From my “UK Office,” as I’ve dubbed her:
The Benedictines I have visited before always seemed too “institutional,” but these nuns, The Sisters of the Blessed Virgin Mary (in the UK) are not like that at all.
They have Constitutional Enclosure (not Papal Enclosure).
They have the beautiful sung Divine Office of the Benedictines, but also have the warm, family-like community life of the Augustinians, the joy and simplicity of the Franciscans, and the love of Mary of the Visitandines!
Each sister is accepted for who she is, and Mother isn’t some distant figure, she can often be found washing dishes in the kitchen!
They wear a habit and veil all the time: long black habit, black scapular, white wimple (head-dress) with a collar, white under-veil and black top veil. Professed nuns also wear a ring on the right. They wear a rosary at the waist to symbolize their special devotion to Mary.
Meals are in silence with one nun reading.
Their chapel has large windows for plenty of natural light and they also have a large garden where you might catch a glimpse of foxes.
Vocational discerners are not shut in a room and forgotten about. They are given a guest room to provide them with some space for thinking and reading, but apart from attending the Divine Office and daily Mass, discerners may be given permission to enter the enclosure. They can eat with the sisters (the food is very good) and help with some basic aspects of their work (cleaning dishes, preparing vegetables, and hanging up laundry).
The age limits mentioned are flexible. Each vocation is considered individually.
One is allowed to talk to all of the sisters (if you want to) about their life and work and ask any questions. They are happy to offer advice/guidance to assist any vocational discerner to find where she might be called, even if it is not to their particular community.
All of the photos on the site were taken by a nun of the convent.