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life choices easy, by living in complete freedom; in which the values ​​of yore have gone into a nosedive and have been replaced by other very different ones.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

    PRIOR GENERAL’S VISIT TO THE BISHOP OF TANDAG

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Lourdes Tablizo
    Sr. Constancia Buchan

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Ma. Teresa de Jesus

2
  • All day
    March 2, 2019

    RENEWAL VISIT TO RECOLETOS DE HINATUAN

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Charina Mae Ogario, AR

3
  • All day
    March 3, 2019

    22nd ANNIVERSARY OF THE PROVINCE’S PRENOVITIATE PROGRAM

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Emeterio Buñao
    Fray Andrie Pugate [deacon]
    Sr. Felisa Ampasin, AR
    Sr. Josephine Facinabao, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Teodora de la Natividad

4
  • All day
    March 4, 2019

    RENEWAL VISIT TO RECOLETOS DE MANILA

    • AM: LUZON CLUSTER ASSEMBLY WITH FR. CARRÓN
      San Sebastian College-Recoletos, Manila
    • PM: FORMATORS’ ASSEMBLY WITH PRIOR GENERAL
      Venue: Recoletos de Manila Convent / Time: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

    3rd RECOLETOS INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH CONGRESS
    March 4-6, 2019 / USJ-R Bask Campus, Cebu City
    Theme: “Multidisciplinary Research towards Sustainable Development”

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Ma. Celina Magcauas, AR

56
  • All day
    March 6, 2019

    ASH WEDNESDAY

    RENEWAL VISIT TO RECOLETOS DE TONDO

    RENEWAL VISIT TO RECOLETOS DE CAVITE

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Randolph Castulo Castillo, Jr.
    Sr. Rosalia Aparece, AR
    Sr. Ma. Corazon Caberte, AR
    Sr. Ridelia Tinga, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Josefina Rodriguez, AR

78
  • All day
    March 8, 2019

    14th PROVINCIAL COUNCIL MEETING

    RENEWAL VISIT TO RECOLETOS DE MIRANILA

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Ma. Rita de la Cruz, AR
    Sr. Ma. Guadalupe Siroy, AR
    Sr. Maria Natalia Oliver, AR

9
  • All day
    March 9, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Loreto Manigos, AR
    Sr. Merlyn Pelarion, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Faustina Almanza Nirza, AR

10
  • All day
    March 10, 2019

    BLESSING OF THE PILGRIM CENTER OF OUR LADY OF PEACE AND GOOD VOYAGE PARISH – Tondo, Manila
    Officiating Minister: Most Rev. Broderick Pabillo, D.D., Auxiliary Bishop of Manila

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Kenneth Pahamutang
    Fray Maximillian Ifeanyichukwu Omem [deacon]

11
  • All day
    March 11, 2019

    RENEWAL VISIT TO RECOLETOS DE ANTIPOLO

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Briggitte Parba, AR
    Sr. Maria Jasmin Lumanog, AR

12
  • All day
    March 12, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Marisa Bernasor, AR
    Mo. Dionisia Talangapaz+ (Foundress of the AR Sisters)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Inocencia Beringuel, AR

13
  • All day
    March 13, 2019

    RENEWAL VISIT TO RECOLETOS DE BAGUIO

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Ma. Digna Araña, AR
    Sr. Ma. Nicelina Rodriguez, AR

    6TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ELECTION OF POPE FRANCIS (2013-2019)

14
  • All day
    March 14, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Most Rev. Patricio Buzon, SDB, DD (Diocese of Bacolod)
    Sr. Ma. Clara Flores, AR

15
  • All day
    March 15, 2019

    RENEWAL VISIT TO RECOLETOS DE PANGASINAN

    BLESSING OF THE RENOVATED WINGS OF THE PARISH CHURCH – Our Lady of the Visitation, Urbiztondo

    TO ALL RELIGIOUS: DEADLINE TO SUBMIT ONLINE SURVEY BY THE GENERAL COMMISSION ON COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLICATIONS (cf. Prot. CG 18/2019)

    EPISCOPAL ORDINATION OF BISHOP-ELECT REX ANDREW CLEMENT ALARCON OF DAET (CAMARINES NORTE)

