Cloistered Nuns and Good Works


#1

I have wondered about this issue for awhile. Probably should be obvious, but not quite.

We are to have faith and good works. We are to go out into the world giving the good new and performing good works towards our brothers and sisters both physically and spiritually. What is considered the physical good works that are performed by nuns in a cloistered situation? I can understand the spiritual works, but what do they do in this situation that fulfills the command of physical good works toward others?


#2

[quote="lakotak, post:1, topic:333300"]
I have wondered about this issue for awhile. Probably should be obvious, but not quite.

We are to have faith and good works. We are to go out into the world giving the good new and performing good works towards our brothers and sisters both physically and spiritually. What is considered the physical good works that are performed by nuns in a cloistered situation? I can understand the spiritual works, but what do they do in this situation that fulfills the command of physical good works toward others?

[/quote]

They live in a school of love for each other within the cloister.

They prefer the will of each other rather than their own will. They obey the superior. They give voice to the younger members of the community when opinion's are sought. They defer to each other, listening first instead of speaking first.

They clean the toilets and do the laundry and cook and mop the floors and do the dishes and sew habits for each other. They put up with each other's weakness, and spend a lifetime with the other members of their community, learning how to love those who they really wouldn't get along with otherwise, because they understand that they are going to love those people in heaven more than they ever loved anyone or anything on earth.

They pray for each other, and for us and for the whole world. They wake up at 4:00 AM to pray for us, and pray for us when we don't have the self-respect to pray for ourselves. When you forget to pray, they have already prayed for you and for the whole world. The prayers of the religious have prevented world wars.

They care for their elderly and gather around them as family members should as they die. They wrap them in a sheet, dig the hole to bury them, and lower them into the grave themselves, and pray for their souls and their intercession for the rest of their lives.

-Tim-


#3

These are not cloistered Sisters but rather Dominicans, but the video is worth watching: youtube.com/watch?v=UDcC5NaKnAY

"We wish to start Heaven here on earth and the vows enable us to do that. He gives us the grace to love our neighbor as ourself."

Here are cloistered Cistercians, my friends in Conyer's Georgia: trappist.net/TheCall

"We promise to stay in one place and to be there for each other."

Both video's are worth watching as they describe life in the community in some way.

-Tim-


#4

[quote="TimothyH, post:2, topic:333300"]
They live in a school of love for each other within the cloister.

They prefer the will of each other rather than their own will. They obey the superior. They give voice to the younger members of the community when opinion's are sought. They defer to each other, listening first instead of speaking first.

They clean the toilets and do the laundry and cook and mop the floors and do the dishes and sew habits for each other. They put up with each other's weakness, and spend a lifetime with the other members of their community, learning how to love those who they really wouldn't get along with otherwise, because they understand that they are going to love those people in heaven more than they ever loved anyone or anything on earth.

They pray for each other, and for us and for the whole world. They wake up at 4:00 AM to pray for us, and pray for us when we don't have the self-respect to pray for ourselves. When you forget to pray, they have already prayed for you and for the whole world. The prayers of the religious have prevented world wars.

They care for their elderly and gather around them as family members should as they die. They wrap them in a sheet, dig the hole to bury them, and lower them into the grave themselves, and pray for their souls and their intercession for the rest of their lives.

-Tim-

[/quote]

Thank you so much for your insights. This has given me understanding and knowledge in so many ways. Sometimes we look for the great works to do, when in reality the ordinary things we do for others, our time, our attitudes, words of wisdom our listening are actually our "great works" in conjunction with our faith.

I will look at the videos either on my lunch hour or when I get home tonight. Thank you.


#5

And, as cloistered monks and nuns grow in sanctity through their works of love for one another and their prayer lives, there is an explosion of grace coming out of their community and helping people in their spiritual lives as the Holy Spirit wills.

Many times in my life I have been aware of a grace given that was so powerful that I quickly thought...."someone, somewhere in a cloister was praying".


#6

Not an original thoughts with me, but the prayers of cloistered religious are the great hinge that keeps the world turning, and which rise to heaven for those who do not or cannot themselves pray. That's a pretty impressive "work" to me.


#7

When I think of the religious in a cloister I imagine our Lord's hidden life, between the age of 12 and 30, before starting His public life. Nothing is said of this life, or known about it as if our Lord lived the better part of His life in a cloistered environment. Yet even though we don't know what happened, is it logical to assume he didn't perform acts of charity? For example; His obedience to Joseph and Mary, or His hard work in Joseph's shop? How about doing His daily chores and duties without complaint? Or the fasts he performed and prayers He said? Or all of the toil and humility of living an ordinary life which for all of us becomes a temptation to go into despair, or to believe that -unless we are doing something the whole world can see, then we aren't doing something meaningful? All of this must have been a great suffering for Him.

I'm sure all religious have a temptation to feel like their time and sacrifices are not helping, but I pray that they have fortitude and faith that their hidden lives, lived with love, help more than any nonprofit charity or organization that exists on this planet. I believe that it is their prayers and their sufferings which petition God to give us, who are outside the cloister, the graces necessary to do good acts with the same spirit of self-sacrifice and love.


#8

I was taught CCD by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, the first community of sisters that was not cloistered. They are known for their nursing and teaching apostolates. They told us that the cloistered nuns were the powerhouse of the Church, that their prayers supported everything else that the Church did. Prayer is just as important as the corporal works of mercy. Blessed Mother Teresa thought so too. Her biographies tell of her enlisting her chronically ill friends to pray for the work of the sisters. She considered their work of prayer as important has her work directly with the poor. She couldn't do without it.


#9

Praying for others - and desiring the salvation of others, offering sacrifices for the salvation of others (all of which contemplatives do and desiring good as well as sacrifices in the interests of good are forms of prayer). These are known as the Spiritual Works of Mercy and contemplatives are about this every day. Their entire lives are offered for the salvation of souls, but one does not HAVE to be a contemplative religious to effect this. There are many ways of praying. Prayer is a simple raising of the heart and mind to God in some way.

The Spiritual Works of Mercy would fall under a category of “good works”.


#10

Besides prayer, many cloistered orders engage in some sort of work such as making vestments or altar breads, working on a farm, or gardening (including, in some cases, growing their won food).


#11

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