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life choices easy, by living in complete freedom; in which the values ​​of yore have gone into a nosedive and have been replaced by other very different ones.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

    Feast of St. Joseph the Worker / LABOR DAY
    *DAY OF THE RELIGIOUS BROTHERS
    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
    (2010-2019)
    Fray Mark Ryan Prado
2
  • All day
    May 2, 2019

    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
    (2009-2019)
    Fray Jose Prudencio Castillo
    Fray Hector Gonzales
    Fray Giovanni Gil Magbojos
    Fray Alexus Mansueto
    Fray Joseph Cyprian Panaligan
    Fray Jess Marco Sanchez
    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Margarita Ponce, AR
3
  • All day
    May 3, 2019

    CLOSING OF THE MEETING OF VOCATION PROMOTERS OF THE  ORDER IN COSTA RICA
    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Roland Cepe
    Fray Invenzor Melgazo
    Sr. Myrna Gimena, AR
    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Ma. Felicitas Lucinario, AR
4
  • All day
    May 4, 2019

    PRAYER INTENTION: FOR VOCATIONS (cf. LAMP 5c)
    ADMISSION TO THE MINISTRY OF LECTORATE (6 coristas) AND ACOLYTATE (10 coristas)
    Recoletos Formation Center
    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
    (1991-2019)
    Fray Sixto Bitangjol
    Fray Reynaldo Jaranilla
    Fray Antonio Zabala, Jr.
    (2008-2019)
    Fray Jose Teodulfo Jadulco
    Fray Ken Oliver Lao
5
  • All day
    May 5, 2019

    APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO BULGARI& NORTH MACEDONIA
    May 5-7, 2019
    DAY 1: Rome Sofia
    07:00 Departure by air from Rome-Fiumicino International Airport from Sofia
    10:00 Arrival at Sofia International Airport
    OFFICIAL WELCOME
    MEETING WITH THE PRIME MINISTER in the Governmental Lounge of the Airport
    WELCOME CEREMONY in the square adjacent to the Presidential Palace
    COURTESY VISIT TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC in the Presidential Palace
    MEETING with the AUTHORITIES, with CIVIL SOCIETY and the DIPLOMATIC CORPS in Atanas Burov Square
    VISIT TO THE PATRIARCH AND TO THE HOLY SYNOD in the Palace of the Holy Synod
    PRIVATE PRAYER BEFORE THE THRONE OF SAINTS CYRIL AND METHODIUS in the Patriarchal Cathedral of Saint Alexander Nevsky
    REGINA COELI in Saint Alexander Nevsky Square
    16:45 HOLY MASS in Knyaz Alexandar SquareI
    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Araceli de Vera, AR
6
  • All day
    May 6, 2019

    APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO BULGARIA & NORTH MACEDONIA
    DAY 2: Sofia-Rakovsky-Sofia
    09:30 Departure by air from Rakovsky
    HOLY MASS WITH FIRST COMMUNIONS in the Church of thSacred Heart of Rakovsky
    Lunch with the bishops of Bulgaria in the Convent of thFranciscan Sisters
    MEETING WITH THE CATHOLIC COMMUNITY in the Church of Saint Michael Archangel in Rakovsky
    17:15
    Departure by air for Sofia
    PRAYER FOR PEACE PRESIDED AT BY THE HOLFATHER IN THE PRESENCE OF LEADERS OF THE VARIOUS RELIGIOUS CONFESSIONS IN BULGARIA in  Nezavisimost Square in Sofia
7
  • All day
    May 7, 2019

    APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO BULGARIA & NORTH MACEDONIA
    DAY 3: Sofia-Skopje-Rome
    08:20 Departure by air from Sofia Airport for Skopje
    08:1Arrival at Skopje International Airport
    OFFICIAL WELCOME
    WELCOME CEREMONY in the courtyard of the PresidentiaPalace
    COURTESY VISIT TO THE PRESIDENT in the PresidentiaPalace
    MEETING with the PRIME MINISTER in the PresidentiaPalace
    MEETING with the AUTHORITIES, with CIVIL SOCIETand with the DIPLOMATIC CORPS in the Mosaique Hall of the Presidential Palace
    VISIT TO THE MOTHER TERESA MEMORIAL WITTHE PRESENCE OF RELIGIOUS LEADERS AND MEETING WITH THE POOR
    HOLY MASS in Macedonia Square
    Lunch with the Papal Entourage
    ECUMENICAL AND INTERRELIGIOUS MEETING WITYOUNG PEOPLE in the Pastoral Centre
    MEETING WITH PRIESTS, THEIR FAMILIES, AND RELIGIOUS in the Cathedral
    FAREWELL CEREMONY at Skopje International Airport
    18:3Departure of Papal aircraft for RomeCiampino
    20:3Arrival at RomaCiampino International Airport
    WORLD DAY OF PRAYER FOR VOCATIONS (cf. Message of Pope Francis: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/messages/vocations/documents/papa
    francesco_20190131_56messaggiogiornatamondialevocazioni.html)
    MEETING OF THE PROVINCIAL SECRETARIES WITH THE GENERAL SECRETARY
    May 7-9, 2019 / Rome
    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Leopoldo Estioko
8
  • All day
    May 8, 2019

