Trapped by Love?

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life choices easy, by living in complete freedom; in which the values ​​of yore have gone into a nosedive and have been replaced by other very different ones.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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< 2019 >
January
SMTuWThFS
  1
  • All day
    January 1, 2019

    SOLEMNITY OF THE THEOTOKOS

    WORLD DAY OF PEACE

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Celerina Hifarva, AR
    Sr. Cristita Cha, AR

23
  • All day
    January 3, 2019

    HOMETOWN THANKSGIVING MASS OF FRAY NIEL RYAN JARUMAY, OAR
    St. Joseph Parish / Canlaon City, Negros Oriental
    9:00 A.M.

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Gregoria Ibarra, AR
    Sr. Ma. Bella Mojica, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Clemencia Ranin, AR

4
  • All day
    January 4, 2019

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Regina Cadiz, AR
    Sr. Adelaida Elli, AR

5
  • All day
    January 5, 2019

    HOMETOWN THANKSGIVING MASS OF FRAY ELPEDIO SARITA, JR., OAR
    St. Ezekiel Moreno Quasi Parish/ Caidiocan, Valencia, Negros Oriental
    9:30 A.M.

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Leonarda Muncada, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Ma. Cleofe Claro, AR

6
  • All day
    January 6, 2019

    EPIPHANY OF THE LORD

    PROVINCIAL COUNCIL MEETING
    Venue: Provincial House / 2:00 P.M.

    PROVINCE-WIDE CHRISTMAS PARTY
    Venue: Provincial House / 6:00 P.M.

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Juana de la Merced, AR

78
  • All day
    January 8, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Ian Anthony Espartero
    Sr. Leticia Cerdeño, AR
    Fray Jay- Jasper Jamelo (simple prof)

    ANNIVERSARY OF EPISCOPAL ORDINATION
    (2002-2019)
    Most Rev. Julito Cortes, D.D. (Diocese of Dumaguete)

9
  • All day
    January 9, 2019

    FEAST OF THE BLACK NAZARENE

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Rosario Bianes, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Dominga Gargarita, AR

10
  • All day
    January 10, 2019

    ANNIVERSARY OF EPISCOPAL ORDINATION
    Most Rev. Victor Bendico (Diocese of Baguio)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Paulina de la Purisima Corazon de Maria, AR
    Sr. Ma. Luz Asuncion Nitura, AR

11
  • All day
    January 11, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Catalina Ruiz, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Ma. Zita Lloren, AR

12
  • All day
    January 12, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Reynaldo Jaranilla

13
  • All day
    January 13, 2019

    BAPTISM OF THE LORD

    ANNIVERSARY OF EPISCOPAL ORDINATION
    (1998-2019)
    Archbp. Jose Palma, D.D. (Archdiocese of Cebu)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Mo. Rosario Rosales, AR

14
  • All day
    January 14, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Emilia Madrigal, AR

15
  • All day
    January 15, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Anthony Irineo
    Sr. Ma. Marcela de la Cruz, AR

16
  • All day
    January 16, 2019

    COMMEMORATION OF THE DEAD RELATIVES OF THE MEMBERS OF THE ORDER

    SSC-R MANILAs FOUNDATION CELEBRATIONS
    Inclusive dates: January 16-19, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Mo. Maria del Carmen, OAR (Bacolod) Sr. Zerah Cordero, AR

17
  • All day
    January 17, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Corvin Maturan

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Fray Cipriano Zubiri (1998-2019)
    Sr. Celedonia de la Santissima Trinidad, AR Sr. Cesaria Barbarona, AR

18
  • All day
    January 18, 2019

    WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY
    Inclusive Dates: January 18-25, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Joseph Dexter Palagtiosa

19
  • All day
    January 19, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Cleofe Maria Agua, AR

20
  • All day
    January 20, 2019

    FEAST OF THE STO. NIÑO

    FEAST OF ST. SEBASTIAN (MANILA & CAVITE COMMUNITIES, DIOCESE OF BACOLOD)

