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Monastic Family of Bethlehem

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Gabriela
40 minutes ago, genesisweavers said:

Just for the record there are two American women in formation in the monastery in Livingston Manor.  There is one American Sister in Israel and two American Sisters in French Monasteries.  If I understand this correctly the Carthusians do not have a hard time attracting vocations in this country but they have a hard time keeping them.  In fact just a short time ago there were no solemnly professed American Carthusians. 

For a long time the Carthusians thought Americans just couldn't handle the eremetic life. It turns out Equinox just had some "management" problems. I think they're doing fine with Americans now, at least from what I've heard. Some male VSer should really visit there and tell us, though!

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mariepaix
43 minutes ago, genesisweavers said:

Just for the record there are two American women in formation in the monastery in Livingston Manor.  There is one American Sister in Israel and two American Sisters in French Monasteries.  If I understand this correctly the Carthusians do not have a hard time attracting vocations in this country but they have a hard time keeping them.  In fact just a short time ago there were no solemnly professed American Carthusians. 

From what I saw when I was there, MFB does attract some American vocations but not many.  There have been quite a few Americans who have visited, received the habit but have not stayed.  There is only one older US sister, probably the one in Israel, who is finally professed.   It would be interesting to know if the Americans in France are finally professed or not. I rather doubt it.  

5 hours ago, Gabriela said:

I will say these things that I think I've never posted before: A lot of Europeans seem very happy in the MFB. They just don't seem appropriate for Americans at all. I asked about that and they said they have 1 or 2 (I can't remember which) Americans in the entire worldwide order. To me, that raises flags. It suggests to me they're more influenced by national culture than they probably ought to be. To open a house in America and still not have a single American in it decades later... something's wrong. They also don't seem to care about this, because they were not willing to accommodate an American's semester schedule even though that makes me available at completely different times of the year than Europeans. To me that said, "We designed our discernment process for Europeans. Sorry, Americans: We don't really care if you can come or not."

You are not the only one who noticed this.  I know priests who thought the same thing...a monastery in America but no professed Americans living there!.  That's just weird.  Usually when they were preparing for a new monastery in a different country they gathered together sisters of that nationality(who lived together in a monastery in France) who would eventually return to their country.  That's definitely not the case for Livingston Manor.

Honestly, I have to say that more than once I ran into a certain prejudice against Americans and that different sisters as well as brothers were critical about Americans and our way of life, to put it simply.

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Gabriela
1 hour ago, mariepaix said:

From what I saw when I was there, MFB does attract some American vocations but not many.  There have been quite a few Americans who have visited, received the habit but have not stayed.  There is only one older US sister, probably the one in Israel, who is finally professed.   It would be interesting to know if the Americans in France are finally professed or not. I rather doubt it.  

You are not the only one who noticed this.  I know priests who thought the same thing...a monastery in America but no professed Americans living there!.  That's just weird.  Usually when they were preparing for a new monastery in a different country they gathered together sisters of that nationality(who lived together in a monastery in France) who would eventually return to their country.  That's definitely not the case for Livingston Manor.

Honestly, I have to say that more than once I ran into a certain prejudice against Americans and that different sisters as well as brothers were critical about Americans and our way of life, to put it simply.

Yeah, I'm not surprised by this. I half-suspected when I was at Livingston Manor that opening an American house was a business move.

Maybe that's too uncharitable, though... 

In any case, it's obviously not at all cool to open a house in a country where you don't respect the people.

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josephine

@Gabriela

i understand what you mean about the difference now. I remember when i was on a retreat with the MFB and the guest sister told me that before, she was asigned work in total solitude, and now she worked a lot with people, talking, making sure everyone was alright etc. I was quite surprised about that: your solitude in the order is completely depending on what task you get assigned under obedience.

I tried to look into the older threads but i couldn't find a lot of info, but if you like, could you tell us more about what attracked you to both orders and what you learned about their life?

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Gabriela
19 hours ago, josephine said:

@Gabriela

i understand what you mean about the difference now. I remember when i was on a retreat with the MFB and the guest sister told me that before, she was asigned work in total solitude, and now she worked a lot with people, talking, making sure everyone was alright etc. I was quite surprised about that: your solitude in the order is completely depending on what task you get assigned under obedience.

I tried to look into the older threads but i couldn't find a lot of info, but if you like, could you tell us more about what attracked you to both orders and what you learned about their life?

