ARE THEY WASTING
By Sister Maria Boulding OSB.
CATHOLIC TRUTH SOCIETY No. H464 (1973).
One day certain fishermen had to admit that they hadn't been doing too well. It was not that they lacked skill or experience, but there is a certain amount of luck in these things, and it was not their lucky day or their lucky night either, for it had been an all night job and the results had been nil. Then a friend sitting in one of the boats said, 'Put out into deep water and drop the nets there.' It didn't seem like very good advice; the speaker was not himself a fisherman and could hardly be expected to know much about it. But there was something about him that called forth a highly personal response, a response of trust and commitment and love, so the leading fisherman replied, 'We slaved all night and it was no good but if you say so, I'll do it.' He did, and the catch was so heavy that it took the combined strength of his partners to get it ashore safely. (Luke 5:1-11.)
Choosing to follow.
That story concerns the apostles, but probably most contemplative nuns would recognise in it the elements of their own vocation: a call of grace to 'launch out into the deep' away from what is familiar and controllable, a free decision to do so on the word of the one who calls, and some kind of certainty that this commitment to a venture which does not seem to make sense leads to a life of enormous fruitfulness for the Church.
This is not to say that a vocation to the contemplative life begins with some sort of special 'spiritual experience'; few nuns would claim that in their case it did. God can grasp a person through any kind of human experience and his ways of making his will known are very various. He often makes use of the intelligence and common sense he has himself created in us. But however the call is made known, it is always a personal grace demanding a fully personal, human, free response. The mainspring of the response is love, which is itself the work of grace and yet truly our own.
Contemporary philosophies have helped us to understand how much the human person grows and becomes himself through free decision. A young child is open to many possibilities and committed to none, but as he approaches adulthood, he has to decide what to do with his life, and the very word 'decide' comes from the Latin word de-cidere, to cut away. So to decide on any good thing means cutting away and sacrificing not only bad things but many other good alternatives that are not compatible with what we choose. And the more total our dedication to the good thing we feel called to choose, the greater will be the sacrifices entailed. There are plenty of instances of this in today's society; astronauts for example have to undergo rigorous training and give up many other enjoyable and interesting pursuits for the sake of the supreme effort they are to make in the service of science.
In our life with God, a radical option may be asked of us that entails renunciation of many other good things, ways of serving God and the Church and mankind, or possibilities of human development. A girl or young woman whom God calls to be a contemplative nun has to make such a choice. She can do it only through living personal faith in the God whose word has come to her and will continue to call her throughout her life. This is a very direct and personal obedience to the will of God as she has discovered it, and it is the foundation of all the obedience she will have to practise in her religious life. It implies too a self-acceptance and an acknowledgment of her own limitations; she cannot do everything, orient her life in all directions at once, and follow every kind of worth-while career, so what matters is that she should do wholeheartedly what God asks of her, leaving him to see that her life serves his purpose.
A new exodus.
She makes herself fully available to God, and in order to do so she goes into the desert. This is another biblical theme. God called the Hebrews out of Egypt when he wanted to make them his own people and pledged himself in love to them through the covenant. He called individuals into the desert at important times to renew this experience of intimacy with God. (1 Kings 19; and see Hosea 2:16-25; Luke 1: 80.) Jesus was 'driven' by the Spirit into the desert to confront God and himself after the experience of his baptism and before taking up his messianic work. (Mark 1:12.). Every Christian undergoes this personal exodus in some way: our baptism is a breaking free from the life of the 'old man' or the slavery of Egypt, and on Easter night, we celebrate our new exodus in Christ. A contemplative nun is called to follow Christ into the desert in a particular way, that with him she may listen to the word of God and be open to the Spirit. The monastery is her desert; she enters it in faith and love and repentance, not knowing what God will give or ask. She simply says 'Yes' to God.
As time passes, she grows more deeply into the mystery of this life she has entered. She has chosen silence and stillness, yet these are somehow more powerful than all feverish activity. She has given up everything that is supposed to make life worth living, yet she finds a joy and fullness of life that she did not know before. She sets out alone, and yet finds that in a community where there is 'one heart and one soul' and where 'everything is held in common' (Acts 4:32.) she is discovering the mysterious union of all believers in Christ; her life is a strange blend of aloneness with God and joyful communion with others, and these things are not contradictory because both stem from love.
