Wednesday, 10 June 2009

You wouldn't want nuns to fall out of windows would you?

Because if there were any more vocations to the convent where we stayed for the weekend, that's probably what would happen. Here, have a read:

Benedictine Convent "Santa Maria delle Rose"
Via Castello, 18
62020 Sant'Angelo in Pontano, Macerata

September 2008

Dear Sir

We are a Benedictine monastic community of strict observance, dedicated to praising the Lord and praying for every man on earth.

We are 30 sisters, the majority of whom are very young, from Italy and from other parts of the world (Belgium, Poland, Canada, Mexico and Taiwan).

The Lord is surprising us, continually sending us new young women who want to embark upon our Benedictine life, that unfolds in a harmonious alternation of Ora et Labora (Prayer and Work). In this way, as St. Benedict recommends in the Holy Rule, we sustain ourselves with the work of our hands.

The old convent is by now too small for our needs and for this reason we think that it is the will of God to construct a new one that, while remaining in the spirit of St. Benedict, will make tangible in its beauty the love of God for each person. We are sure that the Lord will carry this work to completion.

We are writing to ask for your help according to your means.

The new convent will be erected in Passo Sant'Angelo, where the Lord has already provided us with a gift of beautiful land and the authorisation to begin construction.

May the Lord bless you, your family and your work. We are praying for you.

Mother Abbess and community
Tel/Fax: (+39)0733/661206 or (+39)0733/978909 E-mail:

If you would like to participate in the construction:
Banca Delle Marche:IBAN: IT26 M060 5569 1600 0000 0002 225BIC/SWIFT: BAMAIT3AXXX
BancoPosta Italia:IBAN: IT89 A076 0113 4000 0003 6806 743BIC/SWIFT: BPPIITRRXXX

That's their letter. I'd like to add some words of my own:

The Mother's not kidding that the Lord is surprising them. At one time it seemed that the convent was bound to shut down for the lack of vocations, but now the place is teeming with young sisters, and quite an international bunch of sisters too. They are not chalking this up to co-incidence, but to the will of the Lord to do a new thing. They've already received requests to found new convents abroad, not so much in developing countries, but in countries where the Gospel has faded out of public life and where they would be sheep among wolves.

I might also mention that the New Movements of the Church have had a large part to play in this. That is to say that many of these young women were drawn to this ancient way of life precisely because they responded courageously to the call to live out their lay vocation, the priesthood of all believers. They haven't "escaped" - they're full of life and they're doing battle "against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places" on your behalf and on the behalf of everyone you love.

We're grateful for the love, the hospitality, and the words that they gave to us during our time there.

N.B. There are enough English-speakers in the convent that, should you wish to send a letter or an e-mail, I'm sure it will be gratefully received.