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life choices easy, by living in complete freedom; in which the values ​​of yore have gone into a nosedive and have been replaced by other very different ones.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 31 - April 06
  • 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

  • 01

    All day
    April 1, 2019

    MEETING OF THE PRIOR GENERAL WITH THE PRIORS PROVINCIAL
    April 1-5, 2019 / Rome

    RECOGNITION DAY (GRADE SCHOOL) – USJ-R, CEBU
    08:00 AM

  • 02

    All day
    April 2, 2019

    ORDINATION OF BISHOP-ELECT MARVYN MACEDA
    (Diocese of San Jose, Antique)

    BACCALAUREATE MASS (GRADE SCHOOL) – USJ-R, CEBU
    08:00 AM

    GRADUATION RITES (GRADE SCHOOL) – USJ-R, CEBU
    10:00 AM

  • 03

    All day
    April 3, 2019

    RECOGNITION DAY (COLLEGE) – SSC-R CAVITE
    9:00 AM

    THANKSGIVING MASS – CSNT-R, TALISAY

    SILVER ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1994-2019)
    Fray Cirilo Andan
    Thanksgiving Mass
    10:00AM / Our Lady of Lourdes Quasi Parish, Tambo,
    Ayungon, Negros Oriental

    INSTALLATION OF BP. OSCAR JAIME FLORENCIO, D.D.
    (Military Ordinariate of the Philippines)

    ANNIVERSARY OF EPISCOPAL ORDINATION (1981-2019)
    Most Rev. Gabriel Reyes, D.D. (Diocese of Antipolo)

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Fray Melquiades Modequillo
    Sr. Ma. Mercedes de los Sgdos Corazones
    Sr. Aurelia Cagang, AR

  • 04

    All day
    April 4, 2019

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

    RECOGNITION RITES (GRADE SCHOOL AND HS) – CSNT-R, TALISAY

    KINDER MOVING-UP CEREMONY – SSC-R CAÑACAO CAMPUS
    9:00 AM / Auditorium

    GRADE 6 GRADUATION RITES – SSC-R CAÑACAO CAMPUS
    4:00 PM / Auditorium

    BACCALAUREATE MASS (GRADE SCHOOL) – SSC-R, MANILA
    9:00 AM / San Sebastian Basilica

    RECOGNITION DAY – USJ-R, CEBU
    Grade 11 – 08:00 AM
    Grade 12 – 01:00 PM

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Maria del Sgdo. Corazon de Jesus

  • 05

    All day
    April 5, 2019

    PATRONAL FIESTA of the Diocesan Shrine of San Vicente Ferrer
    Talisay City, Negros Occidental

    CLOSING OF THE 6TH CENTENARY (1419-2019) OF THE DEATH OF SAN VICENTE FERRER
    10:00AM –Fiesta Mass Presider & Homilist: Most Rev. Vicente Navarra, D.D. (Bishop Emeritus)
    3:00PM – Palapak Festival at the SNTP Grounds

    PATRONAL FIESTA of the San Vicente Ferrer Chaplaincy in Apo Island, Dauin, Negros Oriental
    9:30AM –Mass Presider & Homilist:Rev. Fr. Carmelito Limbaga, Jr. (Chancellor, Diocese of Dumaguete)

    GRADE 10 MOVING-UP CEREMONY – SSC-R CAÑACAO CAMPUS
    10:00AM/ Auditorium

    THANKSGIVING MASS – USJ-R, CEBU
    8:00 AM

    GRADUATION RITES (GRADE SCHOOL) – SSC-R, MANILA
    2:00 PM

    MOVING-UP CEREMONY – SSC-R, MANILA 8:00AM/ Auditorium

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Vincent Cadeliña

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1997-2019)
    Fray Ferdinand Fornilos
    Fray Julius Marcos
    Fray Cristopher Maspara
    Fray Corvin Maturan
    Fray Vicente Ramon, Jr.
    Fray Anthony Morillo

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Toribia de la Virgen de la Paz
    Sr. Ma. Cristina Verzosa, AR
    Sr. Ma. Resurreccion Jayme, AR

  • 06

    All day
    April 6, 2019

    GRADUATION RITES (COLLEGE, GRADUATE SCHOOL, COLLEGE OF LAW) – UNO-R, BACOLOD

    MOVING UP CEREMONY AND GRADUATION RITES (GRADE SCHOOL AND SHS) – CSNT-R, TALISAY

    COMMENCEMENT EXERCISES – USJ-R, CEBU
    ABM, HUMSS, TVL – 08:00 AM / STEM – 01:00 PM

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