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life choices easy, by living in complete freedom; in which the values ​​of yore have gone into a nosedive and have been replaced by other very different ones.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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< 2020 >
August
SMTuWThFS
      1
  • All day
    August 1, 2020

    BUWAN NG WIKA STARTS

    PARISH FIESTA (31ST FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY) OF OLCP-R, LARAY, TALISAY CITY, CEBU
    5:00 p.m. / Presider & Homilist Archbp. Jose Palma, D.D.

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Gideon Antolin Lagrimas

2
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    August 2, 2020

    ST. JOHN MARIE VIANNEY SUNDAY

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Amada de Ramos, AR

3
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    RST: START OF ENROLMENT

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Jay Parilla
    Sr. Felma Elbanbuena, AR
    Carlos Benedict Rizaga (RAY-Balamban)

4
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    August 4, 2020

    PRAYER INTENTION: FOR OAR VOCATION (cf. LAMP II, 5c)

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Eduardo Celiz, Jr.
    Most Rev. Gerardo Alminaza, D.D. (Diocese of San Carlos)
    Sr. Felisa Costonera, AR
    Sr. Eleuteria Lao, AR
    Sr. Yvette Galabo, AR

    ANNIVERSARY OF EPISCOPAL ORDINATION
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    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Zenaida Ty, AR

5
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    BIRTHDAY

    Fray Mark Ryan Prado

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    (2007-2020)
    +Fray Oscar de la Rosa

6
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    TRANSFIGURATION OF THE LORD

    CHARTER DAY OF CEBU PROVINCE

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    +Sr. Consuelo de San Agustin, AR

7
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    BIRTHDAY
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    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Concepcion Balin, AR

8
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    DEATH ANNIVERSARY:
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9
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    WORLD DAY OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES (cf. LAMP 52)

    BIRTHDAY
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10
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    START OF NOVENA TO ST. EZEKIEL MORENO

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    Daniela Barong (RAY-Tambo)

1112
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    3RD ANNIVERSARY OF THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE QUASI PARISH OF N.S. DEL CARMEN IN HINATUAN, SURIGAO DEL SUR

    REPORTING OF “OLDPHYTE” SEMINARIANS IN CARES, BAGUIO

1314
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    REPORTING OF “NEOPHYTE” SEMINARIANS IN CARES, BAGUIO

15
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    August 15, 2020

    SOLEMNITY OF THE ASSUMPTION OF MARY

    ANNIVERSARY OF SOLEMN PROFESSION
    Mo. Ma. del Carmen, OAR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Mamerta de San Agustin AR

16
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    August 16, 2020

    PATRONAL FIESTA OF SAN ROQUE PARISH
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    Time: 9:00 A.M. (Saipan Time) Presider: Most Rev. Ryan Jimenez, D.D.

    PATRONAL FIESTA MASS @ St. Ezekiel Moreno Church,
    Fanhua, Zhangzhi Township, Pingtung County (Diocese of Kaohsiung), Taiwan Time: 10:00 A.M.
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    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
    (1980-2020)
    Fray Constantino Real

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Ma. Adoracion Bonto, AR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Tomasa de San Jose, AR
    +Sr. Ma. Leonila Pesado, AR

17
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    ST. CLARE OF MONTEFALCO

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Mashyll Entac, AR

18
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    August 18, 2020

    ANNIVERSARY OF SOLEMN PROFESSION OF A RELIGIOUS BROTHER
    (2001-2020)
    Fray Raymund Alcedo

19
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    August 19, 2020

    PRAYER INTENTION: FOR THE SICK (cf. LAMP II, 5c) SOLEMNITY OF ST. EZEKIEL MORENO
    Be reminded of the plenary indulgence we may obtain today!

    PATRONAL FIESTA MASS OF THE ST. EZEKIEL MORENO QUASI- PARISH, CAIDIOCAN, VALENCIA, NEGROS ORIENTAL
    Time: 10:00 A.M.
    Presider: Fray Jay Parilla

    PATRONAL FIESTA MASS @ St. Ezekiel Moreno Monastery
    25TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BLESSING AND INAUGURATION OF THE CHAPEL AND MONASTERY (Bacolod City)
    Time: 8:00 A.M.
    Presider: Most Rev. Vicente Navarra, D.D.