She seeks God daily in prayer, increasingly aware of her emptiness and inability to pray but at the same time convinced that prayer matters above all and that it is more God's work than hers. Her prayer is a lonely, dark path through a wilderness, yet there is an inexplicable certainty that God understands, and every day at Mass and in the office, she is one with the members of a worshipping community who are drawn in their common prayer into closest union with God and one another. She gives herself to God in love and fidelity, discovering her own weakness and need of his mercy and yet finding that this very poverty of spirit is somehow a help.
Withdrawal from some of the noise and turmoil of modern living is necessary if a life like this is to be real, for concentration is a condition for any great undertaking. Enclosure has to some extent characterised the life of nuns from earliest times. It is a sign and guarantee of their renunciation of aspects of life that are merely this worldly, and it helps to keep them free for the work they are called to do. Since the Council of Trent, it has often been symbolised by grilles, but grilles are not essential to enclosure and recent directives of the Church have paid more attention to local cultural conditions.
("The papal cloister for nuns totally dedicated to contemplation is to be retained. Still, it should be modified according to conditions of time and place, and outdated customs done away with. In such matters, consideration should be given to the wishes of the monasteries themselves." Vatican II, Perfectae Caritatis, 16.)
A nun does not choose enclosure for its own sake; she cannot love something negative. The closer she is to God the more she will love all whom He loves and whom His Son came to save. But she may know that the renunciations implied by enclosed religious life are part of her vocation, the other side of the coin.
Mere entrance into an enclosed contemplative monastery is, however, not an automatic recipe for holiness. Any profession has its occupational hazards, and the life of enclosed nuns is no exception: selfishness, pettiness, narrowness of mind and the possibility of remaining immature are not excluded by locked doors but only by an ever renewed willingness to hear the word of God that calls us forth from ourselves. Another characteristic hazard is what the ancient monks called acedia, a kind of desperate boredom and dullness to the things of God. The only cure for this is a deepening in faith. Someone has said that if we are bored in the desert, at any rate there is no doubt about who the bore is.
There is a common misconception that life in a contemplative community is defined by heroic abstention from work. Anyone who tries it with this in mind will be disappointed. The conditions of enclosure generally exclude a visible external apostolate such as teaching or nursing, but regular hard work, whether manual or mental, forms part of the programme of all contemplative communities. Pope Pius XII's 'Apostolic Constitution Sponsa Christi' reminded contemplatives of their duty to earn their living, and even where economic pressures do not make it inevitable contemplative nuns are aware of their solidarity with all mankind in this duty to work. Saint Benedict made manual labour an essential element in monastic life, and most other founders of orders living in a contemplative style have followed him. Apart from services to the community and the upkeep of the house, various forms of service for others, such as making altar breads, arts, crafts, printing and translating, can be carried on in an enclosed community.
Hospitality is also a significant form of work in many houses. None of these activities are undertaken for their own sake, however, and the essential apostolate of the contemplative life is independent of them. Enclosed nuns find their apostolate summed up in the words of Vatican II: "Fired by the love which the Holy Spirit pours out into their hearts, they live their lives increasingly for Christ and for his Body which is the Church. Consequently, the more fervent their union with Christ through this giving of themselves, which includes the whole of their lives, the richer the life of the Church becomes and the more fruitful her apostolate." (Perfectae Caritatis 1.)
Dedication by vows: does a life commitment make sense?
The essential 'work' of a contemplative nun is therefore to commit herself with all her being to the love and worship of God. In this love affair, God has all the initiative, but by the power of his Spirit, she is slowly fashioned into a lover. She loses her life to find it; she gives herself away to God who created her and grows into a new freedom. Her commitment to him is rooted in her baptism and is reaffirmed in the vows by which her life is taken up into the one sacrifice of Christ.
A life commitment so total, often undertaken early in life, is thought by many in the unstable society of today to be humanly impossible. In the second half of the twentieth century people are increasingly aware of the contingency, uncertainty and impermanence of human existence, and if there is one value that is generally honoured it is authenticity in one's personal life at every stage. [True words for the twenty-first century, as well] How can it be possible, then, to vow one's whole life to God at 25 or so, and to preserve simultaneously in the years that follow both constant fidelity to one's pledged word and authenticity as one grows and changes?
