Trapped by Love?

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Is it worth for something today to live as a cloistered nun? Sr. Alicia Correa is an Augustinian Recollect contemplative nun. In this article she narrates a beautiful anecdote that made her find the meaning of contemplative life in our time.

I start with this question: Trapped by Love?

I share this to you that during one of the days of this Christmas, I received a pleasant visit. My visitors were the parents of Guadalupe, a blonde, lively, four-year girl with tousled hair, who also came with them. After greeting us, [nuns], Guadalupe looked at me intently, and after clinging to the bars of the grille that separated us, she, with wide eyes, threw me this question: “And you, why are you trapped here?”

A smile was drawn on the faces of those present and there was a brief silence. That was what she perceived after seeing my silhouette appear behind the grille. She questioned her [mother] about the reason of this way of living or at least of “being.” With kindness, her mother tried to make her understand saying: “Guadalupe, como se dice ‘cerrado’ en inglés?” [“Guadalupe, how do you say ‘cerrado’ in English?”] To which she responded without hesitation: “Closed.” “Very good! Well, [Sister] Alicia is a cloistered nun. She is enclosed; she lives this way because she is always with God. She prays for all of us.”

The brief silence awakened in me another great question: “Is it worth for something today to live as a cloistered nun?” The question that Guadalupe asked me has much to think about, much to tell…

In a media-conditioned society such as ours, in which changes take place at a dizzying speed, and which is characterized by what was once and used to have value, today this value no longer exists. Ours is a society where there seems to be no employment, personnel, nor emotional stability; in which everything is about using and throwing away; and is dependent on the good or benefit that brings me.

The OAR monastery in Bacolod City which houses nuns who willfully present themselves to get “trapped” by love and for love

This is a society where everything is fleeting and unstable, where competition is played; a world that is determined by hedonism, pleasure, minimal effort, by making life choices easy, by living in complete freedom; in which the values ​​of yore have gone into a nosedive and have been replaced by other very different ones.

It is a society where everything is done in a hurry, and the expression “I do not have time” is often heard; where we are “forced” many times to live wearing masks even if we know it, just to pretend, not to be “less” than the others.

It is a society where many times we live at a dizzying pace, and everything tends to tilt outward—empty of what is truly important, bereft of giving an option to think, to introspection—rather than to assert our very own rights because we are important persons. Does it make sense, therefore, to live in the cloister in our society today?

Personally, I do not like to define myself with this term “cloister.” I prefer to talk about contemplation. At a glance, “closed” already denotes something like: to isolate, to close oneself, to put oneself in solitary confinement, to separate oneself. If this alone is understood as “cruel” (“a ‘sangre fría’”), literally, not only does it not make sense to live as a cloistered or contemplative nun, but also – I dare to say – it is foolishness.

However, everything has a background, a meaning. Everything in life has an explanation, a why, a goal and a purpose. Everything has a beginning and a reason why it happens. It is the result of something preceding that gives its identity and style of being. Therefore, trapped, yes, but for something, for something, or better still, for Someone.

The cloister only makes sense today when it is lived as a means and not as an end. When it is assumed in freedom and for love of Someone higher than you, who loves you and who wants to take you to a particular place and away from everything else, to a solitude, in order that He will speak to your heart, (and not because the outside is considered bad, or an escape).

It is a quick, happy and generous response to the call that has been felt from the depths of one’s being. You choose the life of the cloister as a means that favors dedicating yourself completely to God so that there may be least possible disturbances in your dealing and relationship with Him.

Happily trapped — the OAR nuns listening to Fr. Dionisio Selma, OAR with smiles in their faces

It is the offering of yourself for a cause, including the offering of the place where you will develop your life. The cloister favors tranquility and peace of the spirit necessary and essential for the encounter with Love (God) who is contemplation. He is sought to be “caught”, to be “trapped” by Him, to live as close as possible and to speak to God from the heart of all the brothers and sisters who live outside the monastery, because there is another possible, different way of living—it is the one that provides peace, quietness, tranquility, knowing that there is always Someone within ourselves who dwells within us, cares for us, and pampers us; and that it is possible that we may not pay enough attention, that Someone gives true meaning to our existence and for Him we make this choice of contemplative life.

Everything has a reason and a purpose, hence, I ask myself again, I go back to raise the question: “Does it make sense to live like this?” The man and woman of today need, more than ever, those spaces of interiority to discover themselves and that possible option of a different life.

I think I have answered Guadalupe’s question. I live trapped by Love and in order to love.

Written in Spanish by: Sr. Alicia Correa Fernández, OAR
(Monasterio Santíssimo Corpus Christi – Granada, Spain)

English translation: Fray Jose Ernil Almayo, OAR

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Augustinian Recollects

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Official encoder of RecoletosFilipinas.org

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< 2020 >
July
SMTuWThFS
   1
  • All day
    July 1, 2020

     

    START OF CURSO DE PREPARACIÓN FOR SOLEMN PROFESSION OF FRAY RAMON BITANCOR III (Antipolo)

    BIRTHDAY
    Br. John Arnold Lozada (prenovice)
    Rakyla Nadine Samuel (RAY-Cavite)

    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
    (2017-2020)
    Fray Ricky John Austria
    Fray Ivan Cuison
    Fray Jhyryx Vincent Gamulo
    Fray James Erold Gatinao

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Benedicta Marco, AR

2
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    July 2, 2020

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    (2014-2020)
    +Fray Delfin Castillo

3
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    ST. THOMAS, APOSTLE

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Merriam Capellan, AR

4
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    PRAYER INTENTION: FOR VOCATIONS (cf. LAMP 5c)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    (2016-2020)
    +Fray Loreto Ceasar Dacanay
    +Sr. Martina de la Santisima Trinidad, AR

5
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    BIRTHDAY
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    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
    (1961-2020)
    Fray Emilio Larlar, Jr.

