Been a while since I posted. I plan to visit the Brigittines in Tyler Texas in October - to visit I wil have to stay in a motel and provide my own transportation, since the one sister there does not have alot of accomodations for visits. This convent is I believe semi-cloistered - contact with family once a month. (Associated wtih FSSP, and is a public institution of the faithful) I finally got my nerve up to just ask if that could be changed to once a week. (no answer yet) Deep i my heart, I just cannot do once a month contact with family. I wish I could, but I can’t.( I have grown children) And yes I know that family is probably THE biggest obstacle to older women and vocation.(Taht and being set in your ways) That is why I was attracted to several “post-Vatican II liturgy” communities for older women, such as Daughters of Divine Hope, because one can talk to their children…and other things that make sense for older women. But I am attached to the Latin mass and the Breviary before 1962. That’s been established for sure.
I had a friend who recently visited a basically cloistered community in Italy which I would rather not name. They were devout Catholic women, and they pray all the offices. The real deal. Here is what disturbed me: there are 14 women, in a large but not huge home. During work time there seems to be very little for all 14 women to do. AFter the cooking and daily cleaning, some sewing and so on, there was not much else else. No garden for food, no crafts to sell. She was a visitor and she felt that a huge obstacle would be just plain no “real” work. I’m sorry, but I really heard that. You can only dust for so long.
I spent 2 months at a convent I will not name in 2007, where there were 6 others, and that also was my experience - there was not enough to keep all 7 of us busy, in an engaged sense. (that was not why I left). There were enourmous, unsurmountable, problems there and it no longer exists, but I spent many afternooons just wandering the halls. FRankly you can only read spritual literature for so long also. A person needs some kind of meaningfull work. I think.
So how do those big cloistered communities keep everyone engaged in some kind of work?