THE CONTEMPLATIVE: IMAGE OF THE CHURCH

The Church is One: She is the undivided one

To be a whole person is to be more than an integrated or even a correlated person, although true wholeness presupposes both integration of the parts into one and correlation of each component to the other. Wholeness requires a deliberate repudiation of unwholeness. And unwholeness reveals itself so diversely and attacks the true concept of person so insidiously that its combating is at no period of life completed and done.

Our commonest descriptions of high emotion exhibit our awareness of the assaults on our wholeness. We speak of a man being torn apart with grief, bursting with joy, riddled with fear. And we are so accustomed to such descriptive figures of the human condition that we may not be deeply aware of the terrible truth we so glibly express: the problem of continence of person. Continence is a term usually reserved to the sense of carnal restraint, even as a synonym for celibacy. However, what is meant here is not continence of specific bodily powers but continence of person, a psychical and spiritual inviolability which is always vulnerable to assaults but ultimately proof against them. At least, in the totally continent person, there is no fatal rending.

Characteristic of wholeness is oneness. Person is not the sum of the parts. No compilation of thought processes and emotional reactions, reflexes and conditioned responses, relational ability and the like will total: human person. There emerges from wholeness a certain inner hierarchy or organization of person in which a single driving force is in power. It is not selective, but directive, a property of wholeness which is both testimonial and indicative. Testimonial in that it witnesses to the rightness of act or principle; indicative because it points out a manner of acting or judging. It posits a great simplicity.

Simplicity is not generally characteristic of our times. As a matter of fact, it is not extraordinarily evident in any age. For simplicity demands a great deal of person. Our deficiency in this quarter is evident in the style of much of our writing and our lecturing, our approach to our problems or even to ideas as well as our relations to other persons, and especially in the invalidity of many of our thought processes. We may at times scorn a syllogistic mode of thought because we have become largely incapable of logic. A pseudo-existentialism is very much with us. It would be amusing, were it not so alarming, to dismantle some of our more erudition-packed literature and rescue the very simple kernel of idea from its swaddle of complexities. One wonders sometimes whether adaptation is not even more evidently needed in removing some layers of verbiage from current "ideas" than tiers of pleats from our garments.

For example, that authority is primarily a matter of service should be self-evident. Our blessed Lord said: "I am among you as he who serves" (Luke XXII,27). The pope has been styled "servant of the servants of God" for how many centuries. St. Clare mentions that the abbess should be the servant and handmaid of the nuns with the terseness of one expressing an idea too simple to need any laboring, and passes on to the next point. Each superior must find her own ways to serve, but she never has to make a long search, much less do research on the subject. She has only to open her eyes and see. Yet, some of us are presently torturing this idea, worrying this idea, inflating this idea with the directionless excitement of one with a three-headed monster to tame.

Also indicative of our default in simplicity is the general lack of humor in our writing and our talk. Not the humor of the jester or the raconteur, but the humor of sanctity, that clear and penetrating vision which pierces through complexities to discover the simplicity of idea and is aware of the Divine humor in creation, conservation, and particularly in sanctification. Humor is, after all, vision. Perfect spiritual vision is not possible without a great simplicity of soul.

Now it is to this wholeness of person (dependent first of all on wholeness of soul) characterized by oneness and manifested in simplicity, that all the people of God are called. But it is the contemplative who must witness to this calling most clearly, most fully, most specifically. The contemplative is called in a particular way to be the undivided one.

There was a great deal of wisdom in the comment of the old lay Sister who said: "That girl won't do for the cloister. She's too duple". She had her own colorful and highly affirmative way of commenting on the candidate's not being simple. "Duple". Do we not have to confess not only how "duple" we naturally are, but how "multiple"? We tend to allow experience to leave us unwhole where it is meant by God to draw our fibers of person ever more integrally into Him Who is our destiny. We are so easily un-oned by our problems, our relations, our very service to God. It is necessary to admit the hazard to oneness which lurks at all life's corners before we are fit to recognize hazard as challenge and ultimately to change hazard to opportunity. Opportunity for wholeness, oneness of soul.

