Our Dominican Vocation
to Contemplative Monastic Life
Monastic life is essentially about taking on the mind and heart of Christ so that we can say ever more truly and with growing conviction “I live now not I but Christ lives and loves in and through me.” (cf Gal 2:20). It is a life long journey which entails continual conversion and struggle against our selfishness and sinful inclinations so that we may grow in true freedom – a freedom not like the world offers but a freedom from all that hinders us from truly responding with our “yes” to God’s invitations in whatever circumstances we may find ourselves as we grow in our faith and knowledge of His personal love for each of us.
We remember Jesus’ words to his disciples in St John’s Gospel:
“If you make my word your home
You will indeed by my disciples
You will come to know the truth
And the truth will make you free” (Jn 8:31)
Our way of life is radically opposed to everything to which our modern secular society tries to entice us – we are told that in order to be happy we need unbridled sex, possessions far beyond what we need and power to do whatever we decide regardless of others. Our world desperately needs to hear other stories – the story of God’s love for humankind and how our true happiness is found in living in close union with Him. Pope Francis and St John Paul II reminded us that the “great challenge facing us, religious, today is to persevere in seeking God with the eyes of faith in a world which ignores His presence and to continue to offer that world Christ’s life of chastity, poverty and obedience as a credible and trustworthy sign.” (cf VDq 2; VC 68).
Our vocation is a 'mystery', a gift of God, a call revealing itself only gradually - an irresistible attraction drawing us to the Lord, freeing our hearts from attachment to material things and enabling us to freely offer ourselves in love to the Lord. Like St. Paul we 'consider everything as complete loss for the sake of what is so much more valuable, the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord'. Single young women attracted to this way of life are welcome to attend any of our vocation weekends.
Who are called to contemplative monastic life?
The sisters in our community have come from all walks of life, from various backgrounds, have entered at different ages; some have had a long search for the Lord’s will, some have had a lot of work experience while others have come shortly after school or college. Whatever the history of our vocation may be, “we strive to accept and cherish each other as members of the same body, differing in talent and temperament but equal in the common bond of charity and profession.” (cf Constitutions of Dominican Nuns).
We welcome enquiries from young single women aged 20 to 40 years.
Usually when a young woman feels an attraction to our way of life she can make contact with us through this website (click here to access our contact form) or by phone and the prioress and novice mistress arrange to meet her in parlour or invite her to our retreat/guest area. After the initial contact if she wishes to continue and we consider that the Lord may be calling her we keep up the contact through correspondence or regular visits – either day visits or a few days depending on the candidate’s situation.
A few times during the year we host Vocation Weekends for young women who may be interested in learning more about monastic values and the life of Dominican Nuns. Since Covid 19 prevents us from hosting such weekends or inviting those interested to our retreat house we have been using Zoom for keeping in touch with young women who are interested – since it has proved to be very satisfactory we hope to continue with this medium of communication. It is particularly useful for those who live at a distance from our monastery or perhaps in the UK.
Why do young women dedicate themselves to our way of life?
Here are some responses from our sisters:
“From early childhood I had a great longing to dedicate myself wholly to Jesus as a missionary who would bring the knowledge of his love to those who did not know Him. Then one day I became aware that as a missionary I would be confined to one area and that in fact I could reach a limitless number of people through a life of prayer and sacrifice so I decided to follow the Lord’s call to the monastery.”
"A youthful longing to give myself totally to Jesus, coupled with an attraction to solitude led me to the monastery. Later I realised that Jesus had long before fallen in love with me - still later came the consciousness of a missionary outreach, and an endlessly hidden and deep apostolic adventure opened up for me."
"Compelled by an overwhelming and irresistible attraction for Jesus I entered the monastery seeking to come to a deeper knowledge and love of Him, believing that this radical way of life would facilitate this encounter with Him."
For many years I wanted to give myself to God in the religious life but my desire for the contemplative life grew from a daily visit to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Later I understood that love of God and of neighbour are two sides of the one coin. My aim since then has been to open myself to the work of the Holy Spirit and become an apostolic contemplative."
Anyone who has discovered Christ must lead others to Him. A great joy cannot be kept to oneself. It has to be passed on.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI
Monastery of St Catherine of Siena
Charities Registration No: 20010300