The answer can only be our Lord's answer to the apostles' question after the rich young man had turned away. . . . 'With men it is impossible, but not with God.' (Mark 10:27.) When a nun makes her profession, she is risking everything into the hands of God, believing that he has called her and is still calling her, that he wants this adventure, that though she cannot see into the future and know how she will feel in 40 years' time, he can see now all that she will become. So her vocation is not something that happens only at the beginning; it is an ongoing relationship in which God gives himself and asks her to surrender herself unreservedly in return. She can be faithful to her vows because 'God is faithful' (1 Corinthians 1:9) but this fidelity will be not something static but a deepening and more costly commitment, a continuing 'Yes' to all that was implicit in the initial self-giving, a consent to be used by God, in ways obscure and mysterious to herself, in his plan of salvation.
LIFE IN THE CHURCH.
The Church as a Body.
When Jesus was trying to tell the apostles what the innermost essence of the Church and of salvation was like, he, told them he was the vine, and they were its branches (John 15.) Their business was to remain organically united to him in order that his life might course freely through them and all their activity. This organic union was to be maintained and increased by love and faith, and only in the measure that it remained a living reality would their lives be fruitful. Saint Paul (who was a townsman and on the whole not as fond of agricultural parables as our Lord was) preferred to teach the same message in terms of a body with its diversified organs: 'The body is one but its parts are many, yet all together form one body, and it is the same with Christ.' (1 Corinthians 12:12 and following verses.)
Modern evolutionary thinking has perhaps helped us to understand Saint Paul better. Living organisms, as they ascend from the most primitive forms to mammals and man, display increasing complexity and diversification in the structure and function of their organs, but the more complex they are the more powerful the principle of co-ordination and unity, we have only to think of the almost unimaginable coordination achieved through the human brain. So, Saint Paul goes on to show, it is right that there should be apostles, prophets, teachers, administrators and the rest in the Church, for these are like the eyes, ears, hands and feet of the body. The body needs them all and each part needs the others. Their functions are different but are necessary, and all make for the vitality of the whole body provided that they truly work in response to the one Spirit who animates it (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). The body is Christ, and Christ's mysteries are lived out in fullness only in the whole Church. No single one of us is big enough to be Christ. But through the members of his Church, Christ who prayed constantly to his Father, often at night, Christ who preached, healed, taught and suffered, continues his saving mysteries in space and time.
'Love at the heart.'
But there is one 'function' or gift in the body which is vital above all, and without which its whole activity would be sterile and useless, and that is love. All prophetic powers, wisdom, almsgiving, even martyrdom, Saint Paul teaches, would be futile if love were not the life force that energised in them (1 Corinthians 13). This was the truth that dawned on Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus and gave her the key to her vocation: 'I understood that the most necessary, the most noble organ would not be missing in the body of the Church. I understood that the Church had a heart and that this heart was on fire with love. I understood that love alone makes the members of the Church act, and that if love were lacking the apostles would no longer preach the Gospel, and the martyrs no longer shed their blood. . . . Yes, I have found my place in the Church . . . at the heart of the Church, I will be love. . . ." (Letter to Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart.) This is the universal apostolate of contemplatives, to be love at the heart of the Church. In an address to nuns in July 1962, Pope John reminded them of it: 'The contribution of the contemplatives is so important to the apostolate that Pope Pius XI chose as co-patron of the missions, on equal terms with Saint Francis Xavier, not a sister of an active order but a Carmelite, Saint Teresa of the Child Jesus. Yes, all the needs of the Church Militant ought to find a place in your minds and hearts. To no disaster, no struggle or calamity, should you be strangers; no scientific discovery, no phase of culture, no social or political movement should make you think, "These things do not concern us." Let the Church feel that you are present wherever your spiritual contribution is required for the good of souls and for true human progress and universal peace.'