There is a great and beautiful movement presently at work in religious life to un-departmentalize spirituality. We are understanding more deeply that holiness has hands as well as knees, that service is simply one manifestation of love, as willed identification with our own sufferings is another, and example is another. We can even hope that soon the nonsense about personal sanctification vs. outgoing love will no longer be heard to amaze the simple who are unable to identify any kind of sanctity that does not manifest itself in love and service and to vex the more irascible who have no patience with such appalling lack of sense where they had expected to find sense. "By their fruits you shall know them" (Matthew VII, 16). A religious who is concerned with her personal sanctification at the expense of charity is not to be corrected for an aberration, but to be taught a first principle. She has not yet understood the most basic idea of religious life. There is no personal sanctification without outgoing charity. Nor is there any true Godlike charity not sprung from the effort at personal sanctification. The exclusive concern for one's holiness indicates only a lack of holiness. We practise outgoing love out of indwelling prayer. The worth of our service in God's sight depends on the quality of our being, not on the quantity of our doing. It is all so simple. That is why it has been so difficult for us to understand.

It is the contemplative above all who must give to the people of God, so often blinking with doubt, blinded by false standards, dazzled by the specious, the spurious and the ersatz, the example of clear spiritual vision. If her eye is not ever fixed on God, she is not the undivided one she is called to be. Hopkins wrote of our Lady that she "had this one work to do, let all God's grace shine through". So does the contemplative. The Church is one, undivided, whole. The contemplative is the image of the Church with her one work to do. She is called to witness to the absolute Being of God. The kind of life she leads in "withdrawal from the world" (Vatican 11, 67; Decree on the Adaptation and Renewal of the Religious Life), a "life hidden with Christ in God" (Colossians III, 3), absorbed with the direct service of God, is her witness before the world that God is supreme, infinitely worthy of our undivided attention, undivided love, undivided service.

Of all the possible kinds of lives, the contemplative life is the one entirely inexplicable without faith in Divine supremacy. There are two great commandments and on these "depend the whole law and the prophets" (Matthew XXII, 40). The contemplative must be a living manifesto of the "greatest and the first commandment" (Matthew, XXII, 38). The "second is like unto this" (Matthew XXII, 39) but it is still the second. The first remains first. "Thou shaft love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with all thy strength" (Mark XII, 30). It is not a counsel; it is a command. It is not reserved to contemplatives or to any religious; it is for all. But it is to this first and greatest commandment that the contemplative must bear burning witness with her whole soul, her whole mind, her whole strength. What all Christians are called to do, she is to do in highly specialized manner, and with greater intensity. Her vocation is to be the utterly undivided Christian woman.

It is particularly necessary in this stimulating period of religious renewal and adaptation that the contemplative be radically mindful of her vocation to be the undivided one. It is her own wholeness which she must investigate and renovate, adapting or suppressing in the outward circumstances of her cloistered life whatever is not contributing to the realization of her undividedness. It would be a strange kind of contemplative adaptation which strove to divide her life the more. Because simplicity is so demanding a state to be in, so hazardous a state to maintain, we can easily succumb to a complex way of thinking and evaluating. It is so much more comfortable to be complex than to be simple. Complexity plays spotlights now on this facet of religious life, now on that. Simplicity is the clear unblinking floodlight over the whole stage. Religious congregations are required by their nature to spotlight a particular kind of service in the Church, and this service bears witness to God before men, sanctifying doer and served, giver and recipient. It glorifies Him and testifies to the fruitfulness of Holy Mother Church. The cloistered contemplative, on the other hand, has nothing to do with a particular active apostolate. It is a direct witness to the supremacy of God which she is called to render. This witness appears in her increasing absorption with God. A progressive absorption with other things is her failure to bear her own witness to Him before men.

Does this mean that prayer in the choir, exercises of piety, spiritual works must be her solitary concerns? Are we implying that her utter involvement with God means that she should have no intellectual or cultural interest, no need for the normal expressions of her womanly creativeness? Certainly not. Just because she is a contemplative, an undivided one, the cloistered nun must strive to bear a vocational witness to God with the perfection of all her human powers. She will not love God better for thinking less. She will not render Him service by ignoring His gifts of nature and grace in her. She will not glorify the Creator by seeking to annihilate in herself His work of creation. Thus, for example, the study of theology and scripture within the confines of her enclosure would be pursuits typical of the contemplative nun. And with the abundance of excellent books and periodicals, tape recordings and folios of discs presently available, "within the confines of her enclosure" is certainly not a phrase restrictive of real advance in all things proper to the religious education of canonical contemplatives. On the other hand, it should be obvious that the pursuit of professional scholarship the participation in regular academic and accredited courses outside the enclosure is incompatible with the cloistered vocation as envisioned by St. Clare.