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Lauro Larlar
    Fray Giovanni Gil Magbojos
    Sr. Rosielyn Hijastro, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Visitacion B. Visitacion, AR

16
  • All day
    March 16, 2019

    RENEWAL VISIT TO RECOLETOS DE PROVINCIALATE

17
  • All day
    March 17, 2019

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Trinidad de la Purisima Concepcion
    Sr. Ma. Jesus Lastimado, AR

18
  • All day
    March 18, 2019

    RENEWAL VISIT TO RECOLETOS DE TAIWAN

19
  • All day
    March 19, 2019

    6TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE INSTALLATION OF POPE FRANCIS (2013-2019)

    62nd PARISH FIESTA of St. Joseph Parish,
    Xiaogang, Kaohsiung (Taiwan)

    BIRTHDAY
    Archbp. Jose Palma, D.D. (Archbishop of Cebu)

    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION (1999-2019)
    Sr. Shirley Nonato, OAR (Bacolod Monastery)

20
  • All day
    March 20, 2019

    INSTALLATION OF BISHOP REX ANDREW CLEMENT ALARCON OF DAET (CAMARINES NORTE)

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Roweno Eugenio Hamo

21
  • All day
    March 21, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Mark Rochelle Renacia

22
  • All day
    March 22, 2019

    RENEWAL VISIT TO RECOLETOS DE SAIPAN

23
  • All day
    March 23, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Teodulo Hayahay

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Cecilia Salgado, AR

24
  • All day
    March 24, 2019

    EARTH HOUR (cf. LAMP 52)

    PRIOR GENERAL’S SPECIAL SESSION WITH THE PROVINCIAL COUNCIL

    DESPEDIDA FOR FATHER GENERAL

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Christopher Gaspar
    Sr. Esmeralda Mantalaba, AR

25
  • All day
    March 25, 2019

    PRIOR GENERAL’S RETURN TO ROME

    INSTALLATION OF BISHOP RONALD IGNACIO LUNAS OF PAGADIAN

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Purificacion del Espiritu Santo
    Sr. Magdalena Salgado, AR

26
  • All day
    March 26, 2019

    GENERAL COUNCIL MEETING IN ROME
    March 26-28, 2019

2728
  • All day
    March 28, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Agustina Santos, AR
    Sr. Dorothy Aguila, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Gregoria de San Jose

29
  • All day
    March 29, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Kimberly Ragodos, AR

    PRESBYTERAL ANNIVERSARY (2008-2018)
    Fray William Cordero
    Fray Roderick Deguit

30
  • All day
    March 30, 2019

    APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO MOROCCO

    • DAY 1: ROME – RABAT
      10:45 Departure by air from Rome-Fiumicino Airport for Rabat
      14:00 Arrival at Rabat-Salé International Airport / official welcome
    • WELCOME CEREMONY in the square in front of the Royal Palace
    • COURTESY VISIT TO KING MOHAMMED VI in the Royal Palace
    • MEETING with the MOROCCAN PEOPLE, the AUTHORITIES, with CIVIL SOCIETY and with the DIPLOMATIC CORPS on the Esplanade of the Mosquée Hassan
      Address of the Holy Father
    • VISIT TO THE MAUSOLEUM OF MOHAMMED V
    • VISIT TO THE MOHAMMED VI INSTITUTE FOR THE TRAINING OF IMAMS, MORCHIDINES AND MORCHIDATES
      Greeting of the Holy Father
    • MEETING WITH MIGRANTS at the premises of diocesan Caritas
      Greeting of the Holy Father

    BIRTHDAY
    Mo. Maxima Pelaez, AR
    Fray Jose Enrico Gallego, AR [simple prof]

31
  • All day
    March 31, 2019

    APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO MOROCCO

    • DAY 2: RABAT – ROME
      VISIT TO THE CENTRE RURAL DES SERVICES SOCIAUX of Témara
    • MEETING WITH PRIESTS, RELIGIOUS, CONSECRATED PERSONS and the ECUMENICAL COUNCIL OF CHURCHES in the Cathedral of Rabat
      Address of the Holy Father
      Angelus of the Holy Father
    • Lunch with the Papal Entourage
    • HOLY MASS
    • FAREWELL CEREMONY at Rabat-Salé International Airport

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Anastacia Fangon, AR

      

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