Contemplative communities receive huge numbers of requests for prayer for specific needs, from people known or unknown to them. Intercession for the needs of all mankind is part of their business. Even in the Old Testament the prayer of a man of God prevailed in times of disaster (e.g. Abraham's prayer, Genesis 18:22-32; Moses' prayer, Exodus 17:8-16, and 32:9-14). Under the New Covenant, we have our Lord's guarantee that our prayer will be heard: 'Whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.' (John 16:23.) The answer may not always come at the time or in the way that we expect. But whether the intentions are publicly mentioned at Mass or in the office or whether the sisters simply bear these needs in their hearts as they stand before God in prayer, there is a heightening of the conscious realisation of our union with one another, in the Spirit of the risen Christ.
Living the paschal mystery.
But such an involvement in the mystery of salvation “at the heart of the Church” cannot be a matter only of interest or even loving concern, it must be lived. Salvation is achieved in the cross and resurrection of Christ, and though he won a superabundant redemption he cares enough about our dignity and freedom to want us as his collaborators in the work his Father gave him to do. 'I fill up in my body what is wanting to the sufferings of Christ', says Saint Paul, 'for his body which is the Church (Col 1:24). In one sense, nothing can be wanting, but in another sense, Christ waits for us to pray, love and suffer with him and in him. And he gives us his Spirit, so that just as he, rising from the dead, 'lives unto God' (Romans 6:10) we too 'may live no longer for ourselves but for him who died and rose again for us.' (See 2 Corinthians 5:15, and Eucharistic Prayer IV.) This is the responsibility of all Christians. The life of contemplative nuns is an effort to bear that responsibility; their life is 'hidden with Christ in God' in the mystery of Easter. (Col 3:3-4.)
Speaking of his approaching death, Jesus compared himself to the wheat grain, a single grain at first, but destined to fall into the ground and die and so give life to a plentiful harvest (John 12:24). The same law of ‘life-out-of-death’ holds good for his disciples, and for the Church as a whole as she is born of the paschal dying and rising of Christ. She asks of the Lord what Rachel asked of Jacob: 'Give me children', (Genesis 30:1) but she knows that only by consenting to the paschal mystery will she be fruitful. At this level, the most real fecundity of the contemplative life in the Church is to be sought. A contemplative nun cannot prove that her life is not wasted; she cannot point to the souls she has helped to save, the sinners converted, the babies baptised, and say, 'These are mine.' Life is conceived and grows in hiddenness; 'the seed grows of itself (see Mark 4:26 and following verses,) in the dark, in seeming death. But unless there are those in the Church who are prepared to go down in the 'death' of faith to the darkness where life is rooted, the new growth of renewal above the surface of the ground will not be fed and will wither. It is the Spirit who renews the face of the earth, and he is poured out through the death and glorification of Jesus. (John 7:39, 19:30, 20:19 and following verses.) In the measure that contemplatives are united to their Lord in his Easter mystery they will be open to the Spirit and will be instruments in the renewal, the new Pentecost, for which Pope John prayed.
Listening to the word
The Church enters into the mystery of Christ as she listens to the word of God. The Spirit 'who spoke through the prophets' shaped the infant Church and her tradition, and inspired the life giving word of the scriptures. This is not a dead letter but still the ever new, powerful word of life for believers today, as it is proclaimed and listened to in the Church. Contemplative nuns seldom have occasion to proclaim it, but it is especially their role to receive it, like Mary who 'kept all these words, pondering them in her heart.' (Luke 2:18, 2:51.) In them the Church listens, humbly and prayerfully, ready to let the word take life and grow and judge. It is in this prayerful listening that theology is born, for the Church will never exhaust the mystery of Christ revealed to her through the Spirit who speaks in the scriptures. 'The tradition which comes from the apostles develops in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. There is a growth in insight into the realities and words that are being passed on. This comes about in various ways. It comes through the contemplation and study of believers who ponder these things in their hearts. It comes from the intimate sense of spiritual realities which they experience. And it comes from preaching. . . ." (Vatican II, Dei Verbum 8.) This listening to the word in the heart of the Church is almost a description of the life of a contemplative nun.
