A contemplative vocation is an invitation to follow Christ in an intimate relationship of love and prayer lived out in a monastic atmosphere of community peace. As Passionist Nuns, we do this through the inspiration that comes from knowing Christ loved us even to death on the Cross. We were founded to keep alive the memory of the Passion of Christ, especially the self-sacrificing love behind His suffering. This is specified by our Passion Vow: to promote devotion to and grateful remembrance of the Passion of Christ. We live this vow by meditating on the Passion in our prayer, striving to allow the attitudes of Christ Crucified to live more and more deeply in our hearts. Then we bring these attitudes to bear on our community life. It is by prayer and living in community that we serve the Church.
We also share the love of the Passion with the many people who come to us asking for prayers, helping them to know the love Jesus has for them in their sorrows and pain. St. Paul of the Cross, our Founder, called the Passion “the greatest work of God’s love.” I sometimes wish that I could see the Crucifix for the first time. Having grown up with it perhaps it is possible to become accustomed to it. But to ponder the Passion, to think about the depths of suffering to which Christ’s love took Him…that really takes time and effort.
When we are more aware of His love for us, then we are better able to handle the sufferings of life, because we know that we are not alone. Also, because Christ suffered, our own sorrows and pains now have redemptive meaning. This sense of hope is what people today need, and hope arises from the Passion.
The Passion Vow colors the other four vows that we take: chastity, poverty, obedience and enclosure. We see these in the light of the love of Jesus Crucified. Being so aware of His love for us helps us to offer our lives in union with Him for the glory of God and for the needs of the Church and the world.
The Mass, the living memorial of the Passion, is the center from which all else flows. The singing of the Divine Office is an important part of our day. It helps us to refocus and bring the “praying always” of a recollected heart to gather with our Sisters to praise and thank our Lord for His love and ask His mercy for all the needs of the Church and the world.
There is always work to be done, the usual jobs of cleaning and cooking, answering the door and phone, and letters, and we enjoy working in the yard. We also have an altar bread department. It’s a work that we really enjoy…making the bread that will become the Body of Christ.
Recreation is a special time. You would think that we had not seen each other for days! Some Sisters like to knit or do needlework. There is always a jigsaw puzzle on the table to work on. There is a basketball hoop for the Sisters that enjoy shooting some baskets. We may watch a video together. We just enjoy doing things together. The Passionist life is a balance of solitude and doing things as a community. There is a family spirit that is very important to our charism.
At the end of the day we are ready to retire. There’s never a dull moment, as I’m sure any cloistered community would nod in agreement. We will be praying for all those who are discerning their vocation, and ask that you pray for us.