When God is the object of our contemplation there is a whole new dimension. We have never previously experienced anything except through its impact on our senses, but God is “nothing known to the senses” (Heb. 12: 18a) . We have therefore to allow ourselves to be led through initial obscurity, into a new way of knowing that is simple and direct.
The normal preparation for contemplative prayer is attentiveness to God in whatever ways are familiar and helpful, until they no longer work for us – and then to let go in order to be led deeper into God’s own truth.
The vow of chastity, or consecrated celibacy makes love of God the primary life commitment of a person, to the exclusion of any mediating commitment. As in the case of marriage, when two people make their vows to each other and they thereby exclude any other sexual relationship, so a Religious by the vow of chastity, excludes a spousal relationship with another person, and in this case, the possibility of founding a family in order to belong exclusively to God through Jesus Christ.
The vow of poverty regulates a person’s attitude to material goods and ownership. It does not mean that a religious lives in poverty, but it promises an attitude of detachment from and moderation in the use of material goods. a simplicity of lifestyle. How this is lived out varies from Order to Order, and has changed throughout the course of history. An important aspect of this vow nowadays is care for the environment.
Our main ‘work’ is prayer. Besides spending two hours in silent prayer each day, we gather seven times in the day for the communal celebration of the liturgy, centred on the Mass. We also spend time in reading which fosters growth in the life of prayer. This does not leave us much time in which to earn our living and to engage in the normal household tasks ¬preparing meals, washing, cleaning etc. It is often a surprise to women who come in to try our way of life to discover how hard we work!
For further information on our daily routine, go to the timetable page.
The call is to a life of total self-giving, transcending personal concerns and needs in order to take into our hearts the pain and perplexity, as well as the genuine aspirations of the people of our age. The struggles of the world community are reflected in our efforts to live together in peace and love. This involves learning to face one’s own truth, with trust in the acceptance of others and total respect for their difference.
Although the habit may seem elaborate compared to modern clothes it is actually very simple to make and very hard wearing. Clothing is always the smallest item on our expense list! The choice of clothes is ordinarily an expression of individual personality. As Carmelites, we choose to express instead our dedication to Christ and our commitment to one another by wearing a common form of dress.
We live in a multi-cultural city and many of the people on its streets can be recognised by the clothing they wear as belonging to a particular religion or nationality. Like them, we are happy to be identified by the witness of our dress.
There are a number of reasons why we do not listen to either radio or television. We have a fairly unvarying timetable, and it would be difficult to fit television viewing into it, without constantly changing our routine. In the end we would be in danger of organising our life around the times of television programmes, rather than around prayer! This latter of course, is the real reason why we do not think that television is compatible with our way of life. To be bombarded with visual images is to make it difficult to cultivate the interior silence and absence of images that are essential to contemplative prayer. Instead we would be constantly distracted by what we had seen and heard. However for events of religious importance, such as the funeral of Pope John Paul II, and the inauguration of Pope Benedict we did watch television, and possibly enjoyed it all the more for being a rare event!
Sunday – 8.00am
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday – 7.00am
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, – 8.00am
The nuns, of course, will be in their own part of the Chapel, behind the grille.
Our own policy is to arrange a preliminary visit. If it seems appropriate, further visits will be arranged, or a short stay in our retreat flat, depending on your circumstances and the distance involved.
If it seems right to go further, you will be invited to spend some periods of time living alongside the community, experiencing the life. If this leads to a request to enter, you will be asked to provide the usual references, medical report, etc. as well as a letter of application. On receiving these, the community will take a vote on your entry.