Only because her role is to be the Church - faithful to Christ, sharing his Passover, led by his Spirit and listening to his word - is the nun honoured by the title given in scripture to the Church herself: Bride of Christ. And because the Church knows that her own vocation and her own inmost reality are mirrored and made present in the vocation of her contemplatives, Vatican II insisted on the need for contemplative presence in mission territories. ("By their prayers, works of penance and sufferings, contemplative Communities play a great part in conversions. For it is God who, in response to prayer, sends workers into his harvest, who opens the minds of non-christians to hear the Good News, and who makes the word of salvation fruitful in their hearts. Such communities are urged to found houses in mission areas. . . . Living out their lives in a way suited to the traditions of the people, they can bear splendid witness there among non-christians to the majesty and love of God, and to the brotherhood of men in Christ.' Vatican II, Ad Gentes, 40. And see Ad Gentes, 18.)
LIFE IN THE MODERN WORLD.
Whether in mission countries or in the post-christian west, those called to contemplative life have withdrawn physically from the society of their fellow human beings only for the sake of a deeper spiritual involvement with the world and its needs. Thoughtful men today are searching for a meaning in life, for the secret of authentic human living, for true human community. They are restless and dissatisfied with materialism as an answer to the world's problems. There is wide-spread God-hunger, a longing for experience of God, a search for some kind of exposure to a reality that transcends man's achievements. 'Many people, including many of the young,' wrote Pope Paul in 1971, 'have lost sight of the meaning of their lives and are anxiously searching for the contemplative dimension of their being (Evangelica Testificatio, 45). For these the contemplative life, flourishing and encouraged by the Church, can be a witness to the reality of God, to his grace and the transforming power of his love, and to the fact that he is himself the ultimate satisfaction of the human heart.
The apostolate of hospitality practised in some contemplative houses can be a means of meeting this prevalent hunger for silence and peace. Contemplatives may help by listening, counselling, and above all helping people to pray. Contemplative prayer, the quieting of all our faculties in a wordless attention to God and a receptivity to his love, is no prerogative, of cloistered nuns, but should be an element in the life of every baptised Christian. Many people too who would not claim to be Christians are groping for it and need help and encouragement to persevere. Some of those who come in spiritual need to stay at contemplative monasteries may not be touched by any other form of the Church's apostolate, but will know with uncanny intuition whether a community is living a deep life of prayer.
Contemplative nuns have chosen to live at the heart of the struggle between good and evil which rages at every period of the history of the world but which has taken virulent forms in our day. The human family is perplexed with the problem of power, of how to control with wisdom the enormous forces placed by science at its disposal. But love is the mightiest source of power in the, world, and because of the solidarity of mankind, contemplatives believe that lives handed over to love can make a difference.
Can they prove it? No. A life given to God in that way is a venture of faith. They are like Moses who 'held to his purpose, as seeing him who is invisible.' (Hebrews 11:27.)
Since the author is a Benedictine, this
pamphlet is inevitably written from a Benedictine standpoint, but an effort has
been made to keep it general enough to be valid for other traditions too. What
was said in the text about diversity of functions in the body of Christ is true
also of the rich variety within the contemplative religious life, even in Great
Britain. Though all share the role in the life of the Church outlined above,
each order or congregation has its own emphasis, traditions and outlook, each
is inspired by the memory and helped by the intercession of its own saints. A
list of contemplative houses of women in England, Wales and Scotland is given
below. It is confined to those which have no schools, though other communities
not listed, combine the contemplative spirit with external works. Further
information can be obtained from Directory of Religious Orders, Congregations
and Societies of Great Britain and Ireland, published biennially by John S.
Burns & Sons, Glasgow.
[For the sake of the historical record, we reproduce the list as written in 1973. We will attempt to append up-to date contacts as at 2012.]
COMMUNITIES OF NUNS
IN ENGLAND, SCOTLAND AND WALES.
CHELSEA, 28 Beaufort Street, Chelsea, London, S.W.3.
LIVERPOOL, 305, Edge Lane, Liverpool, L7 9LE.
ST MARGARET'S BAY, Annunciade Convent, St Margaret's Bay, Dover, Kent.
(1) English Congregation:
COLWICH, St Mary's Abbey, Colwich, Staffordshire.
HOLME EDEN, St Scholastica's Abbey, Holme Eden, Carlisle.
STANBROOK, St Mary's Abbey, Stanbrook, Callow End. Worcester.
