Diocesan News

Five Communities, One Purpose – Prayer

Monastery of the Precious Blood

The Monastery of the Precious Blood in Borough Park is blessed to have two religious communities: the Sisters Adorers of the Precious Blood and the Sisters Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará.

The Sisters Adorers of the Precious Blood community has been offering reparation to the Heart of Christ in Brooklyn since 1890. In December of 2011, the Sisters welcomed the Sisters Servants of the Lord to share the Monastery of the Precious Blood. The transition has worked well with a nice blend of the old and young.  Each community has its own living and work space, and although they have different charisms and schedules, they join together each day for Morning Prayer and Holy Mass. The bond of prayer and mutual consecration to the Blessed Mother keep the communities closely united.

Besides a life of prayer and adoration of the Precious Blood, Sisters correspond with people who write to them for prayer and encouragement, and their pro-life leaflet apostolate keeps them busy. In all they do, the Sisters try to keep before them the mandate of their Venerable Foundress, Mother Catherine Aurelia, to “pour the balm of prayer upon the deep wounds of holy Mother Church.”

The Sisters Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará, the contemplative branch of religious Institute of the Incarnate Word, made its foundation in Brooklyn in 1998. The charism of the Institute is centered upon the Incarnation.

The Sisters live their charism through a deeply liturgical life, chanting the Liturgy of the Hours, offering up two hours of daily eucharistic adoration and by participation at Mass. Drawing sustenance from the Eucharist, the Sisters desire “to be chalices over-flowing with Christ to others,” “to prolong the Incarnation,” and to “show with our lives that Christ is alive,” thus inspiring souls to love Him more. The community also has a particular intention to pray for the Jewish people and pray that all may come to know God.

The Sisters invite the local community to pray with them and offer the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius at their Retreat House. The Sisters also make liturgical linens and other items for Mass.

All is offered to Jesus through Mary as they live their fourth vow of Marian slavery of love, in the spirit of St. Louis de Montfort and St. John Paul II: Totus Tuus Maria.

Both communities are occupied in different ways, yet united by the same purpose: to “seek the Face of God with ever-deepening fervor,” in response to Pope Francis’ urgent call to all contemplative religious in “Vultum Dei quaerere.”

Visitation Monastery of Brooklyn

The Visitation Monastery of Brooklyn was founded in 1855 for the Glory of God and 11 sisters currently reside at the monastery in Bay Ridge.

Visitation Sisters of Brooklyn. (Photo Matthew O’Connor)

The spirituality of the community is rich, centered around love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus as revealed to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, V.H.M., and the virtues of humility and gentleness, modeled by the mystery of the Visitation (Luke 1:39-46). Sisters draw inspiration from the Blessed Mother’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth.

In the spirit of the Visitandines’ motto, “Live Jesus,” the Sisters strive to imitate the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, encouraged by the writings of their orders founders, St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal.

Visitandines live a life of prayer.  The celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the heart of community life in Christ. Sisters chant and recite the Liturgy of the Hours five times a day. As contemplatives, they nourish times of monastic solitude and silence with personal prayer, meditation, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and praying the Holy Rosary.

Monastic tasks include gardening,  cooking, and working in the refectory, sacristy, retreat area and infirmary.

A unique aspect of the monastery is the sponsorship of Visitation Academy, an elementary school for girls, administered by a lay faculty steeped in Salesian spirituality. Sisters may teach a religion class, or simply be a spiritual presence of love and support.

A retreat program also allows lay and other religious women to enter the cloister for a few days for spiritual renewal.

Missionaries of Charity Contemplative

The Missionaries of Charity Contemplative were founded by St. Teresa of Calcutta and Sister Nirmala, M.C., on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus,  June 25, 1976 in the Bronx.

The Sisters, who also have a center of prayer at Our Lady of Lourdes Convent, Bushwick, are dedicated to satiating the thirst of Jesus on the Cross for love of souls by a life of eucharistic adoration, contemplation, silence, solitude, fasting, penance and going out to the spiritually poorest of the poor. The Sisters make these visits for two to three hours a day to proclaim the Word of God by their presence and spiritual works of mercy.

Monastery of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel  and St. Joseph

The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mt. Carmel, identifies itself with the hermits of Mt. Carmel, disciples of the prophet Elijah, dedicated to contemplation in solitude and burning with zeal for the honor of God.

When the Carmelites migrated to Europe to escape Muslim persecution, the General of the Order, St. Simon Stock, was granted the Brown Scapular as a sign of protection from the Mother of God. Discalced Carmelite Nuns are Carmelites who were reformed by St. Teresa of Jesus in 1562, returning to the observance of the Primitive Rule begun on Mt. Carmel. St. Teresa  established a strictly enclosed life of complete separation from the world. The cloister creates a desert where the soul may encounter and live alone with her beloved Spouse, and by this union of love, through prayer and penance, help the Church and her pastors to extend the kingdom of God for the salvation of souls.

The life of the Discalced (that means the Sisters do not wear shoes, but sandals) Nuns is modeled after the hidden life of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. It is a joyful life of silence, prayer and labor, maintaining a family spirit within community life. The main apostolate is prayer, including the recitation of the Divine Office and two hours of mental prayer daily. Convents are founded in complete poverty. Although Sisters engage in manual labor, they depend on alms for sustenance.

In their local Carmel, the Brooklyn-based Sisters engage in baking hosts. It is a labor of love to make bread that is destined to become Jesus and given to souls, and a way for the Sisters to be prayerfully united with the diocese’s priests and the faithful.

Each year, the Sisters have a public novena to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, and two public triduums to St. Joseph and St. Therese. The Sisters also have a prayer request line, 718-235-0422.

Also See: Praying for and With Contemplative Sisters

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