Cloistered Dominican Nuns Corpus Christi Monastery

Category Archives: Life Inside The Cloister

Nuns on Retreat.  Wait, what?

Yes, cloistered nuns do take days of retreat.  In fact, we are required to set aside days throughout the year for deeper recollection and retreat.  “But,” some might asked, puzzled, “isn’t the cloistered life one long retreat already?”  Well, yes, sort of, and yet no.  True, our daily life is one that centers on prayer and communion with God in silence and withdrawal from most of the distractions of the world.  Nonetheless, we still need regular times to enter more deeply into the desert and be even more one-on-one with God.

“So, then, what do cloistered nuns do exactly on retreat?”  No, we don’t “get away from it all” in the sense of leaving the cloister and heading for a secluded spot on the beach or a hermit’s cell in the mountains.  But we do set aside our regular work (at least as much as possible) and forego recreation with other sisters.  Time that would have been spent at work or in recreation is spent in silent prayer and doing those things that help us recharge and allow us to rest in God’s presence.

For our annual community retreat, we are led by a retreat master who provides reflections for meditation, one in the morning and a second in the afternoon, offers the sacraments of Mass and confession and is available for one-on-one discussion and spiritual advice.  This year, Father John Paul Forté, O.P., of the Western Dominican Province was our retreat master.  Our retreat theme was “Take Courage and Do Not Be Afraid.”

Every person experiences fear: common fears include death, failure, rejection, lack of control, loss of loved ones, being invisible to others, pain, and so on.  Fear can either cripple us, closing us off from other people and God’s love, or it can be channeled for good; Scriptures and the lives of the saints are full of examples of people who experienced fear and how they handled it, either walking through the fear and working with God’s grace or trying to run from or fight it.  And though time has passed, people are still human.  Father John Paul reminded us that each day, each moment, we have a choice: which face of fear will we wear?  What helps me grow closer to God and grow in courage to face my fears?

For much of the remaining retreat time, the sisters did those things that put us in closer touch with God and our true selves…

Physical activity and exercise…

Gardening…

Art and other creative projects…

Reading and study…

Mental/contemplative prayer… the Rosary… or simply doing nothing but being still, knowing He is God.

 

Deo gratias!

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