TALACRE, St Mary's Abbey, Gronant, Prestatyn, North Wales.
(2) Solesmes Congregation:
RYDE, St Cecilia's Abbey, Ryde, Isle of Wight.
(3) Under Jurisdiction of Bishop of Diocese:
FERNHAM, St Mary's Priory, Fernham, Faringdon, Berkshire.
HASLEMERE, St Mary's Abbey, Haslemere, Surrey.
MINSTER, Minster Abbey, Ramsgate, Kent.
OULTON, Oulton Abbey, Stone, Staffordshire.
TEIGNMOUTH, St Scholastica's Abbey, Teignmouth, South Devon.
(4) Congregation of Adorers of the
TYBURN, Tyburn Convent, 8, Hyde Park Place, London, W.2. 2LJ.
WADHURST, St Benedict's Priory, Beechlands, Wadhurst, Sussex.
SYON, Syon Abbey, Marley, South Brent, Devon.
Canonesses Regular of the Lateran:
NEWTON ABBOT, St Augustine's Priory, Newton Abbot, South Devon.
Carmelites of the Teresian Reform:
(1) From Belgium in 1794:
LANHERNE, Lanherne Carmel, Newquay, Cornwall.
CHICHESTER, Carmelite Convent, Chichester, Sussex.
DARLINGTON, Carmelite Convent, Darlington, County Durham.
(2) From Lyons:
GOLDERS GREEN, Carmelite Convent, Bridge Lane, London, N.W.11.
(3) Founded from Notting Hill, London:
ST CHARLES' SQUARE, Carmelite Convent St Charles' Square, Notting Hill, London, W. 1 0.
BIRKENHEAD, Carmelite Convent, Grosvenor Road, Birkenhead, L43 IUA.
BIRMINGHAM, Carmelite Convent, 345, Church Road, Yardley, Birmingham, B25 8XR.
BRANKSOME, Carmelite Convent, Branksome Park, Bournemouth.
BRIDELL, Carmelite Convent, Bridell, Cilgerran, South Wales.
DOLGELLY, Carmelite Convent, Dolgelly, North Wales.
DUMBARTON, Carmelite Convent, Helenslea Road, Dumbarton, Scotland.
DYSART, Carmelite Convent, Dysart, Fife, Scotland.
EDINBURGH, Carmelite Convent, 4, Spylaw Road, Edinburgh.
FALKIRK, Carmelite Convent, Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland.
GLASGOW, Carmelite Convent, Mansion House Road, Langside, Glasgow.
KIRKINTILLOCH, Carmelite Convent, Kirkintilloch, Dunbartonshire, Scotland (founded from Glasgow).
LINTON, Carmelite Convent, Wood Hall, Linton, near Wetherby, Yorkshire.
LIVERPOOL, Carmelite Convent, West Derby, Liverpool, L12 9HY.
LLANDOVERY, Carmelite Convent, Llandovery, Carinarthen, Wales.
OBAN, Carmelite Convent, Oban, Argyllshire, Scotland.
PRESTEIGNE, Carmelite Convent, Presteigne, Radnor, Wales.
PRESTON, Carmelite Convent, Fulwood, Preston, Lancashire.
QUIDENHAM, Carmelite Convent, Quidenham, Norwich, Norfolk.
SAFFRON WALDEN, Carmelite Convent, Saffron Walden, Essex.
SALFORD, Carmelite Convent, Vine Street, Kersal, Salford, M7 OPS.
ST HELENS, Carmelite Convent, Springfield, St Helens, Lancashire.
TAVISTOCK, Carmelite Convent, Tavistock, North Devon.
UPHOLLAND, Carmelite Convent, Upholland, Wigan, Lancashire.
WARE, Carmelite Convent, Ware, Hertfordshire.
WATERBEACH, Carmelite Convent, Waterbeach, near Cambridge.
YORK, Carmelite Convent, Thicket Priory, Thorganby, York.
BLACKBURN, Carmelite Convent, 11, Meins Road, Blackburn, Lancashire.
STAPEHILL, Holy Cross Abbey, Stapehill, near Wimborne, Dorset.
Dominicans of the Second Order:
CARISBROOKE, St Dominic's Priory, Carisbrooke, Isle of Wight.