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Adelina Reyes, AR

21
  • All day
    January 21, 2019

    BIRTHDAY

    Fray Urbano Galanido, Jr.
    Fray Jerome Virtudazo

22
  • All day
    January 22, 2019

    WORLD YOUTH DAY IN PANAMA

    Inclusive Dates: January 22-27, 2019 Theme: “I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” (Lk. 1:38)

    BIRTHDAY
    Most Rev. Victor Bendico, DD (Bishop of Baguio)

23
  • All day
    January 23, 2019

    APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO PANAMA

    Inclusive Dates: January 23-27, 2019

    DAY 1 – ROME-PANAMA

    9:35

    Departure by air from Rome/Fiumicino for Panama

    16:30

    Arrival at Tocumen International Airport in Panama

    Official welcome

    16:50

    Transfer to the Apostolic Nunciature

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Gertrudis del Pilar, AR
    Sr. Cresencia Vailoces, AR

24
  • All day
    January 24, 2019

    60th ANNIVERSARY (1959-2019) of the PROCLAMATION OF THE SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL
    DAY 2 – PAPAL VISIT TO PANAMA

    9:45

    Welcome ceremony at the main entrance of Palacio de las Garzas – Presidency of the Republic

    Courtesy visit to the President of the Republic in Palacio de las Garzas – Presidency of the Republic

    10:40

    Meeting with the Authorities, with the Diplomatic Corps and with Representatives of Society in Palacio Bolivar– Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    11:15

    Meeting with central american Bishops in the Church of San Francisco de Asis

    17:30

    Welcome ceremony and opening of WYD at Campo Santa Maria la Antigua – Cinta Costera

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Ma. Paz Bawagan, AR
    Sr. Faith Niña Fuertes, AR

25
  • All day
    January 25, 2019

    SOLEMNITY OF THE CONVERSION OF ST. PAUL
    DAY 3 – PAPAL VISIT TO PANAMA

    10:30

    Penitential liturgy with young detainees in the Centro de Cumplimiento de Menores Las Garzas de Pacora

    11:50

    Transfer by helicopter to the Apostolic Nunciature

    17:30

    Via Crucis with young people at Campo Santa Maria la Antigua – Cinta Costera

    ANNIVERSARY OF EPISCOPAL ORDINATION
    (1983-2019)
    Most Rev. Antonio Tobias, D.D. (Diocese of Novaliches)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Ma. Lucia Sagmit, AR

26
  • All day
    January 26, 2019

    DAY 4 – PAPAL VISIT TO PANAMA

    9:15

    Holy Mass with the dedication of the altar of the Cathedral Basilica of Santa Maria la Antigua with priests, consecrated persons and lay movements

    12:15

    Lunch with young people in the San José Major Seminary

    18:30

    Vigil with young people at Campo San Juan Pablo II – Metro Park

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Cristopher Maspara

    ANNIVERSARY OF EPISCOPAL ORDINATION
    (2005-2019)
    Most Rev. Reynaldo Evangelista, D.D. (Diocese of Imus)

27
  • All day
    January 27, 2019

    66th WORLD LEPROSY DAY
    DAY 5 – PANAMA-ROME

    8:00

    Holy Mass for World Youth Day at Campo San Juan Pablo II – Metro Park

    10:45

    Visit to the Casa Hogar del Buen Samaritano

    Angelus

    16:30

    Meeting with the WYD volunteers in the Rommel Fernandez Stadium

    18:00

    Farewell ceremony at Panama International Airport

    18:15

    Departure by air for Rome

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Marilyn Cula, AR
    Sr. Remilyn Leonido, AR

28
  • All day
    January 28, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Louie Gabinete

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Fernanda del Pilar
    Sr. Ines Garcia, AR

29
  • All day
    January 29, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Francisca Rojas, AR

30
  • All day
    January 30, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Jonathan Caballero
    Sr. Angelica Fuentes, AR
    Sr. Pascualina Peral, AR

31
  • All day
    January 31, 2019

    INSTALLATION OF ARCHBP. ANGELITO R. LAMPON, OMI, D.D.
    Archbishop of Cotabato

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Josephine Ativo, AR

  

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