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Monastic Sisters Of Bethlehem


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Thanks for the Vimeo link, Antigonos - I have an ulpan exam approaching and only this morning I was looking for material to practise with that's a bit more interesting to me than our teacher's recommended documentary about chemical pesticides.  :hehe2:

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393 Our Lady of Lourdes Camp Road Livingston Manor, NY 12758 U.S.A. +1/845 439 43 00

I just came back from a 6 night retreat at the hermitages of the Monastic Sisters of Bethlehem in Livingston Manor, NY and it was the most incredible retreat experience of my entire life.  Getting to

They must now have heat in the hermitages! They didn't used to have them available during the winter months. BRING a lot of warm clothing. Often there is a 20 degree difference from the village to the

...on second thoughts, as the documentary name suggests, there are very few words in it! It's a beautiful portrayal but for language study I suppose I'll have to stay with the pesticides. :P

 

A good deal of the voiceover narration in Hebrew are quotations, from Song of Songs and other very Scriptural sources, so you would likely find the Hebrew difficult.  But, as you say, the main impact is visual.

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Antigonos-

 

Thank you so much for sharing that link to the Vimeo documentary.  I watched and savored every minute of it, without understanding any of the narration or speaking, except a few bits of the French. 

A gorgeous film, making their life look so very appealing.

 

Does anyone know whether the Monastic sisters of Bethlehem have converse or donate sisters as the Carthusians do?

 

Grace and peace to all.

Graciela

 

John has already answered this, but I would add: In a sense, yes, but officially, no. Converse sisters are simply sisters who work outside of cell, and lots of MFB sisters do that. In my experience with them, they didn't actually guarantee solitude in that work, nor silence (though it was certainly a lot more silent than a secular workplace, to be sure!). Donate sisters they do not have, as one cannot simply continue in the School of Life until one feels ready to move on or decides to leave. The School of Life is really more like postulancy. There's no way to "try out" the MFB like there is the Carthusians.

 

My understanding from speaking to my "Angel" at the Evangelical Month was that a sister who feels called to more solitude will be permitted to work in cell—when she's further along in the life, but not before. It was my impression that only some sisters in final vows had the kind of solitude that all Carthusians have. And that was one difference between the MFB and the Carthusians that really struck me: The Carthusians talked constantly about a call to solitude, and they jealously guard the vocation to solitude even for aspirants, because they revere that call. For the MFB, solitude didn't seem to be an inherent part of the call to their order. It was certainly a part of their life, but it wasn't a guarantee for anyone. The needs of the community could override solitude, and seemed to do so quite a lot (though less at Livingston Manor, from what I saw). That's why I say the MFB seemed more Benedictine to me.

 

I'll actually be making a silent retreat in Livingston Manor fairly soon (winter weather permitting, that is!) I've seen the monastery before, but this will be my first retreat with them. Does anyone have any suggestions or advice about how to make the most of my time there? Thanks!

 

Take:

 

1. A flashlight AND a book light (<< CRITICAL!!!)

2. Walking shoes/boots

3. An alarm clock

4. A wrist watch

5. Things to keep you busy (like books or crafts)

6. If you're a picky eater: snacks

 

They must now have heat in the hermitages! They didn't used to have them available during the winter months. BRING a lot of warm clothing. Often there is a 20 degree difference from the village to the monastery!

Good boots are a must as well.

 

just enjoy it!

 

Yes, there is now electric heat in the guest hermitages. Some of the sisters still use wood stoves, but their newer cabins all have electric heat, too. And the chapel has a heated floor—though not in the balcony, where guests pray. It can be pretty cold up there!

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No, that's not it.  This was a full documentary, I think about an hour long, and it's called "A Love Beyond Words".

This is the link I found, but it's really only a description.  I didn't find it on YouTube but  here

  is a link to Vimeo -- alas the sound track is in Hebrew, but visually it is interesting.  The sisters speak in French, IIRC, so perhaps some of you will understand bits.

 

Thanks for sharing that!  I watched the whole thing and thought it was fantastic.

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  • 6 years later...

Following the investigation of the Monastic Sisters of Bethlehem by the Vatican, Sr. Emmanuel, the Prioress general, has issued a statement where they ask forgiveness to the ex sisters for the deep wounds and trauma Bethlehem has inflicted upon them. https://english.bethleem.org/annonces/20210104_press_release.php

Because of the damage they have caused to many sisters who have left the order because of their dysfunctionality they have set up a listening cell where testimonies may be heard. cellule.ecoute.FMB@gmail.com  If you spent any time at Bethlehem please do not hesitate to contact the listening cell.  They will set up a zoom conference for those who live outside of France.

You may already find many testimonies of ex sisters, as well as the dossier that was brought to the Vatican by an ex brother of  Bethlehem at .https://www.lenversdudecor.org/Communaute-de-Bethleem-les-revelations-accablantes-d-un.html  It is in french but can be translated.  Since the dossier has come out many ex sisters and brothers who were afraid to speak before have found the courage to do so because of the dossier.  Many have suffered deep spiritual abuse causing depression and even suicide.  

Please beware of sending anyone to Sr. Amena at their monastery in Livingston Manor, NY until there are signs that they are on the road to spiritual health.  It is our fear that other young women who enter this order will suffer spiritual and psychological damage.

Finally because this order originated in France there is little news about the events that have transpired about the investigation and abuses here in America so people are unaware of the gravity of the situation.

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2 hours ago, graciandelamadrededios said:

I read about the testimony and it was disturbing.  

Indeed it is!  I am an ex sister and every day we are learning something new about Sr. Marie, Sr. Isabella and Bethelehm.  It is beyond shocking.  We doubt that they can actually be reformed. 

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graciandelamadrededios
On 3/19/2021 at 11:51 PM, mariepaix said:

Indeed it is!  I am an ex sister and every day we are learning something new about Sr. Marie, Sr. Isabella and Bethelehm.  It is beyond shocking.  We doubt that they can actually be reformed. 

Ex-Sister of this Order?

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On 3/19/2021 at 8:15 AM, graciandelamadrededios said:

I read about the testimony and it was disturbing.  

Do you know of anyone who was at the Monastery of Bethelehm and left?  I am trying to get in contact with ex sisters.

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