GLASGOW, St Dominic's Convent, 61 Hamilton Avenue, Glasgow, S.1.
Franciscans of the Third Order Regular
WOODCHESTER, Franciscan Convent, Woodchester, Stroud, Gloucestershire.
DAVENTRY, Our Lady of the Passion Monastery, Badby Road., Daventry, Northamptonshire.
(1) of the First Rule:
DARLINGTON, St Clare's Abbey, Darlington, County Durham.
SCLERDER, Sclerder Abbey, Looe, Cornwall.
ARUNDEL, Convent of Poor Clares, Cross Bush, Arundel.
BADDESLEY CLINTON, Convent of Poor Clares, Baddesley Clinton, Solihull, Warwickshire.
BARNET, Convent of Poor Clares, Galley Lane, Arkley, Barnet, Herefordshire.
BLANTYRE, Convent of Poor Clares, Blantyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland.
BULLINGHAM, Convent of Poor Clares, Bullingham, Hereford.
ELLESMERE, Convent of Poor Clares, Ellesmere, Shropshire.
HAWARDEN, Convent of Poor Clares, Hawarden, Deeside, Flintshire.
LIBERTON, Convent of Poor Clares, Lasswade Road, Liberton, Edinburgh.
LIVERPOOL, Convent of Poor Clares, Green Lane, Mossley Hill, Liverpool L18 2ES.
LYNTON, Convent of Poor Clares, Lynton, North Devonshire.
MANCHESTER, Convent of Poor Clares, Clare Road, Levenshulme, Manchester.
NEATH, Convent of Poor Clares, Neath, Glamorganshire.
NOTTINGHAM, Convent of Poor Clares, Brooklyn Road, Bulwell, Nottingham.
SOUTHHAMPTON, Convent of Poor Clares, Bracken Lane, Shirley Warren, Southampton.
YORK, Convent of Poor Clares, Lawrence Street, York.
CHUDLEIGH, Redemptoristine Convent, Chudleigh, South Devonshire.
Servites of the Second Order:
BOGNOR REGIS, Convent of Our Lady of Dolours, Hawthame Road, Bognor Regis, Sussex.
Sisters of Jesus Crucified:
CASTLE CARY, St John's Priory, Castle Cary, Somerset.
PARTRIDGE GREEN, Monastery of the Visitation, Lock House, Partridge Green, Sussex.
WALDRON, Monastery of the Visitation, Waldron, near Heathfield, Sussex.
[Here is the
latest listing, as at 2012:
(1) English Congregation:
COLWICH, St Mary's Abbey, Colwich, Staffordshire, ST18 0UF.
STANBROOK Abbey, St Mary’s Abbey, Wass, York, YO61 4AY.
CHESTER, ‘Talacre’ Abbey, Benedictine Abbey, 10 Curzon Park South, Chester CH4 8AB.
RYDE, St Cecilia's Abbey, Ryde, Isle of Wight, PO33 1LH.
(3) Under Jurisdiction of Bishop of Diocese:
FERNHAM, St Mary's Priory, Fernham, Faringdon, Oxfordshire SN7 7PP.
MINSTER, Minster Abbey, Ramsgate, Kent, CT12 4BX,
OULTON, Oulton Abbey, Stone, Staffordshire, ST15 8UP.
of Adorers of the Sacred Heart:
TYBURN, Tyburn Convent, 8, Hyde Park Place, London, W.2. 2LJ.
Now only in CHESTER.
SYON, Syon Abbey, Marley, South Brent, Devon, TQ10 9JX.
the Teresian Reform:
(1) From Belgium in 1794:
SCLERDER, (Cornwall), Carmelite Monastery, Sclerder, Looe, Cornwall PL13 2JD.
DARLINGTON, Darlington, (County Durham), Carmelite Convent, Nunnery Lane, Darlington DL3 9PN.
(2) From Lyons:
GOLDERS GREEN, Community of the Holy Family, St Vincent's Road, Fulwood, Preston, PR2 8QA.
(3) Founded from
Notting Hill, London:
ST CHARLES SQUARE, Notting Hill, (London), Carmelite Monastery, 87 St Charles Square, London, W10 6EA.
