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orapronobis

Strictly cloistered religious communities for men?

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Pia Jesu

While Superblue notes that "common sense usually prevails over such things," the psychological testing and multiple interviews that a candidate undergoes before entering religious life--would seem to be the perfect time to discuss your concerns, Orapronobis.  There are several VS threads that address the process.  Knowing (well) a vowed, celibate homosexual, I'd say they are represented in some, perhaps most communities.  Gethsemani Trappist Fr. Matthew Kelly (one of Thomas Merton's novices and later confessor) was openly gay--accepting his orientation without acting (sexually) upon it.  Google his homiletic remarks.  This is the challenge that the sexual revolution presents to modern religious communities.  Are we to look at the vowed life (with regards to one's sexual orientation) as repressive?  Hardly.  As my friend once told me, the vow of celibacy (fully understood and freely chosen) is liberating!

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orapronobis

Thank you so much for this reply Pia Jesu. I have always worried about the generally held idea that many homosexual Catholics choose the seminary or the cloister in an attempt to escape from their inner selves and from their homosexuality. It is really heartening to see that there are still many Catholics who acknowledge that God calls a person into union with Himself regardless of sexual orientation. :)

 

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orapronobis

Thank you everyone for your very informative and in some cases thought-provoking responses to my post. I feel very pleased that so many of you took the time to advise me and/or assist me in my search for the monastery to where God is calling me. I do often wonder if my feeling of vocation to a strictly cloistered community will/has become clouded by the fascination with "externals". I have spent an awful lot of time in adoration this week and I have managed to just spend a bit of time with Jesus. I realise fully that it doesn't really matter whether or not I have strict enclosure as long as I acknowledge him to be the centre of my life in all things. I'm about to finish school and go on to Sixth Form (I'm British) and I just can't wait to see where life and my search for God will take me :)

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beatitude

Orapronobis, it is nice to see other British discerners here. :) I'm from the UK too. Be assured of my prayers.

I think you've hit on something very important. I once asked a priest what he thought the most important thing was for a convert to know as they prepared for baptism. He replied, "Their need." This applies to monastic life as well - it is designed to instill perfect trust in God and awareness of your need for him, if you let it. Grilles can be a part of that, but it can be done without grilles. For me, as a woman with a secular institute, I sometimes struggle with how ordinary and undistinguished my life looks from the outside - no beautiful habit, no ancient customs. But then I remember that Jesus' life at Nazareth looked much the same, and that he spent thirty unseen years in love, prayer, and deep contemplation there with few things to mark him out.

I presume you're already know about UK discernment events such as Invocation? It wouldn't hurt to go along, as you would have the chance to talk to a lot of priests and religious. Good luck with your GCSEs and many prayers for whatever comes after!

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TheresaThoma


For us it isn't the internet or email, etc. which people think is so invasive but it is THE PHONE. Especially now with a society in which most people have their own cell phones people call all the time with no consideration for our schedule. Many call for prayers, for enrollment and mass cards, for information and then there is the usual needs of running the monastery. We have  system of taking messages but our schedule doesn't work too well with the working world so it can sometimes be easier just to take the call the 1st time. When we return a message inevitably the person has their phone off, so we leave a message. Then they leave a message because we're at Office. So we call back and it starts all over again!

I hear before phones more people came to the monastery parlor for business. So, I guess everything is a trade-off. With email we can respond at a time good for us.
 

​Oh yes the phone! Right now I don't work a normal 9-5 job, I work 3:30-midnight. So I'm either asleep, at work, at Mass or getting ready for one of those when most people think to call. I much prefer texts and emails because I can get back to those when it is best for me and not worry about disturbing them at odd hours of the night.

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orapronobis

I can imagine that the use of phones in convents and monasteries must be so disruptive sometimes. It musn't be very conducive to prayer for a phone to start going off during the Lesser Silence or during an office ;)

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orapronobis

​Ora...while most of us have seen the 2005 documentary "Into Great Silence" (about the monks of the Grand Chartreuse, France), it is an informative and incredibly worthwhile film to watch. Today, a UK news source published a "recruiting" article about the Carthusians of St. Hugh's Charterhouse (Parkminster).  See http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/how-to-become-a-monk-1341846.html (with a direct link to the monks at http://www.parkminster.org.uk).

I also just finished reading An Infinity of Little Hours:  Five Young Men and their Trial of Faith in the Western World's Most Austere Monastic Order by Nancy Klein Maguire (Public Affairs/Perseus Books Groups, NY) 2006.  It is wonderfully written--and a definite "must read" for anyone desiring a life of solitary prayer and meditation.

Prayers!

 

​I have read Infinity so many times! I would be so happy if it turned out I had a Carthusian vocation- their life is just so beautiful!

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miserere55
  • The phone in most monasteries (at least for women) rings in the extern areas and the sisters never really hear it ring.  This was my experience.

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orapronobis

This was an interesting topic.  I enjoyed the responses.  Welcome to Phatmass Orapronobis!!!

​Thank you so much miserere55! I was really glad to see that I got so many helpful responses. I thought that I'd probably get ignored or get a few responses but I was really surprised by the level of interest that this received.

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orapronobis

Actually, an Anglican convent that I used to visit had a telephone in Reverend Mother's office and the Guest Mistress and the Novice Mistress would only communicate via email in normal circumstances... Until the increasing age of the community meant that they unfortunately needed to keep a telephone on the dormitory corridor just in case an ambulance/priest needed to be summoned in the middle of the night. 

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Graciela

The Trappist monks at the Abbey of the Genesee in Piffard, NY, observe their enclosure very strictly. They make and sell "Monk's Bread" which is very popular regionally in western NY state.  Their chapel is uniquely made from stone that the monks obtained from their land.  A priest-professor in my master's in theology program recalled visiting a number of the monks in hospital after they had had hernia surgery while the chapel was being built- an unfortunate side effect!  It is one of my favorite quiet prayer places ever!

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marigold

​Oh yes the phone! Right now I don't work a normal 9-5 job, I work 3:30-midnight. So I'm either asleep, at work, at Mass or getting ready for one of those when most people think to call. I much prefer texts and emails because I can get back to those when it is best for me and not worry about disturbing them at odd hours of the night.

​That sounds like an interesting job, TT!

Orapronobis - hello from another UK poster! Glad to see you on here. The fact that you're aware of the possibility of being swayed by some of the beautiful and symbolic things given to those in monastic life - that might be your surest protection against it...

I'm trying to squeeze monastery visits into long weekends and not take days off work if I can help it, so I'm quite envious of your long breaks as a student. Use them well! ;)

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