Our Life in the Holy Spirit
Prayer, Cloister, Community, and Our Schedule
“Next to our Faith, we esteem nothing so highly as the gift of our contemplative-missionary vocation, in which we recognize an unmistakable sign of divine love. This undeserved grace should constantly fill us with joy and gratitude.”
From our Constitutions
“In life today, often noisy and disruptive, it is more important than ever to recover the capacity for inner silence and recollection. Eucharistic Adoration permits this not only centered on the ‘I’ but more so in the company of that ‘You’ full of love who is Jesus Christ, ‘the God who is near to us.’” (Pope Benedict XVI)
No matter for whom our prayers are specifically offered, our life of prayer as a whole is for the honor and glory of the triune God and the salvation of all people. Contemplation and intercession belong together and are intertwined in a simple wordless gesture. In contemplation we first turn to God and his love; from his love we arrive at the needs of mankind. In intercession we turn first to mankind and its needs, and arrive at God who can alleviate every need. Our life, totally dedicated to God, is a continuous intercession, even when we are not expressly formulating intercessory prayers.
Prayer for Priests
We are especially mindful of our Lord's exhortation, “Ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers to his harvest,” and we respond with prayer and sacrifice for priests, a special obligation given us by St. Arnold. Conscious that the evangelization of the world cannot be realized without good priests who, in the spirit of Jesus, the eternal high priest, will lead the people of God, our intercession is offered day and night first and foremost for those engaged in the work of proclaiming the good news. During every hour of nocturnal adoration, the Sisters intercede for priests, living and deceased, by either praying the Marian rosary or another form of prayer.
Our living union with the Lord, which was initiated in Baptism and strengthened by our religious vows, is intensified in the liturgy and in our encounter with the Lord in his word. The Holy Eucharist contains the whole spiritual wealth of the Church: Christ himself. By our daily active participation in this mystery, we unite ourselves to the Lord's immolation and share fully in the fruits of the Mass. Our celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours in choir unites us with the entire Church. In it we also find rich nourishment for personal prayer and an abundant source of grace and strength for our contemplative life.
The liturgical year, which revolves around the mysteries of Our Lord's life, takes us through a variety of seasons and is always urging us on to a fuller participation in the life of Jesus. The liturgical year stimulates and nourishes our spiritual life as it takes us from the advent of Christ to the culmination of our redemption in the paschal event. Sunday, Lord's Day, is for us a day of community joy and relaxation as we recall our resurrection in Christ in baptism and thank the triune God for the gifts of creation, redemption, and sanctification.
A commentary on the spirituality of the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters would be incomplete without mention of Mary, the Mother of the Lord and Immaculate Spouse of the Holy Spirit. We look to her as a model of faithful, loving attentiveness to God's word. By her Fiat, spoken out of a deep faith and in the power of the Holy Spirit, she became the Mother of the Redeemer and gave life to the world. She pondered God's word in her heart and contemplated his salvific deeds. She became one with her Son's surrender to the Father for the salvation of the world. With the disciples, she persevered in prayer for the coming of the Spirit. In this attitude of intercession she continues her saving mission in the mystery of the Church. Thus her life shows us the meaning and goal of our vocation in the heart of the Church.
The Feast of Mary's Immaculate Conception, December 8, is the foundation day of our Congregation. It was on this day in 1896 that St. Arnold officially established our community and entrusted its spiritual and temporal welfare to the motherly solicitude of the Virgin Mary. With her we sing of the great things God has done and will continue to do in us.
A wall to keep me in, or a barrier to keep you out
Or none such, but... point of encounter?
Inbetween you and me, a space neither can enter
A special most sacred space... point of encounter.
Or entrance into the inside of 'deep down things'?
The enclosure characterizes our lifestyle as cloistered-contemplative religious women, and is usually the biggest stumbling block to understanding the value of our way of life and our particular service to the world. We are certainly aware that God can be found everywhere and anywhere and that prayer is not confined within four walls. But the visible signs of enclosure such as the walls and grilles are not important in themselves; it is rather the seclusion they provide. Our contemplative life requires seclusion of which our enclosure is the sign and form. The cloister provides a space of separation, solitude, and silence, where God can be sought more freely in a life not only for him and with him but also in him alone. It is not a negative withdrawal, but a place set apart in which we can continually seek God in the mystery of a total and exclusive love. Our enclosure does not alienate us from others. On the contrary, communing with the God who is Love itself fills us with sympathetic understanding and love for all. Our spiritual giving, in and through Christ, transcends every boundary. Our cloistered withdrawal from the world allows us to make the cares and sorrows of all people our own as we offer them up in prayer.
