“Amid the hurried and noisy activities of our lives, the unseen life of monastic men and cloistered women continues to draw interest,” said Michael Wick, Executive Director of the Institute on Religious Life (IRL) in Libertyville, IL. “What better way to allow everyone to learn more about this hidden life than to provide an inside look at this remarkable vocation.”
The website, at www.CloisteredLife.com, is sponsored by the IRL. The IRL is working closely with cloistered communities to feature updates, reflections and other features that explain their unique calling to others. The website carries news items, timely videos on cloistered life, and personal testimonies sharing the story of their vocations. “With the Internet, it’s possible for these religious to share a glimpse of their lives while maintaining a life of strict enclosure,” Wick said.
Interest in cloistered vocations is on the rise. CloisteredLife.com has seen a 25% increase in the number of visitors in the last year compared to previous months. “This increase reflects the notion that the human heart seeks deeper meaning and purpose,” noted Wick. “Visitors to our website wish ‘something more’ to their lives, discovering that God alone can fully satisfy their needs.”
Pope Benedict XVI has often spoken of the tremendous value of the cloistered, contemplative life. Speaking to a group of cloistered Dominican nuns in June, he compared the role of the cloistered nuns in their life of contemplation, work and prayer to the heart that gives life-giving blood to the rest of the body. Pope Benedict said that their lives were “hidden with Christ,” and that they significantly contribute to the mission of the Church.
In February, during a Wednesday audience in Rome, the Holy Father said of contemplative religious, “only in Paradise will we comprehend how much the prayer of the cloistered accompanies effective apostolic action!”
CloisteredLife.com, launched in 2005, features resources for each year’s celebration of Pro Orantibus Day, which is Nov. 21. Pro Orantibus is a day of prayer for those in cloistered communities. The updated website also features testimonies of nuns and monks who found their vocation, as well as literature and other resources, including a glossary on the contemplative and cloistered life.
The website was designed by TreeFrogClick, Inc., based in the Chicago area.
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The Institute on Religious Life (IRL) promotes and supports the growth, development, and renewal of the consecrated life—particularly vowed religious life—as a gift to the Catholic Church and an evangelical witness to the world.