The final end of study for the contemplative can only be envisioned as an increase of faith, hope and charity, so that the undividedness of her service may be more perfectly understood by her own soul and rendered more effective in her life. If it is otherwise envisioned, then it lacks validity for her. It becomes an assault on the vocation of the undivided one. Her course must be that of the arrow shot into the heart of Love, swift, straight, and sure. For what other reason has she come to the cloister?

The undivided one, the contemplative, must have a clear understanding of who she is and what her vocation means. Without this understanding, she will easily confuse one good with another. The active religious is not called to be a laywoman, nor will she glorify God by trying to live like a laywoman. The cloistered contemplative does a disservice to God and to the world when she confuses her kind of witness to God before men with the kind of witness proper to the religious of the active apostolate. Hers is the eschatological testimony above all, hers is the life of one passing out of this world to the Father. The undivided one is properly situated at the feet of God, not in the marketplace, not on the highways. Only so situated can she exercise her office as the worshipping one.

 

The Church is Holy: She is the worshipping one.

The Church is holy. The people of God are called to holiness. It is not the peculiar vocation of the canonical contemplative. But it is her vocation in the fullest measure, in the intensest degree. Worship is her business and her occupation. Thus, adaptation for the cloistered nun will involve an investigation of all that can make her life more worshipful, ('the exercise proper to the contemplative life should be preserved with the utmost care" [Vat. II, 7, Ibid.]), and a rejection of everything that makes it less so ("obsolete practices suppressed" [Vat. II, 7, Ibid.]). All that diminishes the vigor of the contemplative life, deflects from its meaning, clutters its purity, is

obsolete and must be suppressed. Or, if such things are innovations, they are nonetheless extraneous and injurious to a life of contemplation. Such must all the more quickly be suppressed. "I will lead her into a desert place, and there I will speak to her heart' (Osee, 11, 14). Renewal for the contemplative may be most needed in the area of freeing herself from the fear of the desert place where she must face the reality of herself and her unique vocation, alone, before God. Where she must leave off discussion with many for listening to One.

Discussion, dialogue, communication. Such the watchwords of renewal. And these are good, valid, productive means to an end. In our enthusiasm we may need to remind ourselves, however, that they themselves are not the end. Open discussion of the need for adaptation and the means to accomplish it most effectively in the community can be one of the most excellent ways of promoting charity and stimulating freshness of thought among religious as well as a means conducive to maturity. But what is the end of discussion? One would suppose, decision or at least some sort of conclusion. Similarly, we would rightly judge that dialogue is to eventuate in mutual enrichment of mind and of understanding; communication to produce a new awareness. Unhappily, discussion can be a handy means of escapism. Thus, in the case of the contemplative, it is imperative that she investigate what is coming of discussion. For her, it must be conducive to the worshipful character of her life. If it is not, then it must be recognized and confronted as a charlatan in the cloister. It is a source of uneasiness to observe discussions producing only repetitions of discussions and whipping up an appetite for talk. Similarly, outside workshops which are productive only or even primarily of a desire for more outside workshops may be suspect for the cloistered nun, however valuable for non-cloistered religious. It would be unrealistic as well as immature for the contemplative to ignore the hazard of talkativeness lurking in talk or to deny that frequent egress from cloister can all too easily beget a love of the road - or the airline. While subscribing enthusiastically to the value of discussion and readily agreeing that there are valid reasons for occasionally leaving the enclosure, the true contemplative holds that it is more realistic to practise virtue than to discuss it, most practical to observe her vow of enclosure by remaining in the cloister. One means of evaluating the validity of discussion for the cloistered nun would be its effectiveness in sharpening her appetite for contemplative silence and recollection, the accoutrements of her worshipful love. Discussion is meant to lead somewhere. Its terminus is not talk. For the contemplative, ft is meant to bear fruit for contemplation. Likewise, if egress from cloister has been truly necessary, its first result will be to heighten the desire to return to the cloister and remain in it.

