“If you only knew what God is offering…”
The Nature and Purpose of the Order
Our Order is a monastic institute wholly ordered to contemplation. The nuns dedicate themselves to the worship of God in a hidden life within the monastery under the Rule of St Benedict. They lead a monastic way of life in solitude and silence, in assiduous prayer and joyful penitence, thus rendering to the divine majesty a service that is at once humble and noble.
The Spirit of the Order
The Cistercian way of life is cenobitic. Cistercian nuns seek God and follow Christ under a rule and an abbess in a stable community that is a school of mutual love. Since all the sisters are of one heart and one mind, they have everything in common. By bearing one another’s burdens they fulfil Christ’s law, participating in his sufferings in the hope of entering the kingdom of heaven.
The monastery is a school of the Lord’s service where Christ is formed in the hearts of the sisters through the liturgy, the abbess’s teaching and the fraternal way of life. Through God’s Word the nuns are trained in a discipline of heart and action to be responsive to the Holy Spirit and so attain purity of heart and a continual mindfulness of God’s presence.
The nuns follow in the footsteps of those whom, in times past, God called into the desert to engage in spiritual warfare. As citizens of heaven, they become strangers to worldly behaviour. Living in solitude and silence they aspire to that interior quiet in which wisdom is born. They practise self-denial in order to follow Christ. Through humility and obedience they struggle against pride and the rebellion of sin. In simplicity and labour they seek the blessedness promised to the poor. By generous hospitality they share with their fellow-pilgrims the peace and hope which Christ has freely given.
The monastery is an expression of the mystery of the Church, where nothing is preferred to the praise of the Father’s glory. Every effort is made to ensure that the common life in its entirety conforms to the Gospel, which is the supreme law. In this way the community will not be lacking in any spiritual gift. The nuns strive to remain in harmony with all the people of God and share their active desire for the unity of all Christians. By fidelity to their monastic way of life, which has its own hidden mode of apostolic fruitfulness, nuns perform a service for God’s people and the whole human race. Each community of the Order and all the nuns are dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother and Symbol of the Church in the order of faith, love and perfect union with Christ.
The organization of the monastery is directed to bringing the nuns into close union with Christ, since it is only through the experience of personal love for the Lord Jesus that the specific gifts of the Cistercian vocation can flower. Only if the sisters prefer nothing whatever to Christ will they be happy to persevere in a life that is ordinary, obscure and laborious. And may he lead them all together into eternal life.