I stumbled across the weblog of a community of cloistered Domenican sisters in New Jersey. Yes, that’s right New Jersey! You know these ladies have their heads on straight and their hearts in the right place because the permanent picture on the right side of the blog is of a sister kneeling in adoration before the blessed sacrament.
They have great entries that show what life in a cloister is really like and that debunk many of the myths about clostered nuns. (Yes, they are allowed to go outside and walk in the gardens and even to leave the convent to go to the doctor or visit ill parents. No, there isn’t a “type” of person called to the cloister, sometimes boisterous and outgoing people are called, not only the quiet and mousy.)
The sister (or sisters) who writes the entries doesn’t sign them, but speaks for the whole community. One things she notes is how in all the pictures the nuns have beautiful smiles. You can tell how joyful life is. One of my favorite bits is when sister explaine that they are allowed to leave the cloister, but feel like a fish out of water and long to go back home when they are away.
I love cloistered contemplatives, they make me smile. And I wish more Catholilcs understood their centrality to the mission of the Church. They are the heart and soul of the Church and it is their great selfless love and constant prayer that keep the more “active” elements functioning properly. My dad told me recently that the new bishop of Austin was actively seeking a contemplative community to settle in the diocese because he understands how important their almost invisible ministry is to the life, to the health, of the Church.