Thursday, February 12, 2015 - 08:48
Our sisters in Wrentham, MA, write about our Cistercian founders and their quest for a simpler life. They continue that quest: "We, nuns, successors to the men who stopped in a certain place and created a life of simplicity for themselves, are fortunate enough to be able to do much the same here at Mt. St. Mary’s Abbey in Wrentham, MA. Our renewable energy projects--wind, geothermal, solar--have everything to do with that life. The gifts of God are there for us to enjoy, and in using them, we honor the Creator of us all. As cloistered, Catholic women we are often in church, where we gather to sing and “bless the Lord.” And blessing the Lord is something we try to do in every part of our lives, including the ways in which we live."
A child is born for us!
Thursday, December 25, 2014 - 15:37
It is good for us to learn anew each year to receive God appearing as a very little child. Far from being a sentimental or a secondary aspect of God’s manifestation, the appearance of the very little “God-with-us” reveals an essential requirement of the way in which God takes care to make us capable of receiving him. - - René Voillaume
Waiting for the Coming of Our Lord
Sunday, December 7, 2014 - 07:45
In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
From the Prophet Isaiah
Solemn Profession at Crozet
Friday, November 7, 2014 - 14:32
On November 1, 2014,Solemnity of All Saints,Sister Maria Gonzalomade her solemn profession at the monastery of Our Lady of the Angels in Crozet, VA.
Sister Maria was born in 1977 in Madrid (Spain).She entered the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in 1997 and Crozet in 2010.
Monday, September 15, 2014 - 15:04
News from Holy Cross Abbey includes this:
15 September, 2014. Today’s “Word” isn’t literally from the Abbot–at least not Abbot Robert Barnes. But it is from an Abbot, Eamon Fitzgerald, the Abbot General of our Order. In his opening address to the Superiors of the Order gathered at Assisi, he talked about the fragility of the Order. The themes are familiar: ageing communities, shrinking numbers, fewer new members, financial instability. It is a poignant context for our own efforts to ‘refound’ our monastic community in Berryville, Virginia. Below you will find a some excerpts from his address where he considers what our communities identify as determining issues and our reactions to them.
The Assumption of Our Lady: Patronal Feast of Our Order
Thursday, August 14, 2014 - 15:50
The monastery is an expression of the mystery of the Church, where nothing is preferred to the praise of the Father's glory. Every effort is made to ensure that the common life in its entirety conforms to the Gospel, which is the supreme law. In this way the community will not be lacking in any spiritual gift. The nuns / monks strive to remain in harmony with all the people of God and share their active desire for the unity of all Christians. By fidelity to their monastic way of life, which has its own hidden mode of apostolic fruitfulness, nuns / monks perform a service for God's people and the whole human race. Each community of the Order and all the nuns / monks are dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother and Symbol of the Church in the order of faith, love and perfect union with Christ. (from the Constitutions and Statutes of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance)
Junior Monks and Nuns Gather for Seminar at Snowmass
Tuesday, June 3, 2014 - 10:11
For two weeks, monks and nuns who have made temporary vows gathered at St. Benedict's Monastery in Snowmass, CO, to learn about Christology in the Early Fathers with Fr. Simeon Leiva and about Cistercian Chant from Fr. Emmanuel Morinelli, both monks of St. Joseph''s Abbey, Spencer, MA.
They share 5 common points for Christ and Chant:
Therapy (“self-knowledge”): Both the person of Christ and music are sources of healing, especially when pursued with daily perseverance in a monastic setting. Sacred music can help the soul come into harmony with the praise of God inherent in creation, and to discover Christ as the personal Healer of all human ills.
Transformation (conversatio morum): Both liturgy (to which music is essential) and lectio (of which Christ is the underlying subject) are transformative monastic occupations. Over time they profoundly change the person devoted to them.
Unity: Music in general fosters communion with harmonies that are beyond the individual person. Monastic chant in particular encourages una voce execution; it excludes singularity of self-expression. Similarly, the goal of asceticism in the following of Christ is unification, of the faculties of the person and of that person with God in Christ, resulting in unification with all one’s brothers and sisters.
“Only the lover sings”: St. Augustine affirms that the love born of deep faith urges a person to sing that love, that, in a sense, all singing springs from love of something that urges celebration and proclamation to the world beyond the individual. Our conformity with Christ is what plants such love in our hearts, and therefore communicates the need to sing. Like love and faith, music bursts the bonds of individual isolation and becomes proclamation in harmony and beauty of form. The patristic style “sings” because the Fathers did theology on their knees.
Role of Beauty: Sensitivity to the beautiful anywhere (nature, art, people, study) awakens and develops the deepest instincts for God. Both sacred music and sacred theology are at the threshold of mysticism. They are “baptized” arts, one using the senses and the other reason as vehicles for the experience of God. God is the great reconciler, the universal harmonizer of divisions and conflicts—in the individual, the Church, the cosmos. For some Fathers, Christ was the true Orpheus, playing the lyre of his love and truth to all creation. This results in the universal gathering around him, as center, of all creatures, in joy, peace, unity and rapt contemplation.