Called to be an image of the Church as the worshipping one, the cloistered nun must, - let us repeat it - reject all that diminishes the worshipfulness of her of her service. She must search for all that enhances the worshipful character of her highly specialized vocation of love. This is the area of adaptation for her. This is her field of renewal. St. Clare described herself as "prostrate at the feet of Holy Church". She knew this for the posture of contemplative witness in the Church. Worshipping, silent, humble, her face turned away from the world to God, not to love men less but to love them more effectively. For one ministers effectively only when one understands one's own proper way of ministering.

The contemplative as the worshipping one must strive to give a worshipful character to all her activities, even the most mundane. For this it is essential that all her powers be recollected. out of the undividedness of recollection comes the worshipfulness of her manner, her presence, her approach. At a recent conference of major superiors, some Mothers General were watching for the contemplative superiors who had been invited for the first time to attend such a conference. Seeing many religious walking down a particular corridor, they asked of one: "You are a contemplative, aren't you?" Mother smiled her: "Yes". "Yes", echoed the questioners, 'We could tell". That they could tell was not an indication of the singularity of the contemplative, nor particularly a compliment. It was a statement of fact and a testimonial to what should be the commonest reality: that the whole demeanor of a contemplative should quite reveal her as the one. It was a what others have a right to expect and to see in one who has deliberately chosen to God's call to dwell apart, withdrawn.

The worshipping ones will not lose their personal identity. They will not exhibit a colorless and debilitating regimentation. Quite the contrary. To lead a worshipful life releases the idea of "person" on its highest plane. Worshipfulness will indicate itself in walk, in speech, in countenance. Its absence will be betrayed by levity, talkativeness, bustle and excitement, and above all by uncharity. The worshipping one is the gentle one who establishes a zone of quiet by her very presence, never rending apart but bringing compassion and healing. It is to all souls that she is called to render this compassion. She is asked to share in Christ's universal healing, the great salvific work, by her undivided, worshipful life of love.

 

The Church is Catholic: She is the universal one.

When the contemplative allows herself and the force of her powers to be deflected from God to subordinate ends, she wounds herself in that very universality which is peculiar to and highly characteristic of her vocation. The cloistered nun has withdrawn from the sight and service of some men that she may love and serve all men not only more comprehensively but also more radically. Stepping back from particular involvement, she is able to enter into a complete involvement with the concerns of all men. Her love, her compassion, her service become truly catholic.

In the proper office of his feast, St. Francis of Assisi is described by the Church as "Franciscus vir catholicus et totus apostolicus". His contemplative daughters, as all contemplatives in all cloisters, are called by God to be "mulieres catholicae". It lies at the core of the canonical contemplative vocation and is God's magnificent paradox that the cloistered nun is the catholic one in the exact measure that she is set apart. Withdrawn from specificity, she comes to understand the generic character of her vocation. Her love itself becomes generic. Her involvement is not directly with men or the works of men; her involvement is directly with God. That is why she is more involved with the groanings and rejoicings of all men, the tensions, dichotomies and searchings of life, than is anyone else. For, hidden with Christ in God, not figuratively but practically and literally hidden in the Church's inner court, she enters into the mind of Christ who "bore our infirmities" (Isaias, LIII, 4) and "was bruised for our offenses" (Isaias, LIII, 5).

It is the business of the contemplative to bear the infirmities of men. And God is faithful. He never fails to provide that the contemplative be bruised for men's offenses. If she is profoundly concerned with the catholicity of her vocation, ever striving to sound the depths of its mystery, the cloistered nun will not have to be taught the meaning of commitment or involvement. The true contemplative will experience in her own being, and with ever increasing intensity through the passing years, the sufferings of mankind. She will strain forward with the groping and tremble with the fearful. She will speak of victory with the strong and wrestle with the despair of the castaway. No syllabi are needed on these findings. Nor is there anything in the least extraordinary about them. It is the commonest experience of the normal cloistered nun trying to live her vocation within its own proper physical precincts increasingly to discover that its spiritual precincts are the whole world.

She finds that loving has given her a greater capacity for loving. All of her sufferings equip her to suffer more. Her deep awareness of the meaning of cloister fits her to be the poor one of Yahweh who ministers to all the people of God as their servant. The more she remains in her cloister, the more is this universal character of the contemplative vocation preserved and insured for the enclosed nun.

"Let no misfortune, no tragedy or calamity find you a stranger to it'. How deeply those words of Pope John XXIII testify to his understanding of the contemplative vocation. A contemplative is a stranger to misfortunes, tragedies and calamities if she has not fellowship of suffering in them. This fellowship she establishes through the quality of her prayerful and penitential life. Awareness of tragedy must mean for her a new intensity of prayer and especially of prayerfulness. Knowledge of calamity should be for her synonymous with a deeper level of penitence in her own life. Her pity must flow out over the world through the five wounds of Christ, her love out of His heart. This will be possible only if she dwells hidden in those wounds, lovingly enclosed in that heart.

St. Francis of Assisi prayed that he might experience in his own body the pains of Christ's Passion, know in his own heart the love Christ had for all men in His redeeming Passion. The stigmata of Francis which the Church celebrates in a special feast on September 17 were God's answer to the first prayer. Francis stigmatized love was God's reply to the second. In the physical bearing of the wounds of Christ, neither St. Francis' daughters nor any contemplatives are called by vocation to follow him. But in cultivating a stigmatized heart through which the pity of Christ issues out over mankind, each contemplative is indeed called to imitate him. "Franciscus vir catholicus!" On his lonely mountain, in his Carceri, he was more the "vir catholicus" than when he preached in the streets of Assisi. For it is in prayer, in love, in silent self-immolation that we reach all souls. It is in secret giving to God that we are given to all men.

"Let no scientific discovery, no cultural meeting or social or political gathering make you think 'these are things that have nothing to do with us"'. Again these words of that most dear Supreme Pontiff John XXIII insist on the catholicity of the contemplative vocation. The cloistered nun must be concerned with all the concerns of men, just as she must be aware of the age in which she lives, what it asks of her, and in which specific terms it defines her timeless vocation. Thus, no scientific advancement or cultural gathering can be without meaning for her. She will rejoice to learn all generalities and proper particularities of the world environment in which she as well as everyone else of her era can, alone function and be fruitful for the Church's apostolate of souls.

It is necessary, however, that she clearly understand in what way scientific progress and cultural assemblies concern her. She must not do high injustice to the word of a great pontiff by understanding and applying them at the most superficial level. She must ever remain the catholic one, withdrawn from the world in order to be a universal servant, involved directly with God so as herself to be a new Christ to the world. Obviously the cloistered contemplative need not attend scientific exhibits to be concerned with science, nor go out to art school to witness her concern with art. Again, there is the danger of confounding one vocation with another. Concern for science and culture is the concern of all Christians and not less the concern of religious. However, there is and must remain a vast difference in the way this concern is expressed by non-cloistered and cloistered religious.

Similarly, some will testify to involvement with social ills and the anguish of the downtrodden by marching, whereas the cloistered contemplative will testify on her knees. Her catholicity is diminished according as she fails to understand the uniqueness of her vocation, which demands a universal concern and a universal compassion, possible only to one who dwells habitually within the all-redeeming heart of Christ.

 

The Church is Apostolic: She is the apostle to all nations

There is no love without service. To love is immediately to suffer the impulsion to give. Like the goodness which issues from it, love is diffusive of itself. Therefore, there could never be true love without apostolate. The more undivided love is, the more catholic its apostolate. The more worshipful the cloistered nun's love is, the more effective is her apostolate which Pope Pius XII has described for us. 'This apostolate which the Church entrusts to nuns is performed by them in three ways: by the example of Christian perfection which silently draws the faithful to Christ; by public and private prayer; by the zeal to practise, besides the penitence prescribed by the Rule, all that is suggested by the generous love of the Lord".

Again he says: "It is obvious that strictly contemplative nuns take part in the apostolate of love of neighbor by the three forms of example, prayer and penance,,.2 Unfortunately, it does not seem too obvious to some people. This may be due to their lack of spiritual vision. h may also be due to the quality of the example given by these "strictly contemplative nuns". It is, at any rate, the second possibility with which nuns must immediately concern themselves.

Father Charles Schleck, csc, has indicated the need to stress the sacramental aspects of the religious woman's apostolate. She is a type of the Church particularly as regards the bridal relationship of the Church of Christ. The contemplative nun in her hidden life in the "garden enclosed" is set to be a burning sign to the people of God of this bridal relationship. Worshipful love of the Bridegroom is her chief occupation. 'We beg of you insistently to dedicate yourselves with all your hearts to contemplative prayer, your essential mission, for which you have renounced the world". Her prayer itself, the holy pontiff tells us, is the contemplative's mission, her apostolate. To a generation that seeks a sign from the contemplative of her value in ft Church and her worth to men, no sign shall be given except of a life which proves the existence of God simply because it would be impossible without Him.

The cloistered nun's whole life is a prolonged act of faith in the Absolute Being of God and ft0monial to it. She has no apostolic rewards of beholding the ignorant instructed, the sick healed, the pagan converted, the orphan cared for and the aged cherished. Yet, she must bear all in her spiritual womb and be in labor to bring forth those rewards. It is by her consecration to God in pure faith that she does this. The authentic sacramentality of her life, its value as a sign, will be her contentment just to be the Lord's. "Constant joy and gaiety are the typical traits of a sincere gift of self". Thus, the example of the contemplative loses its apostolic validity if discontent and restlessness disfigure her life.

"Generous devotion is not accompanied by constant tension, by constraint, or by a continual battle with obligations which are painfully borne and which one would discard if possible". When such tensions, constraints, and signs of battle appear, there is need for profound interior renewal. The cure will not be found in attacking the framework of the nun's life (though this, too, is always subject to change and adaptation, to be sure), but in helping the nun to enter more deeply into the mystery of her own life and to understand what kind of sign she is set to be, to rediscover the sacramentality of her contemplative vocation. The same saintly pontiff, Pius XII, has stated in very plain terms what is the remedy for tensions and constraints which tend to produce psychic catastrophe. "It is the conscious acceptance by the nun of the life of every day, ceasely repeated and joyful. It is the everlasting optimism - which is without excess and is quiet and immutable - of our Lord who said: 'But I am not alone because the Father is whit me' (John, XVI, 32); it is the nun's unwavering confidence in Him who said: 'Come to Me all you who labor and who are burdened and I will give you rest' (Matthew, XI, 28). That the attempt to begin the work of renewal from without instead of from within is doomed to failure is already apparent in the literary and pictorial caricatures of the contemplative which are multiplying around us. The sign value of the religious habit, the monastic silence, the nocturnal vigils, the bare feet, the fasting fare and such like in the life of the contemplative has been challenged by some and denied by others. In their place we are given as signs things which indicate nothing but a pathetic failure to understand the contemplative vocation and an obvious failure to take seriously the apostolate which is the cloistered nun's vital own: prayer, penance, example.

It is a strange irony that the world is sometimes readier to accept the sign which the contemplative life offers than is the contemplative herself. People from all walks of life show eagerness to support cloisters. Very likely they seldom or never reason about the why of this. They simply follow their intuition that this life has value for them; they understand that it is apostolic.

"Et nocte coram te" the cloistered nun echoes the psalmist. The contemplative at her night vigils is testifying her concern for the worship of God over physical languor and all the demands of human infirmity which balk at such a measure of devotedness. "And in the night (I am) before You". It is part of the contemplative's testimonial love, part of her witness among the people of God, part of her apostolate.

Again, walking unshod as befits "a pilgrim and stranger in this world" (Rule of St. Clare), the cloistered nun demonstrates in an eminently practical way that she is the penitent poor one of Yahweh. Her silent absorption in worshipful love of God without need of external stimulants, and distractions of secular living witnesses to the absolute Transcendence of the Almighty and declares His infinite sufficiency for the soul. Her fast and her abstinence signify that she shares in St. Paul's understanding of the need to "chastise my body and bring it into subjection" (I Cor. IX, 27) in order to be a more perfect spiritual instrument of God for the salvation of souls, just as her peace and joy indicate that she, too, "fights not as one beating the air" (I Cor., IX, 26).

"I know in Whom I have believed!" cried out St. Paul (11 Tim 1,12). So does the true contemplative. She also, with the great apostle of the Gentiles, is an apostle to all nations, understanding profoundly his image of the runner who seeks in

incorruptible prize. This is her apostolate: the example to the people of God by her prayerful and penitential love of one running to God, already passing out of this world to the Father on the swift feet of faith. Faith in Him in Whom alone she lives and moves and has her being. 

Undivided, worshipping, universally involved and world apostolic, the contemplative must humble herself continually before the mystery of her vocation so that she may be able to enter into it each day more deeply. Thus only will she be to the people of God the living image of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.

 

 Rev. Mother Mary Francis

Abbess of the Poor Clare Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Roswell, New Mexico, U.S.A.