BIRKENHEAD, (Merseyside), Carmelite Monastery, Grosvenor Place, Birkenhead, Prenton, Merseyside, CH43 1UA.
DOLGELLY, Dolgellau, Carmelite Monastery, Cader Road, Dolgellau, Gwynedd, LL40 1SH, North Wales.
DUMBARTON, (Clydeside), Carmelite Monastery, 17 Helenslee Road, Dumbarton, G82 4AN.
DYSART, (Kirkcaldy), Carmelite Monastery, Dysart, Kirkcaldy, Fife KY1 2TF.
FALKIRK, (Stirlingshire), Carmelite Monastery, 3 Arnothill, Falkirk, Stirlingshire, FK1 5RZ.
GLASGOW, Carmelite Monastery, Waterside Road, Kirkintilloch, Glasgow, G66 3PE.
SHEFFIELD (Kirk Edge), Carmelite Monastery, Kirk Edge, High Bradfield, Sheffield, S6 6LJ.
YORK (Thicket Priory), Carmelite Monastery, Thicket Priory, York, YO19 6DE.
LIVERPOOL, Carmelite Monastery, Honeysgreen Lane, Liverpool, L12 9HY.
PRESTON, (Lancashire), Carmelite Monastery, St Vincent's Road, Fulwood, Preston, PR2 8QA.
QUIDENHAM, (Norfolk), Carmelite Monastery, Quidenham, Norwich, Norfolk, NR16 2PH.
WOLVERHAMPTON, (West Midlands), Carmelite Monastery, Poplar Road, Penn Fields, Wolverhampton, WV3 7DP.
ST HELENS, (Merseyside), Carmelite Monastery, Green Lane, Eccleston, St Helens, Merseyside, WA10 5HH.
UPHOLLAND, (Lancashire), Carmelite Monastery, Upholland, Skelmersdale, Lancashire, WN8 0QE.
WARE, (Hertfordshire), Carmelite Monastery, Ware Park, Ware, Hertfordshire, SG12 0DT.
WOOD HALL, (Wetherby), Carmelite Monastery, Trip Lane, Linton, Wetherby, West Yorkshire, LS22 4HZ.
BLACKBURN, Carmelite Convent, 11, Meins Road, Blackburn, Lancashire, BB2 6QQ.
Holy Cross Abbey, Whitland, Pembrokeshire, Wales, SA34 0QX.
the Third Order Regular Enclosed:
WOODCHESTER, Franciscan Convent of the Poor Clares, Woodchester, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 5HS.
ARUNDEL, Convent of Poor Clares, Cross Bush, Arundel, BN18 9PJ.
BARNET, Convent of Poor Clares, Galley Lane, Arkley, Barnet, Hertfordshire, EN5 4AN.
GLASGOW Poor Clare Monastery, Fallside Road, Bothwell, Glasgow, Scotland, G71 8BA.
HEREFORD Poor Clare Monastery, Much Birch, Hereford HR2 8PS.
ELLESMERE, Convent of Poor Clares, Ellesmere, Shropshire. SY12 0PA.
HAWARDEN, Convent of Poor Clares, Hawarden, Deeside, Flintshire, Wales, CH5 3EN.
HUMBIE Convent of Poor Clares, Mount Alvernia, 2 Humbie Mains, Humbie, East Lothian, EH36 5PW.
LYNTON, Convent of Poor Clares, Lynton, North Devonshire, EX35 6BX.
NOTTINGHAM, Convent of Poor Clares, Brooklyn Road, Bulwell, Nottingham, NG6 9ET.
SOUTHHAMPTON, Convent of Poor Clares, 22 Upper Church Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, TN37 7AS.
YORK, Convent of Poor Clares, Lawrence Street, York, YO10 3EB.
LIVERPOOL, Redemptoristine Convent, Back Gillmoss Lane, Liverpool, England, L11 0AY.
Servites of the
BOGNOR REGIS, St Juliana’s Convent, Marian Way, Bognor Regis, West Sussex, PO21 1PA.
WALDRON, Monastery of the Visitation, Foxhunt Green, Waldron, near Heathfield, East Sussex, TN21 0RX.
Keep them all in your prayers.]