I was attracted by both the solitude and the liturgy. I learned a lot about their life, but most of that is in those previous threads. If you have specific questions feel free to ask them.

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genesisweavers

I would like to add a little to the question that Josephine proposed about the Monastic Sisters of Bethlehem and solitude.  I have already indicated the usual times of solitude that each Sister will have during a usual day.  That is - after Vespers (which is at 5:45 pm until Matins of the following morning.  In that time in the cell the Sister will celebrate two hours of the Office - Compline and the Office of Watching (which some Sisters pray during the night).  At 6:45 am the Sisters assemble for Matins, Lauds and the Eucharist followed by twenty minutes of Thanksgiving in the Church.  They will then return to their cells for solitude, study, their meal and of course prayer.  After Sext (in the cell) the Sisters who have work assignments outside the cell leave the cell for their work.  The Sisters in Solitude remain in the cell.  When a Sister goes to her worksite she works alone whenever that is possible.  The Sisters do not speak to one another if there are only two of them present.  And most always they communicate with one another via written notes.  If a Sister was assigned to help me in the kitchen she could not work in the kitchen.  She would take whatever she needed to complete the task and go to a small room across the hall from the kitchen called the kitchenette.  Sisters working in the guest hermitages would work alone.  At the end of work if the Sisters were walking back to the monastery they did so alone.  

Once I had to pick up a Sister who was having a medical procedure done at the local hospital and another Sister was with her.  We all made the trip to and fro in silence.  If I met a Sister on the monastery grounds we would nod and smile but would not talk.  

The needs of the individual for silence and solitude is discerned by two standards - one is the need of the community and the other is the need to the individual.  In my experience I think the MFB is very leanant in discerning the needs of the individual.  I have known several Sisters over the years who asked to be transferred to another monastery because she was not 'at home' in Livingston Manor'. And one of those Sisters simply had a hard time adjusting to the climate.  

Back in the day we had a family in our neighborhood who lost both of their parents.  Some of the siblings were old enough to hold the family together until everyone was old enough to take care of themselves.  That family produced three religious vocations.  Two girls became Sisters - one wanted to do social work and the other wanted to be a teacher.  They joined different orders that would accomplish their career goals.  You may have guessed - the 'social work' Sister ended up to be a teacher; the 'teaching Sister ended up doing social work'.  Just a way of indicating - people join religious life first of all because they are called - and secondly to serve (in some way).  The way we end up serving may not be 'our way'.  

Your brother 

john

 

 

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graciandelamadrededios


A NEW GENERAL PRIORESS
FOR THE MONASTIC FAMILY OF BETHLEHEM

Paris, februari 27, 2017

Sister Emmanuelle has been named general prioress of the monastic Family of Bethlehem, of the Assumption of the Virgin and of Saint Bruno by the Congregation of Religious, succeeding Sister Isabelle.

The Congregation of Religious accepted the resignation of Sister Isabelle, former general prioress, “thanking her for the years of service when she succeeded the founder, Sister Marie, and for her courageous and timely decision to hand over her responsibility in this new stage for her monastic Family.”

The Dicastery named a new general prioress, Sister Emmanuelle, helped by 5 sisters who are her advisers, and two visitors as apostolic assistants: Father Jean Quris, a priest in the diocese of Angers and an episcopal delegate for consecrated life, and Mother Geneviève Barrière, former Abbess of Jouarre. The community welcomed them with gratitude, having already formed a relationship of collaboration and friendship with them. The role of the assistants chosen by Rome consists in remaining close to the general prioress and to the permanent advisers in order to cooperate in the implementation of the recommendations given by the Dicastery and of the renewal of the Constitutions, in view of a future general chapter to vote on the constitutions and to elect a general prioress.

The points of amelioration have already been communicated by Rome, and the community is firmly resolved to work in sincerity with the assistants and the Congregation of Religious.
The entire Family of Bethlehem is deeply grateful to the Church for her solicitude and for her trust, convinced that this new stage will be a path full of hope.

Quote

and two visitors as apostolic assistants: Father Jean Quris, a priest in the diocese of Angers and an episcopal delegate for consecrated life, and Mother Geneviève Barrière, former Abbess of Jouarre. 

 

Rome is really very serious in monitoring their activities very closely........

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