“In watchful waiting for the Lord's return, the cloister becomes a response to the absolute love of God for his creature and the fulfillment of his eternal desire to welcome the creature into the mystery of intimacy with the Word, who gave himself as Bridegroom in the Eucharist and remains in the tabernacle as the heart of full communion with him, drawing to himself the entire life of the cloistered nun in order to offer it constantly to the Father. To the gift of Christ the Bridegroom, who on the cross offered his body unreservedly, the nun responds in like terms with the gift of the ‘body,’ offering herself with Jesus Christ to the Father and cooperating with him in the work of redemption.” (Verbi Sponsa)
“Before being a human construction, religious community is a gift of the Spirit. It is the love of God, poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, from which religious community takes its origin and is built as a true family gathered together in the Lord's name. It is therefore impossible to understand religious community unless we start from its being a gift from on high, from its being a mystery, from its being rooted in the very heart of the blessed and sanctifying Trinity. In creating man and woman in his own image and likeness, God created them for communion. God the Creator, who revealed himself as Love, as Trinity, as communion, called them to enter into intimate relationship with himself and into interpersonal communion with each other. This is our highest vocation: to enter into communion with God and with our brothers and sisters.” (Fraternal Life in Community)
We did not choose one another; we were each chosen by God to be a gift to the other. We come from various countries, have differing temperaments, and are from a wide variety of different age groups. It is quite likely that most of us would have never even crossed paths, let alone chosen to live together, if we had not entered religious life. The one thing we all have in common is that we heard and answered the call by God to become Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters. God himself chose our companions; he banded us together into one religious family. By praying with and for one another, unitedly striving towards the same goal, and living together as Sisters, we cultivate the awareness that we are all one in the Lord in joy and sorrow. In the celebration of the Eucharist, the focal point of our community life, we receive the necessary strength for selfless, humble service; for “though we are many, we are one body, because we all share in the one bread” (1 Corinthians 10:17).
“Particularly significant is the witness offered by contemplative men and women. For them, fraternal life has broader and deeper dimensions which derive from the fundamental demand of this special vocation, the search for God alone in silence and prayer. Their constant attention to God makes their attention to other members of the community more delicate and respectful, and contemplation becomes a force liberating them from every form of selfishness. Fraternal life in common, in a monastery, is called to be a living sign of the mystery of the Church: the greater the mystery of grace, so much the richer is the fruit of salvation.” (Fraternal Life in Community)
When people first hear about the “Pink Sisters,” they are often mystified. Women who spend their entire lives hidden behind the walls of a cloister? We frequently hear the question:
Sister, what do you DO all day? Many are surprised to find out that our schedule is very busy and our life is very fulfilling. Our lives are centered around Eucharistic Adoration, and we gather together as a community seven times a day for liturgical prayer. The time not spent in public or private prayer is used for our various work duties, from cooking meals and cleaning to answering correspondence to weeding the garden. We also make sure to balance the intensity of our lifestyle with time for recreation and fun. Our spirituality teaches us, however, not to separate our lives in to “prayer,” “work,” “recreation,” but to allow all things to flow together harmoniously into one whole: one continuous act of praise of the Triune God.
Harmonious communal living and the efficient accomplishment of our duties require a regular schedule, which prescribes the times for prayer and work, for silence and recreation, and for all community gatherings. Faithfulness to the schedule requires selflessness and is an expression of our love, as we are considerate of one another's time for prayer, work, or rest.
|5:45am||Morning Prayer (Liturgy of the Hours)|
|Office of Readings and Midmorning Prayer (Liturgy of the Hours)|
|11:45am||Midday Prayer (Liturgy of the Hours)|
|Midafternoon Prayer (Liturgy of the Hours)|
|4:00pm||Evening Prayer (Vespers) and Benediction (Sundays)|
|5:00pm||Evening Prayer (Vespers) and Benediction (weekdays)|
|7:45pm||Night Prayer (Liturgy of the Hours)|
Daily each Sister has a 45 minute period before the Blessed Sacrament, and one hour for personal prayer and spiritual reading. Each Sister also keeps one hour of nocturnal adoration every other night.
“Only living union with Christ can make fruitful our service and our community life regulated by the evangelical counsels. For the Lord has said, ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing’ (John 15:5).”
From our Constitutions