Any female attracted to the contemplative life who may be considering a religious vocation may wish to consider the Cistercian Nuns of Valley of Our Lady Monastery. This is the only English speaking group of nuns from the Cisterician Order of the Common Observance that I am aware of. In fact, O Cist. are pretty rare in the United States all together. Most Cistericians in the USA are of the strict observance, often known as the Trappists. For those who might not be aware, the Cistercians are a reform of the Order of Saint Benedict and are considered in the Benedictine family. As such, Benedictine Spirituality would be a large part of what they do.
They have a very nice, and informative website.
Living in the tradition of the Desert Fathers (and Mothers), these nuns follow a path of unceasing conversion in order to attain union with God. Their "Monastic Life is a radical participation in the Paschal Mystery of Christ."
The Cistercian Order is dedicated to Mary under the title of her Assumption.
So it is that they pray unceasingly wherever they are: “In union with Christ and His Bride, the Church, during the Hours of the Divine Office, we bring before the Father all that is human: joy and sorrow; hope, anxiety; innocence and sin; patience and anger; life and death."
Chapter Office is held every morning, where issues important to the community are discussed, and there are readings of the Rule of St. Benedict and of Martyrs.
3:30 am Rise
3:50 am Matins, Interval, Lauds, Breakfast, Lectio Divina
7:45 am Terce, Mass, Chapter, Work
12:00 pm Sext, Dinner, Work
1:30 pm Prayer
2:15 pm None, Recreation
3:00 pm Work
5:00 pm Vespers, Supper, Free Recreation
6:30 pm Compline
8:30 pm Retire
If all this sounds like a little much, here are some words from St. Bernard of Clairvaux:
“It’s not a matter of self-torture or of producing special achievements of self-assertion, but rather we let go of ourselves, to become interiorly free and so available for the call of God.”
And perhaps St. Bernard should have added(!): And you WILL have recreation! Wonder if I could learn to do this. If you live in a place with almost no snowfall, it looks awfully fun.
Location: Wisconsin - also internationally, although each monastery is autonomous
Spirituality: Rule of St. Benedict; St. Thomas Aquinas and other Fathers of the Church; their founders, Saints Robert, Alberic and Stephen; Our Lady
Devotions: Divine Office - Latin with Gregorian Chant; Traditional Habit; Grand Silence; Ascetic Practices; Continuous interior prayer; the study of Liturgical, Sacramental and Monastic Theology and Doctrine; Processions according to the season; Eucharistic Adoration - First Fridays and other times; Lectio Divinia (Meditative reading of Scripture)
Apostolates: Prayer - Primary; they bake Hosts to support themselves, and have a craft shop; Theological studies; Contemplation
of professed nuns: 16
Ages upon entrance: 21-35