What was it like inside the enclosure? Now home from her Aspirancy, our fictional discerner Melanie writes this letter to her fictional Vocation Directress/Novice Mistress, Sister Mary Magistra.
Dear Sister Mary Magistra,
Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever! I hope you are all having a wonderful July–are the figs ripe yet? It feels like my Aspirancy ended so quickly, there is so much more I would like to experience!
Reflecting on my recent four weeks living in the monastery, I understand much better your warning that the Aspirancy isn’t long enough to know “what it’s like to be a Dominican nun.” For the first part I was simply trying to master the rubrics of the monastic life–when to bow during the Office, how to make the processions for graces at meals, where to hang up my–I mean “our”!–apron. But there are three things that really stand out to me from my experience: the silence, the order, and community life.
I guess I never noticed before quite how LOUD my days usually are. Just listening to the radio on the way to the store, or chatting with my family constantly . . . not bad things, but many of them empty and distracting. The silence in the monastery really brought that home to me. That is one reason why the ORDER was so striking and apparent to me as well. “Here I am at 2 o’clock, doing my spiritual reading AGAIN!” To have the whole day almost “automatically” unfold so that all the different elements lead you to God–how awesome! I just love the Office and the chant, and how you are always hearing the words of Scripture and letting that form your whole life.
Finally, it was such a blessed experience to be able to join you all “inside” (the cloister) in your community life. The silence was great, but it also made me really look forward to talking at recreation! And the Sisters are so dear, and the novices so much fun!
[Here Melanie goes on to ask some questions she has for the Novice Mistress. We are sharing this fictional correspondence, but we can’t share everything! For instance, since Melanie wants to return as a Postulant, she must write a formal letter to Mother Prioress asking to be accepted. That will all happen (fictionally) behind the scenes . . . if the community accepts her, our next update here should tell about her entrance.]
Give my love to Mother and all the Sisters! Tell them I am praying for them and ask them to be sure and keep on praying for me!
Sincerely in Christ,
You might also like:
- Melanie’s last letter: Beginning the Aspirancy
- How fictional is fictional, anyway?
- Learn more about the Aspirancy on our Stages in Formation page
- Or some reflections on Silence and on being Good Soil for the Word
Interested in learning more about our life? Contact the Vocation Directress.