    50TANNIVERSARY OF THE ESTABLISHMEN OF THE SACRED CONGREGATION FOR THE CAUSES OF SAINTS (1969)
    EPISCOPAL ORDINATION OF BISHOP-ELECT FIDELIS BAUTISTA LAYOG, D.D. (Auxiliary Bishop of Lingayen-Dagupan)
    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Dionisio Cachero
    Most Rev. Reynaldo Evangelista, D.D. (Diocese of Imus)
910
  • All day
    May 10, 2019

    RedCEAR MEETING (Coordinating Team and Technical Team)
    May 10-12, 2019 / Costa Rica
    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Ma. Elisa Cañete, AR
11
  • All day
    May 11, 2019

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Ma. Restituta Torres, AR
12
  • All day
    May 12, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Joseph Granada
    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
    (2007-2019)
    Fray James Castelo
    Fray Ralph Laureen Ciceron
    Fray Invenzor Melgazo
    Fray Nestor Raras
    Fray Felipe Rollon, Jr.
    Fray Rellyric Delos Santos
    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Eduviges de la Virgen del Carmen, AR
    Sr. Amanda de la Virgen del Carmen, AR
    Sr. Paz Reandelar, AR
13
  • All day
    May 13, 2019

    GENERAL COUNCIL MEETING
    May 13-16, 2019 / Rome
    PHILIPPINE GENERAL ELECTION (MIDTERM)
    BIRTHDAY
    Archbp. Peter Liu Cheng-chung, D.D.
    (Archdiocese of Kaohsiung)
    Fray Jayferson Baldelovar
    Sr. Ma. Gracelda Bendoval, AR
    Sr. Loraine Lechago, OAR (Bacolod Monastery)
14
  • All day
    May 14, 2019

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Nicolasa del Espiritu Santo, AR
    Sr. Escolastica Calsado, AR
    Sr. Natalia Paunil, AR
    Mo. Ma. Bibiana Vendiola, AR
15
  • All day
    May 15, 2019

    PATRONAL FIESTA SAN ISIDRO LABRADOR PARISH, CASIAN ISLAND, TAYTAY, PALAWAN
    Fiesta Mass: 10:00 AM
    Mass Presider & Homilist: Fr. Rey Aguanta (Administrator, Apostolic Vicariate of Taytay)
    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Gertrudes del Espiritu Santo, AR
16
  • All day
    May 16, 2019

    10TFOUNDING ANNIVERSARY OF RECOLETOS DE CASIAN COMMUNITY & SAN ISIDRO LABRADOR PARISH, CASIAN ISLAND, TAYTAY, PALAWAN (2009-2019)
    EPISCOPAL ORDINATION OF BISHOP-ELECT ALEJANDRO ACLAN, D.D. (Auxiliary Bishop-elect of Los Angeles, CA, USA / a Filipino)
    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Carmelo Borces
    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Ma. Gracia Pil, AR
17
  • All day
    May 17, 2019

    MEETING ON DISCERNMENT (FROM RAY TO SARF)
    May 17-19, 2019 / Mexico
    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Lucina Cabili, AR
18
  • All day
    May 18, 2019

    KUMPILAN NG BAYAN AT OUR LADY OF PEACE AND GOOD VOYAGE PARISH, TONDO
    Time: 1:30 PM
    Officiating Minister: Most. Rev. Broderick Pabillo, D.D.
    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Prudencia Martinez, AR
19
  • All day
    May 19, 2019

