Women Religious

My community, the Dominican nuns at Corpus Christi Monastery (Menlo Park, CA) have just released a video (their first) on YouTube!

When I first saw the video, I must confess, tears welled up.  For me, the pictures bring back memories of all my visits and my time inside the cloister for my aspirancy.  These women joyfully live out their vocations, contemplating the Word of God and interceding for us.  And it stirred the desire I have to join them.

One of these sisters, who has passed to her eternal reward, is Sr. Mary of the Holy Spirit, OP, the only sister you hear during this video.  When I was inside for my aspirancy, I sat next to her every day in choir.  She had a habit that touched me deeply – the way she would tenderly and frequently kiss Jesus on the crucifix that hung at her side.  And she spoke of our Lord with such love and devotion.

Sr. M. of the Holy Spirit’s vocation story is one example of how Jesus pursues and woos our hearts, often through His priests and the sacraments.  In the town where Sr. M. of the Holy Spirit lived, one priest had a reputation among the ladies, such that many avoided going to him for confession.  He would ask every young woman he encountered whether they had thought of becoming a nun, particularly at the end of confession, before the woman had a chance to leave the confessional.  And eventually many of these young women did enter religious life!  Well, Sr. M. of the Holy Spirit did not want to become a religious and so never went to him for confession.  Eventually she met a young man and they became engaged. 

One day, she wanted to go to confession, but this particular priest was the only one available.  Thinking she was engaged to be married and so “safe”, she went to confession.  At the end, he posed the question.  “I’m engaged!” she responded.  “Well, you’re not married yet,” was his reply. 

The end of the story, you’ve guessed.  Sr. M. of the Holy Spirit discerned a vocation to religious life, ended her engagement, and entered a community of cloistered Dominican nuns on the East Coast.  Eventually, she transferred to Corpus Christi Monastery in Menlo Park, where she became known for her art, photography, and her voice.  But at the foundation of all this, was her deep love and relationship with her Divine Spouse, Jesus.

To learn more about the Dominican nuns of Corpus Christi Monastery, including their individual stories, go to their website.

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