Building the Contemplative Life in the Garden State

AN NRO INTERVIEW by Kathryn Jean LopezMarch 11, 2015 4:00 AM

Sr. Mary Catharine Dominican Nuns Summit An hour from midtown Manhattan, a Dominican cloister looks to expand. About an hour’s train ride from midtown Manhattan is one of the most peaceful and joyous spots I’ve found in the Northeast corridor. It’s a monastery that’s home to a group of cloistered Dominican nuns. The chapel there at their Rosary Shrine exposes the Blessed Sacrament for Adoration daily. Along with the perpetual prayers of the nuns, it is as a beacon from a summit — Summit being their mailing address in New Jersey. (And hence the address from where their soaps and the occasional puzzle are shipped.)

Pope Francis has called a “Year of Consecrated Life” in the Catholic Church, meant be a time for prayerful focus on the countercultural witness of lives lived so radically. In a letter to consecrated men and women, he said, in part: I am counting on you “to wake up the world,” since the distinctive sign of consecrated life is prophecy. As I told the Superiors General:

“Radical evangelical living is not only for religious: it is demanded of everyone. But religious follow the Lord in a special way, in a prophetic way.” This is the priority that is needed right now: “to be prophets who witness to how Jesus lived on this earth . . . a religious must never abandon prophecy.”

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