    FIESTA MASS IN HONOR OF ST. EZEKIEL MORENO
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    PATRONAL FIESTA MASS @ SNTP Church (Quezon City) Time: 6:00 P.M.
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    2ND ANNIVERSARY OF THE ESTABLISHMENT OF RECOLETOS DE BALAMBAN COMMUNITY

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    QUEZON CITY DAY

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    (2002-2020)
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    Fray Jerome Virtudazo

    (2007-2020)
    Fray Ian Anthony Espartero
    Fray Allan Jacinto

    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
    Sr. Ma. Quiteria Ragundiaz, OAR

20
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21
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    ST. POPE PIUS X

    NINOY AQUINO DAY

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    Archbp. Jose Palma, D.D. (Archdiocese of Cebu)

22
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    August 22, 2020

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Leander Barrot Fray
    Paul Demillones

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Fray Lino Agunod (2007-2020)
    +Sr. Ma. Fe Luna, AR
    +Sr. Matilde del Rosario, AR

23
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    PATRONAL FIESTA OF ST. AUGUSTINE PARISH
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    BIRTHDAY
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24
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    August 24, 2020

    EPISCOPAL ORDINATION OF AUXILIARY BISHOP-ELECT MOISES CUEVAS (Diocese of Zamboanga)

    START OF REGULAR CLASSES IN RECOLETOS SCHOOLS

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    (1963-2020)
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    Fray Dunstan Hubert Decena

25
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    BIRTHDAY
    Angelika Perez (RAY-Urbiztondo)

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1991-2020)
    Fray Eduardo Celiz, Jr.
    Fray Carmelo Borces
    Fray Leopoldo Estioko
    Fray Gaudencio Geronimo de Mesa
    Fray Nemesio Tolentin

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Veronica de los Santos, AR
    +Sr. Andrea Cabunilas, AR

26
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    PATRONAL FIESTA OF THE ST. AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO QUASI PARISH- RECOLETOS, Inayawan, Cebu City
    (Time & Presider: —to be communicated later)

    BIRTHDAY
    Mikaela Loraine Toro (RAY-Valencia)

    ANNIVERSARY OF SIMPLE PROFESSION
    (1967-2020)
    Fray Rafael Cabarles

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Afra Medillo, AR

27
  • All day
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    FEAST OF ST. MONICA
    Be reminded of the plenary indulgence we may obtain today!

    BIRTHDAY
    Sr. Ma. Genoveva de Asis, AR
    Judy Ann Mediavillo (RAY-Provincialate)

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (2009-2020)
    Fray Bob Cabanag

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Felicidad de Sto. Niño, AR
    +Sr. Geronima Ruiz, AR

28
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    August 28, 2020

    PRAYER INTENTION: FOR THE OAR MISSION (cf. LAMP II, 5c) SOLEMNITY OF ST. AUGUSTINE
    Be reminded of the plenary indulgence we may obtain today!

    25TH FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY OF THE RECOLLECT AUGUSTINIAN YOUTH

    INSTALLATION OF MOST REV. JOSE CABANTAN AS ARCHBISHOP OF CAGAYAN DE ORO

    BIRTHDAY
    Fray Agustin Culaton

    ANNIVERSARY OF SOLEMN PROFESSION
    Sr. Ma. Quiteria Ragundiaz, OAR

    ANNIVERSARY OF PRESBYTERAL ORDINATION
    (1988-2020)
    Fray Raul Buhay

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Mo. Monica de San Joaquin, AR

29
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30
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    Shiela Flores (RAY-Provincialate)

    ANNIVERSARY OF SOLEMN PROFESSION
    Sr. Mo. Lourdes Eizaguirre, OAR

    DEATH ANNIVERSARY
    +Sr. Consuelo Dangan, AR

31
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    August 31, 2020

    NATIONAL HEROES’ DAY

     

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