Sister Karen's Story / Redwoods Monastery in California

It's all about finding the hidden treasure....

My vocation's journey has its own beauty and simplicity.

It all began in God's heart. God's says "Before you were in your mother's womb I consecrated you" (Jer1:5). This became clear to me little by little.

When I was just trying to give some meaning to my life, a friend of mine asked me in a note. (for we were in a meeting), 'Do you want to learn to pray?' I whispered, 'Yes, I would love to' and pondered the thought, Prayer

After attending to a few prayer meetings at my friend's house which were lead by the Verbum Dei Missionaries, whose ministry is prayer and Word, the Word of God began to heal me. I resisted for a year to go to their retreats, but something awoke in me when I saw so much happiness in the women that came back from the retreat. I began to wonder what it was that they received that made then so happy.

Finally, I went to a three days retreat. I was immersed in the love of God through the Word and the missionaries. "Through human cords I will bring you to me" (Hos 11:4 ) I experienced much happiness and a peace that the world can not give.

What made me so happy? I had found the Treasure, and was ready to sell everything. At that moment selling meant that I would have to make room in my busy schedule and heart for prayer.

The more I prayed, the more I understood that my life was meant to be for God. One day in my heart I consecrated myself to God. The more I followed the farther I needed to go in my consecration. I knew my vocation was not to be a missionary, but where would I go? Where would I make my consecration more concrete? This time of uncertainty was very painful for me, but I continued.

One day I was tired of longing for something more and in my prayer kneeling before the tabernacle I said, "I do not care where, today I renew my consecration to you, where I am." Jesus responded to me saying "but I want you there" An image of the Redwoods Monastery, the monastic Trappist community, whose ministry is prayer and manual work and which I had visited a few months before, came to my mind.

Immediately I resisted. I said, "I am fine here" I cried because it was so clear what God wanted from me at that moment. And two passages from the bible came to me,

"For them I go to the sacrifice that makes me holy that they may be holy" (John 17:19) and "It is not longer I who live but Christ who lives in me" (Gal 2:20)

Now this call is deepening in the ordinariness and beauty of monastic life. A gift!

As the Rule of St. Benedict which we follow states at the end. "This rule is only for beginners." The Treasure we possess inside has no end. May you find that treasure.

Our Monasteries

The journey to joining a Trappist community begins by connecting with the vocation director at one of our monasteries. We invite you to browse our monasteries to get a sense for the beautiful places we Trappists live in and find the contact information for each of our vocation directors. You may also write to us if you have immediate questions or view our retreat calendar.

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