The purpose of monastic observance, especially enclosure and silence,
is that the Word of God may dwell abundantly in the Monastery. (Constitutions of the Dominican Nuns)
This Word is first of all a Person –
Jesus Christ, the Word of God.
In Christ and because of him
we are capable of hearing
and speaking with God
as friend, lover, and Father.
The cloister brings to mind that space in the heart where every person is called to union with the Lord.
Accepted as a gift and chosen as a free response of love, the cloister is the place of spiritual communion with God and with others - the place where we become more acutely aware of the need of God's mercy for ourselves and for our broken and restless world. (cf Vita Consecrata - Pope John Paul II)
While our lives are spent for the most part within the confines of the monastery and its grounds, this hidden life is meant to open our hearts and minds to the breadth, height and depth of the love of God Who sent His Son so that the whole world might be saved through Him.
Our enclosure provides us with a space in which we learn not to flee from God’s friendship nor from each other – rather it is the space where we can be with the Lord in a special way as we try to perpetuate Dominic’s gift of bearing sinners, the downtrodden and the afflicted in the inmost sanctuary of his compassion. (cf Constitutions & Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP)