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Sisters Of Bethlehem In Livingston Manor

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Gabriela

Hi Curiourisng (??). Thanks for your welcome. its a long time since i've spoken about it with anyone who REALLY wants to hear about the life from inside the experience ! You are more than welcome to ask & I'm more than willing to answer what I can......
MARANTHA,

 

Ahhh... I know how that feels. I lived in Israel for 5 years and, when I got back, I really needed to "process it all" by talking about my experiences with people. But no one cared that much.

 

It was rough. I felt so alone. :-(

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AnnL
... No it's not at all overwhelming, I get it no problem!
Yes I was a novice! I left mainly for health reasons..... Yes we ate in our cells.... It depended on which monastery u are in how work was sorted... Ie. if monastery was/is under construction how the balance of spiritual & manual labour is sorted.

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AnnL
... No it's not at all overwhelming, I get it no problem!
Yes I was a novice! I left mainly for health reasons..... Yes we ate in our cells.... It depended on which monastery u are in how work was sorted... Ie. if monastery was/is under construction how the balance of spiritual & manual labour is sorted.

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AnnL
... No it's not at all overwhelming, I get it no problem!
Yes I was a novice! I left mainly for health reasons..... Yes we ate in our cells.... It depended on which monastery u are in how work was sorted... Ie. if monastery was/is under construction how the balance of spiritual & manual labour is sorted.

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Gabriela

... No it's not at all overwhelming, I get it no problem!
Yes I was a novice! I left mainly for health reasons..... Yes we ate in our cells.... It depended on which monastery u are in how work was sorted... Ie. if monastery was/is under construction how the balance of spiritual & manual labour is sorted.

 

Would you say that their way of life is hard on the health? Does one need a particularly "stout" composition to make it in their way of life?

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AnnL
.....don't know how I did that!

Part of what drew me to this monastic family was the real & genuine attitude & manner that you get from the sisters.
It has to be extremely practical & balanced to work. In my time it was said that only 1 in 200 could have the call - To actually have the mindset to cope & be happy in this way of life. (Clearly its then about how many hear it & want to follow it.) it was also said when I was there..... If u join & go through the process to final vows - if u didn't have the vocation God would gift u it if for nothing else for faithfulness & commitment & obviously LOVE! You couldn't do it without LOVE.

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Gabriela

That's what we call a "multi-post". It usually happens when you click the "Post" button more than once (happens a lot if your internet connection or the website is slow and you click again and again to be sure it went through). :-)

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AnnL
The Carthusian spirituality was adopted & agreed & accepted as the way forward - at that time it was seen to be the frame, body.... Of the cloistered life that was said to complete the enhance what was already there. It was then that the constitutions were written & approved by the Holy See. After Vatican 2 there was a clear distinction highlighted .. Direction taken that u were cloistered or open. Then this monastic family had a clear way to grow into.... I've looked at some of the threads.... Carthusian or not Carthusians - it is always with the blessing & support of the Carthusians that the Little Sisters of Bethlehem came under the mantle & added protection of all the Blessings that come from the Spirituality of St. Bruno.
There were clear understandings given to us as novices that we received so much from St. Bruno's spirit yet in Gods time we were adding, developing an aspect of this spirituality for our time. It is still very clear in my mind & heart what was meant.

Yep carrying foods to doors for certain times was a challenge & certainly kept us fit !!!!!
It was all a work in progress when I was there. Multi-tasking certainly was a help .

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AnnL
Do U mind me asking do U have a particular interest or type of info. U are looking for?
Happy to try & respond, or if its sharing a general /mutual draw to this amazing young Monastic Family.

Yes it is a hard life, If U are looking at comparison with the Carthusians directly.... A distinction offered to us for understanding & growth
That the Carthusians went into the desert to do vigil in prayer & to do battle with their physical bodies to overcome....
We in response to where we & society are.... We are dealing with the desert ( so to speak) within! So the way of life doesn't set out to make it harder than it already is.... It is about facilitating constant prayer.
....u dont have silence to prevent conversation, we were silent to respect our fellow sisters conversation with God.

Exercise was scheduled in....depending on how busy you were whether there was time for it or not.
Delighted we've made contact. Hope what I share has some relevance for You.
With affection & prayer. AnnL

Just seen the time. In the monasteries it is prayer time

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Gabriela

Do U mind me asking do U have a particular interest or type of info. U are looking for?
Happy to try & respond, or if its sharing a general /mutual draw to this amazing young Monastic Family.

Yes it is a hard life, If U are looking at comparison with the Carthusians directly.... A distinction offered to us for understanding & growth
That the Carthusians went into the desert to do vigil in prayer & to do battle with their physical bodies to overcome....
We in response to where we & society are.... We are dealing with the desert ( so to speak) within! So the way of life doesn't set out to make it harder than it already is.... It is about facilitating constant prayer.
....u dont have silence to prevent conversation, we were silent to respect our fellow sisters conversation with God.

Exercise was scheduled in....depending on how busy you were whether there was time for it or not.
Delighted we've made contact. Hope what I share has some relevance for You.
With affection & prayer. AnnL

Just seen the time. In the monasteries it is prayer time

 

Thank you so much for your willingness to answer questions, AnnL. Yes, I am looking for specific info, like the things I mentioned above. I'll paste them in again here, but if you prefer to answer later, that's fine!

 

 

Do the sisters eat meat/fish?

 

How many sisters are there? Do they often receive new vocations?

 

May the sisters leave their cells to go for a solitary walk if they like, or may they only walk in their cabin's garden except for during the Spatiamentum on Sundays?

 

How do the postulants and novices meet with the Novice Mistress? How often (per week)? For how long (each meeting)?

 

Do the sisters place great emphasis on study?

 

What kinds of work do the sisters do? If a novice wishes to learn a particular craft, will she be "apprenticed" to another sister who will teach her? How are decisions about "work assignments" made?

 

Are the sisters very open to receiving visitors at any time of year, or do they typically request that interested women come only during group retreats? Is it a difficult order to discern with (in terms of time, money, and other demands that might cause frustration, etc.)?

 

Do the sisters' families come to visit? How often? May the sisters write to/call their families? How often?

 

Do the sisters ever leave the laura? For what reasons?

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AnnL
..... I mean to say.... very clearly and definitely St. Bruno with a possibility that this would have been part of his vision and now is its time to come to being! There is a clear reasoning behind this which I'm very willing to share if you are interested. The vision needed to be clear for it to be ratified & accepted by the Church.

I was fortunate to have been there to hear Sr. Marie speak about this at the time. It's so enriching, I won't ever forget it but always remembering when you choose the desert it's not about what U see or touch .... It's how you work to do the smallest tasks with Love.

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AnnL
No problem about the time this end....
Diet wise .....depends on food available....
Yes meat & fish.... Concentration on healthy eating .... & how the body digests food.ie. years ago studies were done to find out why sisters were unwell without discovering medical reasons..... Transpired that the more the body became acclimatised to nature & withdrew from unnatural things we weren't dealing with some additives etc in food. Also checked on combinations of food groups etc. not rocket science but became much more real when u are tuning your whole system to do without emotional stimuli - food intake & it's role in our physiological & emotional makeup couldn't be ignored.
There were allowances for medical needs re: diet. Apart from that U accepted the food served to U.

Work wise - as I said briefly, we work for our upkeep. U may say U would like a type of work ... What u actually do is not your decision only.... U are always encouraged about a healthy independence, but in monastic life that is what you choose.... To give away some of that decision making & see it as an opportunity to grow into loving, or accepting a work you are not drawn to.

As in general guidelines for monastic living, it's all about permanent vigil of prayer. That is the work.
Did u know....That Carthusians & the sisters & brothers of Bethlehem don't sign any of their work.
The work has to be good obviously otherwise who would by it... But it's not for our benefit emotionally its a way of focusing & earning a living. One sorts supplies, someone else does the craft...another sister sells.... someone else cooks etc.

In the smaller monasteries we all multitasked, it can be frustrating & freeing....that's the nature of that life. I loved it.
There are plenty of flaws... But so much Love.
If things go awry there is always access via letter to designated sisters.

There are the monks of the cell & those that work in the 'house' . If U work in your cell. U only leave it at certain times.
If required you leave cloister for medical needs usually with a companion.
On Sundays there is a communal meal in refectory, there is a communal walk with already known Spiritual topic.

It is not considered a natural way of living..... .... & takes quite a time for your system to adjust .....we are all about praying in constant vigil & waiting for God. Waiting & becoming aware of how we are loved so unbelievably by God.
The whole way of life works to facilitate being ready & to being drawn into the awareness of the power

Phone calls are quite rare. It used to be no outside contact during Lent. Letters once a month to family, gradual separation from friends...
This is a life of solitude in communion. U are gradually withdrawing from day to day life & turning towards God in preparation for the next life.
There is access with your prioress ..... Generally it used to be once or twice a week.
The l'Ecole de Vie' is the beginning & trying time when all of the practical issues are raised & looked at., that wasn't in place when
I was there.

Some contact with family is encouraged. The guest rooms for retreats etc. vary on availability.... They were for family mostly not for retreatants it depends on each monastery about availability. The monasteries are quite busy places & can depend who is available to take care of guests. The first year is all about starting the acclimatising. Definitely u would be encouraged to do the month retreat. Which gives a taste of solitude...
Re: finances etc. these arrangements are covered by church law. Until U take vows your personal effects are stored for U.

I hope some questions have found some answers Curiousing, am open to clarify & if I've not been clear or missed things- I know I have, just let me know.
U were in Isreal for 5 years?? Fascinating! Xx

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Chiquitunga

Hi All, I am new to online communications....so please bear with me! Thanks.
I spent 3 1/2 years with the Sisters back some years ago! Still miss them deeply. Searching for links with fellow minded people / kindred spirits... Am I in the right place to ask this? AnnL

 

Praised be Jesus Christ! Hi AnnL! Yes, you're in the right place :like: and you have a kindred spirit in me :pray: I discerned with the Sisters of Bethlehem, though never entered, but was in a couple other communities. It's tough... let's keep each other in prayer! That is so neat you were in there when Sr. Maria was... Prioress would they say? or Superior? Mother General? Because I remember they would always stress that the Virgin Mary was their Prioress/Superior, etc. and they were serious about this! That was why they never used "Mother" before the name of the Superior of a particular monastery or the whole monastic family. I love their huge devotion to her! :heart:

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