Silence and Solitude

Our Lady remained, silent, in adoration of her Son… and from the sanctuary of her Immaculate Heart a hymn of praise and thanksgiving rose up unceasingly to God.

— Columba Marmion

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The Benedictine of Mary, Queen of Apostles, is “silent by vocation, articulate by mission.” (Dom Hubert Van Zeller) To cultivate an atmosphere for prayer, we keep silent as we work.

This silence is broken only to ask questions or give instructions concerning work. Before one of us even asks a question, she first asks a blessing from her senior. The question, answer and or instruction is given briefly and quietly, then both return to silence.

To curtail talking, we make use of ancient Cistercian sign language. If a simple sign can be used, recollection is better preserved.

After Compline and until Prime the next day, the “Grand Silence” is maintained. All speech, except in cases of grave necessity, is forbidden at this time.

The Grand Silence is reserved especially for communication of the heart with God alone. The more one cultivates silence of heart, the more she is able “to be still and see that He is God.”

Time for solitude and silent prayer is allotted within the times for Lectio Divina. This time is the fulcrum for prayerful recollection during the Office and Manual Labor.

In separation from the world, the Benedictines observe “constitutional enclosure,” to facilitate our particular charism of availability to priests and necessary errands may be done while keeping an integrated community life.

We do not make “home visits,” since the Priory is our home. Rather, our families may come visit us two times a year, and may visit by phone when one of the customary visits to the Priory is not possible.

The Sisters are permitted to receive mail, and write three letters each month outside of the penitential seasons of Advent and Lent.

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