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Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I think I've lost my mind.

This week I received an email from a Cistercian community in Wisconsin, and today, a packet and a letter from a Cistercian community in Iowa. The latter has a retreat in mid-March, which I can't attend due to class. The Vocation Director there, Sr. Martha, invited me to call or email with any questions.

I responded to the community in Wisconsin first because I think they are closer and because they contaced me first, and asked a few questions, also letting her know that I'm not at this point serious about entering a cloistered community, especially one so austere!

I can't believe I'm actually considering visiting one of them. Firstly, I'm not Benedictine, and the more I learn about them, the more I realize that. Cistercians follow the Benedictine Rule, but are much more strict than Benedictine communities.

We'll see what happens...a discernment visit isn't necessarily discernment to that community, but discernment of God's will. And who knows? Maybe the austerity even at the short term could be a good thing for me. I could just go on a silent eremetical retreat, but I don't think it would be a good idea as I'm not disciplined enough for it, and I don't have a spiritual director. I'd waste the time in some stupid way and learn nothing.

Something specific, even with difficult hours, would likely be the best type of retreat for me; purification is always a good thing.

Let's just see where this goes...


Unknown said...

Good luck.

There is always the Dominican Nuns. I am looking at the ones in Summit, NJ. (SHHHHHHHHH!)

Adoro said...

Kat ~ I LOVE the Dominicans...they saved the Church...and many many souls! And don't worry..I won't tell anyone! ;-)

MemoriaDei said...

I have a BS Education so when I felt called to a 3rd order in my 54th year on earth, I contacted them first. Something just didn't fit right so I knew God wasn't calling me there but I was pretty surprised. After many months of prayer and searching, I came across a Franciscan 3rd order, not the SFO and it fit. I spent 12 months as an inquirer following all that everyone was doing. Pretty strict 3rd order. I needed to get a spiritual director and the only one who could was a Trappist monk. Within 2 months, I found out in a powerful way that Cistercian is my spirituality. Me? Outgoing, talking all the time, me? I am called to contemplative? Wow. But there was so much peace with it, I knew. So, now I have just begun one year formation towards becoming an Oblate with the Cistercian community in Wisconsin.

Cistercians/Trappists are kinda sorta contemplative Benedictines. That is not to say that Benedictines aren't contemplative.

To find out more about the Cistercian family:

Trappists: (Iowa) which also includes info on the whole Cistercian family.

Cistercians of the Common Observance: (Wisconsin)

Our Lady of Spring Bank Monastery (Monks)is in Sparta, Wisconsin, not far from Valley of Our Lady Monastery. Both are Cistercians of the Common Observance.

More info than you wanted? I am to serve! hahaha I'll help you pray, memoriadei

MemoriaDei said...

Ooops, one more's not exactly like they live Carthusians life styles at all. When I am at the Trappist monastery, the monks are very friendly and just a delight to talk to. I don't see all of them but will see different ones on different visits. My confessor is one of the monks. A very rewarding experience.

When you think about it, when people live in community like that, keeping silent 50% of the time might just be what keeps some arguments down! lol Seriously...I would get on people's nerves if I were allowed to yack all the time! haha (memoriadei)

Adoro said...

Clairvaux ~ Thanks for the info and the links!

Fr. Erik Richtsteig said...

That is a very good community. One of the sisters is from my home parish.

Anonymous said...

Well, if you're interested in ANY discernment retreat, you will be hearing from me ... 6 1/2 hour drive is do-able, isn't it? :)

Adoro said...

Fr. ~ I didn't know cool!

Youknowwho! ~ Well, I know what you're going to suggest...Holy Week is not an option for me! lol

And I DO really want to visit the Cistercians for some odd reason.

Terry Nelson said...

I think you would like them - either one - Trappistines or the Cistercians in Wisconsin. They are both solid. The sisters in Dubuque are a group you would like for sure I think. Monasteries have room for all sorts of spiritual schools, Benedictine, Dominican, Franciscan, and so on. You have to be there to understand what I mean. The Trappistines have separate guest houses - you can be in a little house all by yourself - unless it has changed. I wonder if you might even be able to bring your dog? I've been out of touch with them for a few years now.

Anonymous said...


I've been going through something similar in my own discernment process. Although I have not received any letters from vocations directors, I do feel strongly attracted to the Benedictines.

I highly recommend that you have a gander at the Rule of St. Benedict, if you haven't already. It will help clarify some things before you go and visit.

Also, pray to St. Bernard of Clairvaux for guidance.

Sr Roberta Boyer, O. Cist said...

Gosh and I have been here in this place in WI for nigh onto 27 years. I didn't know it was sposed to be an austere life. Find the Springbank Monks blog and check them out. I just started my blog but the 7 young women here sure don't look too austere on my first page. All kidding aside try a link to Running with the Beloved. These young novitiate members are full of fun and very earnest in following our way of life. After 50 years in vowed life, I can still learn a lot from them.
God bless
A Cistercian Nun In WI

Adoro said...

Cistercian Nun ~ LOL< thanks for the comment, and I may be seeing you soon! Believe me, your way of life is FAR more austere than any life I've ever known, even though I grew up in poverty!

Besides, I don't like getting up that early in the morning, I don't know if I can deal with THAT MUCH silence, etc.


Joy...I've been to the website, I've seen the joy. And it's the site that attracted me.

So, if you'll have me visit, I'm more than happy to, if it's what God wants. :-) Maybe the question is...can you tolerate ME?