    PRAYER INTENTION: FOR THE SICK (cf. LAMP 5c)
    FIESTA OF THE OUR LADY OF PEACE AND GOOD VOYAGE PARISH, TONDO
    Fiesta Mass: 9:00 AM
    Presider & Homilist: Msgr. Jose Clemente Ignacio (Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Manila)
    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Ma. Cecilia Bongcawel, AR
    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Paula de la Purisima Concepcion, AR
20
  • All day
    May 20, 2019

    ORDERWIDE MEETING OF THE NATIONAL PRESIDENTOF THE SARF
    May 20-24, 2019 / Cuernavaca, Mexico
    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Don Besana
    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Dolores Cañete, AR
21
  • All day
    May 21, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Victoria Sandiego, AR
    Sr. Sulpicia Geronimo, AR
    Sr. Cynthia Camuta, AR
    Sr. Maria Flor Mejarito, AR
22
  • All day
    May 22, 2019

    FEAST OF ST. RITA OF CASCIA
    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Ma. Emy Catalonia, OAR (Bacolod Monastery)
    Sr. Ma. Quiteria Ragundiaz, OAR (Bacolod Monastery)
23
  • All day
    May 23, 2019

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Caridad Salazar, AR
24
  • All day
    May 24, 2019

    DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE CHURCH IN CHINA
    EPISCOPAL ORDINATION OF BISHOP-ELECT LEO MAGDUGO DALMAO, CMF, D.D. (Prelature of Isabela, Basilan)
    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Justina de Leon, AR
    Sr. Vicenta Climacosa, AR
    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
    [1986-2019]
    Fray Eduardo Celiz, Jr.
    Fray Joel Naranja
    Fray Emilio Edgardo Quilatan
25
  • All day
    May 25, 2019

    FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY OF THE RECOLETOS DE BACOLOD COMMUNITY (1962-2019)
    FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY OF THE RECOLETOS DE MIRANILA COMMUNITY (1985-2019)
    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Rey Tripulca
    Sr. Ma. Nicholasa Sabado, AR
    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Ma. Auxiliadora Somosot, AR
26
  • All day
    May 26, 2019

    PATRONAL FIESTA OF OUR LADY OF THE VISITATION PARISH
    (Pasibi East, Urbiztondo, Pangasinan)
    Fiesta Mass: 9:00 A.M.
    Presider & Homilist: Most Rev. Fidelis B. Layog (Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan)
    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Avelina Tatel, AR
    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Angustias Librea, AR
27
  • All day
    May 27, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Alfreda Lobitaña, AR
28
  • All day
    May 28, 2019

    DAY OF PRAYER FOR THE SANCTIFICATION OF PRIESTS
    WORLD DAY OF HUNGER (cf. LAMP 52)
    PRAYER INTENTION: FOR THE MISSIONS (cf. LAMP 5c)
    BIRTHDAY
    Most Rev. Emilio Marquez, D.D. (Diocese of Lucena)
    Sr. Emilia Buenaseda, AR
    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Ma. Carmen Bolaños, AR
29
  • All day
    May 29, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Salome Paderogo, AR
    Sr. Ma. Leontina Corona Mira, AR
30
  • All day
    May 30, 2019

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Cristituto Rey Tepace [simple prof.]
    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    Sr. Teresita Salada, AR
31
  • All day
    May 31, 2019

    FEAST OF THE VISITATION OF THBLESSED VIRGIN MARY
    APOSTOLIC JOURNEY TO ROMANIA
    (May 31-June 2, 2019)
    Day 1: Rome-Bucharest
    8:10 -DEPARTURE by air from Rome-Fiumicino Airport for Bucharest
    11:30 -ARRIVAL at Henri CoandăOtopeni International Airport in Bucharest
    -OFFICIAL WELCOME at the airport
    -WELCOME CEREMONY at the entrance of the complex of the Cotroceni Presidential Palace
    -COURTESY VISIT TO THE PRESIDENT OF ROMANIA in the Cotroceni Presidential Palace
    -MEETING WITH THE PRIME MINISTER in the Cotroceni Presidential Palace
    13:00MEETING with the AUTHORITIES, with CIVIL SOCIETY and with the DIPLOMATIC CORPS in Cotroceni Palace
    15:45PRIVATE MEETING WITH THE PATRIARCH in the Palace of the Patriarchate
    -MEETING WITH THE PERMANENT SYNOD OF THE ROMANIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH in the Palace of the Patriarchate
    THE LORD’S PRAYER in the new Orthodox Cathedral
    -HOLY MASS in the Catholic Saint Joseph Cathedral
 

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