    (1981-2020)
    Fray Dionisio Selma

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Margarita de la Paz, AR

6
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    GENERAL COUNCIL MEETING
    July 6-10 / Rome

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Allan Rubett Cabatian
    Sr. Ma. Alma Alaras, AR
    Lalaine Karylle Ramos (RAY-San Carlos)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Vicenta Cutanda, AR

7
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    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Radni Caparas
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8
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    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Ma. Juliana Mandia, AR

9
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    BIRTHDAY
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    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
    (1960-2020: 60TH ANNIVERSARY)
    Fray Walthrode Conde

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    (2005-2020)
    Fray Teodulo Hayahay

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Ma. Lourdes Tinoy, AR

10
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    ANNIVERSARY OF SOLEMN PROFESSION (RELIGIOUS BROTHERS)
    (2004-2020)
    Fray Rey Tripulca
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    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1982-2020)
    Fray Leonardo Pauligue
    Fray René Paglinawan
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11
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    July 11, 2020

    RCI BOT MEETING

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Gerarda de la Riarte, AR
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    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1976-2020)
    Fray Ceferino Roberto Añez
    Fray Federico Gregorio
    Fray Lauro Larlar

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sen. Marcelo Fernan (Brother-General of the Order)
    +Sr. Trinidad de Sgdo. Corazon de Jesus, AR

12
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    July 12, 2020

    SEA SUNDAY
    “During this Sea Sunday, we are invited to become aware of the hardships and difficulties that seafarers face daily and of the valuable service provided by the Apostleship of the Sea in being Church who bears witness of the Lord’s mercy and tenderness in order to preach the Gospel in the ports of the whole world.”

    (Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People)

13
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    July 13, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
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    Elyssa Santos (RAY-Cavite)

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1975-2020)
    Fray Regino Bangcaya

14
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    July 14, 2020

    450TH ANNIVERSARY – APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION, QUO PRIMUM
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    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Griselda Gruba, AR

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1974-2020)
    Fray Dionisio Cachero

15
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    ATTENTION LOCAL PRIORS: DEADLINE TODAY OF SUBMITTING THE ONLINE ASSESSMENT SENT BY THE PRIOR GENERAL (cf. Prot. CG 100/2020)

    MEETING OF THE GENERAL FINANCIAL COUNCIL
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    (1973-2020)
    Fray Hernando Coja

16
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    49TH PATRONAL FIESTA
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    Fiesta Mass: (Time and Presider—to be communicated later)

    14TH PATRONAL FIESTA
    Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish / Inagawan, Puerto Princesa City
    Fiesta Mass: (Time and Presider—to be communicated later)

    *Special intention for those who perished in the July 16, 1990 earthquake (particularly in Baguio).

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Carmencita Indolos, AR
    Mo. Cecilia Rosa Talangpaz

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1978-2020)
    Fray Enrico Peter Silab

    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
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17
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    4TH PATRONAL FIESTA
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    BIRTHDAY
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    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Ma. Martina de San Miguel, AR
    +Sr. Martha Llanes, AR

18
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    150TH ANNIVERSARY –DECLARATION OF PAPAL INFALLIBILITY BY THE FIRST VATICAN COUNCIL (1870)

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Ma. Teresa Bautista, AR

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1965-2020)
    Fray Emilio Larlar, Jr.

    (1981-2020)
    Fray Samson Silloriquez

19
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    July 19, 2020

    PRAYER INTENTION: FOR THE SICK (cf. LAMP 5c)

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray William Cordero Jr.

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1964-2020)
    Fray Walthrode Conde

20
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    50th ANNIVERSARY OF THE FIRST HUMAN PERSON ON THE MOON (1969)

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    Fray Gaudencio Geronimo de Mesa
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    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Vicenta de San Agustin, AR

21
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    BIRTHDAY
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    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Ma. Edwin Ilagan, AR

2223
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    ENCOUNTER OF OAR PRENOVICES FOR MONTEAGUDO
    July 23-25 / Spain

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    Fray Francisco Antonio
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24
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25
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    ST. JAMES, APOSTLE

    GRADUATION CEREMONY OF ST. RITA KINDERGARTEN
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    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Jose Ernil Almayo
    Fray James Esplanada (simply prof.)
    Sr. Ma. Gorreti Cui, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Genoveva del Sgdo. Corazon de Jesus, AR

26
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    BIRTHDAY
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    Sr. Ma. Olympia Bolatete, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Prudencia de la Virgen del Pilar, AR

27
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    July 27, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Jorge Peligro
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28
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    PRAYER INTENTION: FOR THE MISSIONS (cf. LAMP 5c)

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    Sr. Ma. Irma Castrodes, AR
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    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Patrocinio Cabanlet, AR

29
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30
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    +Mo. Cecilia Rosa de Jesus Talangpaz, AR
    +Sr. Asuncion de San Jose, AR
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    +Sr. Magdalena Sabano, AR
    +Mo. Ma. Nicolasa de San Jose, AR
    +Sr. Vicenta de San Agustin, AR
    +Sr. Esmeralda Mantalaba, AR

31
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    July 31, 2020

    END OF THE CURSO DE PREPARACIÓN (Antipolo)

 

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