The Ideal and Idea…
Saint Mary Magdalene is the patron saint of contemplative life. As July 22nd, the feast day of Saint Mary Magdalene, approaches, we thought we would share the reflections of Mother Mary Joseph Rogers, Foundress of the Maryknoll Sisters, six years following the decision to create the long hoped for Cloister, a contemplative community within the Maryknoll Sisters Congregation.
“Our idea of a Cloister, of course, is quite different from that of any other Community. We were told by many that it would not be a success – that it couldn’t be done.
[The Cloister] ha[s] grown in a love of Maryknoll as a whole, of all things outside as a whole, and they have only one perfect accord with us and with everything that touches us, and to me that has been the test of our Cloister, because the fear was that they could not be a Cloister and be subject to us as an active Community, that this active Community couldn’t have a cloistered branch subject to it. But they have proven that this is, not only possible, but a glorious and beautiful reality. It is, as I said, the greatest source of joy to me, and I am sure that all of you in the mission field have been conscious of their sweet, loving, sisterly, prayerful interest in you.[…]
I never go back on the ideal and the idea that every Maryknoll Sister is a contemplative. […]And when I say ‘contemplative’, I do not mean in the sense of one set apart to dwell upon the things of God. I mean that we must be so trained, have so formed our affections… our inward gaze fixed solely upon Him[.]
And it is good for us to be here with this little group who have been set apart in a special way to pray for us, to sacrifice for us, and to help us keep alive in our hearts this ideal. I think one of the great works of the Cloister is to help to keep alive this spirit.”
~ Mother Mary Joseph Rogers, Discourses, “Chapter Meeting – Cloister,” July 16, 1937, p. 546-548