude, Penance and Community. They profess a five-fold vow: poverty, chastity, obedience, enclosure and devotion to and grateful remembrance of the Passion. A newly professed Passionsist nun wrote: In the cloister, it is so much easier to turn one’s thoughts to God, and to remember also His Church, and all persons in the world, those in and out of the Church, so many living lives of sin and needing God, and to call upon God’s mercy for oneself and others, remembering the dying. In His work for souls, Our Lord relies on us His religious far more than we know. How He has used us will all be revealed in the next world.
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Vatican Document
Apostolic Constitution Vultum Dei Quaerere on Woman's Contemplative Life
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Special Event
World Day of Cloistered Life - Pro Orantibus Day
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Free Audio Book
A Right to Be Merry By Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C.
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Terms
Glossary of Cloistered Life terms
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