Following the wisdom of our Holy Mother St. Clare, we strive to live in a communion of love in ‘holy unity and most high poverty’ (Testament of St. Clare). Our community life, lived in the warmth of a Franciscan family spirit is the atmosphere in which we live the vows (solemn promises) of chastity, poverty and obedience. We live in enclosure, also under a vow, which means that we don’t leave the monastery except, to quote St. Clare, for a ‘useful, reasonable, evident, and approved purpose’. (Rule Ch 3)
Our life is known as ‘contemplative’. This means that we don’t have any external ‘apostolate’ or particular work that we are dedicated to carrying out such as teaching or nursing. All our energies are instead directed to communion with God in prayer and with one another within the monastery. Our role in the Church is to show forth the truth that God is everything and the fulfilment of the deepest desires of the human heart.
Of course this does not mean that we are on our knees all day or that we don’t work. The monastery is often a hive of activity as can be seen from the photos in the gallery! Our work within the monastery is done in a contemplative and community spirit that fosters communion with God.
Our Life of Prayer and Adoration
The Liturgy of the Hours consecrates the whole day of the contemplative nun. It includes Psalms, passages from the scriptures and intercessions that are offered in the name of the Church and of all of humanity. The period of Matins, (prayer at midnight) is the first period of the prayer of the Divine Office.
Our day begins with Holy Mass, the focus of our day, since this is our daily encounter with the Risen Lord. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament continues throughout the day and we also have some periods of silent prayer together. The words of St. Clare remind us that ‘the faithful soul is His tabernacle and His throne’.
Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way? If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to him, are we not afraid that he might take something away from us? Are we not perhaps afraid to give up something significant, something unique, something that makes life so beautiful? Do we not then risk ending up diminished and deprived of our freedom? No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation. Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything.