In the World

"The spirit of God does not depend on retirement.  Rather it is a spirit that strengthens and perfects all occupations." (St. Jane de Chantal, Letter #346)

"Nothing disturbs my union with the Lord, neither conversation with others nor any duties... My spirit is with God, and my interior being is filled with God so I do not look for Him outside myself.  He, the Lord, penetrates my soul just as a ray from the sun penetrates clear glass.  When I was enclosed in my mother's womb, I was not so closely united with her as I am with my God. There, it was an unawareness; but here, it is the fullness of reality and the consciousness of union."  (St. Faustina, Diary #883) 

"Your convent will be the house of the sick; your cell, a hired room; your chapel, the parish church; your cloister, the city streets... your enclosure, obedience; your grating, the fear of God; your veil, holy modesty." (St. Vincent de Paul)

"Ah, what a happiness to live thus in the world without sharing in its miserable affections and aims!"  (St. Jane de Chantal, Letter #1369)

"Our Lord frequently told me that I should keep a secluded place for Him in my heart, where He would teach me to love Him."  (St. Margaret Mary)

God “can say to someone driving that car bumper to bumper, ‘I will lead you into solitude and there I will speak to your heart. (Hosea 2:14).’” (Catherine de Hueck Doherty, Poustinia, Ave Maria Press, Notre Dame IN, 1975, p. 22) 

"May the God who is all love be your unchanging dwelling place, your cell, and your cloister in the midst of the world.” (Elizabeth of the Trinity) 

“As the wall remains the same however many shadows pass across it, and as the looking glass remains the same however many changes of expression it reflects, so the soul that is held fast in God remains uninfluenced by the waving shapes and images that come and go.” (Dom Hubert Van Zeller, The Yoke of Divine Love, Templegate, Springfield IL, 1957, p. 226)

"When we carry God in our hearts, we are at home anywhere."  (from The Living Pyx of Jesus, by a Religious, Pelligrini and Co., Australia, 1941) 

“My heart is filled with God’s will, and when someone pours something on it, this doesn’t penetrate its interior; it’s a nothing which glides off easily, just like oil which can’t mix with water.  I remain always at profound peace in the depths of my heart; nothing can disturb it.” (St. Therese of Lisieux)

"Our labor here is brief, but the reward is eternal.  Do not be disturbed by the clamor of the world, which passes like a shadow." (St. Clare of Assisi)

The Figurine by W Paxton US public domain
"We must try to converse with God in little ways while we do our work... we should purely and simply reveal our hearts as the words come to us."  (Brother Lawrence)

"Each small task of everyday life is part of the total harmony of the universe."  (St. Therese of Lisieux)

“I find a heaven in the midst of saucepans and brooms.” (St. Stanislaus Kostka)

"It is most laudable in a married woman to be devout .. but she must never forget that she is a housewife and sometimes must leave God at the altar to find Him in her housekeeping."  (St. Frances of Rome) 

"For the humble lay brother (Brother Lawrence), prayer was the consciousness of the continual presence of God.  This realization never left him, whether he was cooking eggs in the kitchen or kneeling in the sanctuary.  In order to be with God, he said, it was not necessary to remain constantly in church; man's heart, too, could be his oratory."  (Walter Nigg, Warriors of God, Alfred A. Knof, 1959, p. 306)

“I strive to not let myself get caught up in all of the negativity of the world - the hopelessness - the fear of the future... I think when we focus too much on the circumstances of what is going on around us, we become like Peter when he was called by Jesus to get out of the boat and walk to Him.  As long as he kept his gaze on Jesus he was fine, but when he glanced away at the sea and the storm and the salty waves all around, he started to sink with fear and despair.  I must remind myself constantly to keep my eyes locked onto Jesus, knowing that He is in control, and not get flustered with the circumstances that I am living in and walking through.  I have not quite mastered this and it is easier said than done, but it is my hope and prayer…” - Joy

“Always remember… to retire at various times into the solitude of your own heart even while outwardly engaged in discussions or transactions with others.  This mental solitude cannot be violated by the many people who surround you since they are not standing around your heart but only around your body.  Your heart remains alone in the presence of God.” (St. Francis de Sales)    

"I love Him while I ply my needle..." (Elizabeth of the Trinity)

"Christ is held by the mind knowing Him and the heart loving Him...  what is this room except the inner secret of your own person?  Keep this inner room clean, so that when it is pure, unstained by sin, your spiritual home may stand as a priestly temple with the Holy Spirit dwelling in it.  One who seeks and entreats Christ is never abandoned, but visited by Him frequently, for He stays always with us."  (St. Ambrose)

“You have, as it were, a poustinia (poustinia is a Russian word for hermitage) within you.  It is as if within you there was this little log cabin in which you and Christ were very close…within yourself you have made a room, a log cabin, a secluded place.  You have built it by prayer…. You live in the marketplace and carry the poustinia within you.  That is your vocation… The Lord is calling us to stand still before him while walking with men.” (Catherine de Hueck Doherty, Poustinia, Ave Maria Press, 1975)

“A cloistered heart accepts God’s grace to love Jesus Christ in the midst of a world that does not love Him; to embrace His will in a world which does not embrace it.  Thus the cloistered heart becomes a place of refuge not only for us, but for Christ Himself.  To create such a refuge is a primary part of the cloistered heart’s apostolate.” (from book The Cloistered Heart)

“If Christ’s love is the enclosure wall (and we know that it is, for He has said that ‘My beloved is a garden enclosed), He encloses you; He IS the enclosure.”  (Mother Mary Francis PCC)

"I remember reading, I think from St. Teresa of Avila, that obedience to one's superior is more meritorious than all the self-imposed mortifications, fastings and prayers.  Then I realized my superior is really my vocation as a wife and mother.  Therefore, my duties and responsibilities of motherhood must come first.  And, done with the right intentions (as St. Francis de Sales says, 'for the greater glory of God'), all my actions are lifted up in prayer."- Rose

"How the Heart of Jesus rejoices when souls strive to make their hearts His resting place." (The  Living Pyx of Jesus)

"How happy you will be if in the midst of the world you keep Jesus Christ in your heart!  I beg Him to live and rule there eternally."  (St. Francis de Sales) 

"Some people might think it contradictory to speak of 'contemplative' in the same sentence as 'mother of a very large family.' But it is the contemplative spirit that has helped me survive the chaos that is natural when raising a number of children.... The cloister in my heart is a place of refuge.  It is a place where I can retreat from the world no matter where I am; in the middle of a crowded mall, or in a busy grocery store, or in my own kitchen." - Rose 

“Happy is the soul established in God and in holy humility.  The winds of the storm are powerless to shake her.” (St. Jane de Chantal) 

"The Cloistered heart - these are words that call up for me an image of a sanctuary:  deep in a silent wood, shrouded in green, enclosed in gray stone walls, filled with the constant call of tower bells.  But the real sanctuary I grope toward is encased in a body, cloistered with the reality that this spirit, this body, is a temple of the Holy Spirit of God.... A sanctuary set apart from the world it travels through, affecting this world yet drawing strength from its cloistered union..."  (from Cloistered Heart book) 

"No one will understand what I experience in that splendid palace of my soul where I abide constantly with my Beloved.  No exterior thing hinders my union with God."  (St. Faustina)

"Within us there is a palace of immense magnificence.  The entire edifice is built of gold and precious stones.... Truly there is no building of such great beauty as a pure soul, filled with virtues, and the greater these virtues, the brighter these stones sparkle... In this palace the great King lodges, Who has been pleased to become your Guest, and.. He sits there on a throne of tremendous value: your heart."  (St. Teresa of Avila)

“When you use the analogy of the grille of God’s will and imagine yourself protected by it, you really do see things in a new light. I think a perfect example of this was when I placed myself there on my 40 minute drives back and forth to work, battling very unpleasant traffic. Suddenly it didn’t matter if everyone seemed to try to push me out of the way - I was alone with God and nothing else was of any concern.” - Jane

"The Tabernacle is a reminder of Christ's life in us and of our surrender to Him.  We, too, are the Living Tabernacle of Jesus, a reminder, also, that our life is not governed by appearances and impressions, but by faith in the invisible Reality.  He is there as the ever-flowing Source of Grace, as our Invisible Director and Helper.  Being the living Centre of our life, He must become the Centre of our hearts and minds, the Centre to Which we are directed and from which we judge all our problems, as well as the world's."  (The Living Pyx of Jesus, Pelligrini, 1941, p. 19) 

"Rejoice, because you have escaped the various dangers and shipwrecks of the stormy world. Rejoice, because you have reached the quiet and safe anchorage of a secret harbor."  (St. Bruno)

"I set up a little cell in my heart, where I always kept company with Jesus."  (St. Faustina) 

"Sit in your cell as in a paradise.  Put the whole world behind you and forget it. Watch your thoughts like a good fisherman watching for fish. The path you must follow is in the Psalms; never leave it. Realize above all that you are in God's presence, and stand there with the attitude of one who stands before the emperor. Empty yourself completely and sit waiting, content with the grace of God."  (St. Romuald of Ravenna)

"When you are physically or mentally occupied, while fulfilling the duties of your state in life, renew as far as possible, again and again, your 'yes' to the will of God. Cast frequent interior glances on the divine goodness." (St.Francis de Sales)

Before the First Bell (October 9, 2011)
Cloistered... here?  (November 8, 2011)
Yes, Cloistered Here (November 12, 2011)
So Very Cloistered, Here (November 28, 2011)
Heaven in the Midst (April 19, 2012) 
A Monastery on Wheels (April 25, 2012)
The Cloistered Lightship (May 3, 2012)
To Carry the fire (May 11, 2012) 
Cloistered Here? Absolutely! (May 16, 2012) 
Just What IS a Cloistered Heart?  (July 1, 2012)