Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Revisiting Our First Post!

In light of the letter and newsletter excerpts I will be sharing here soon, I think this might be a good time to re-visit our very first post. This was written nearly five years ago...

September 29, 2011

"I am a laywoman, married...yet I have a vocation to the cloister.  Obviously I am not called to the physical enclosure; I am called, rather, to cloister my heart.  The word 'cloister' speaks of total consecration.  It seems that compromise would not fit well in a cloister, nor would lukewarmness, nor would complacency.  The cloistered life is absolute."

I look at the above words and am amazed that I wrote them twenty years ago.  Twenty years!  Today these sentences provide me with a ... well, a kind of challenge.  Have compromise, lukewarmness, complacency found spaces in my cloister in which to hide?  O yes.  O yes, indeed.  Looking at these words now, I wonder if I'm "cloistered" at all.

And the instant I start to wonder, I'm positive that I am.  By the amazing grace of God, I am as "cloistered" as I was in 1991; probably more so.  My prayer has gone through droughts and seasons of change, my life has had challenges and triumphs and surprises.  But in the 'cloister,' I remain.

One thing I've discovered is that "the cloistered heart" has many facets.  Like a precious jewel whose gleam is spotted by a treasure hunter, the cloistered heart is still being dug out and examined, turned about and exclaimed over, loved and cherished and LIVED.  If you happen to be one of those who has explored along with us in the past, I welcome you to this new kind of "newsletter."  We will continue through the rooms of the cloister as we did in "Cloistered Gatherings," and I expect we'll wander about in them more freely.  There is an informality and a randomness about blogging that I think I'll find appealing and easy to deal with (although I warn you that I'm totally new at it).

If you are someone who is joining this exploration for the first time, we welcome you to our "dig!"

As we continue, we will keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.  "If Christ is not the alpha and omega of the life," wrote Dom Hubert Van Zeller, "there is no particular point to monasticism." 

Jesus is the reason for our cloisters, and with Him as our focus - we begin.


This is a repost from our archives. It is linked to Theology is a Verb and Reconciled to You for 'It's Worth Revisiting Wednesday.'


  1. Thank you Nancy for sharing this first post again. I think it takes a kind of courage or boldness to say "I have a vocation to the cloister" even when we realize we are not called to the physical enclosure. When we feel so strong the pull to the cloister, to so give ourselves completely to God, it sometimes takes years to finally admit that God is not really calling me to admit myself to a physical enclosure, at least speaking for myself. I had so much to learn and am still learning. I don't feel as much the "traitor" as I used to when I was afraid to confess I wasn't called to go live in this way...with a religious community. My mind would tell me I could never live a cloistered life without physically living in one; however, my heart would always tell me differently. My heart was speaking to me from behind the grille and within that very enclosure which is the heart of God. We all struggle to live the life we are called to live; however, I am forever grateful for being called to discover the cloister of the heart.

    1. Thanks very much for sharing this, Connie. Yours is a striking perspective, from "within that very enclosure which is the heart of God."