Four hundred years ago the Visitation Nuns didn't have a Web site. Nor did they release a musical CD.
Many things have changed throughout the four centuries of the community's existence, yet so much has remained the same.
The habit the nuns wear is identical to that of the first women who began the order in Annecy, France, in 1610. They write their vows in a "vow book" every Nov. 21 as did the nuns who came before them. In fact, three Visitation nuns who visited France last year were able to write their names in the order's original vow book.
Their response to God's call lately has been drawing a lot of interest from outside the community.
"It goes in waves and right now we are onto a wave where a lot of people are inquiring about our life," said Mother Mary Ruth.
She noted that three applications were given out in one month recently. "There's an enormous amount of interest in religious life and somehow more in the monastic life," she added. "Who can account for that except for the working of the Holy Spirit?"
At Mont Deux Coeurs a typical day involves morning prayer, the chanting of the Divine Office, Mass, breakfast, work, more prayer, classes for those in formation, lunch, recreation, midday prayer, quiet time, work, supper, recreation and evening prayer followed by the "great silence" and bedtime.
Gesturing at her religious habit, Sister Mary Emmanuel said: "Although we dress like this, we are not in the Middle Ages. We are very relevant to today. We're interested in the events that are occurring in the world because that's what our prayers center on. We bring this to the Lord. We bring it to our prayer."
[Full CNS article]
image: Christ Adored by Two Nuns, Alessandro Magnasco, 1715