Annual Day of Commemoration for Contemplative and Cloistered Religious

“The habitation of a hermit” (1901) by Apollinary Vasnetsov (1856–1933)

“Every 21 November, the Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is the annual day that the Catholic Church commemorates the hidden life of cloistered and contemplative religious throughout the world.

This liturgical feast of Our Lady is very dear to Christians in the East who have celebrated it since the sixth century.

Tradition tells us that as a young girl Mary presented herself completely to God in the Temple at Jerusalem. She is seen as a true living temple in which God the Father placed his Son, our Saviour.
presentation 2
This feast is a fitting day on which to remember all those who have been consecrated to God and who spend their life in the silence and prayer of contemplative monasteries.

They may well be separated from the busy world, with all its interests and pleasures, but they remain very near to us with their prayers. They pray for us but we are normally unaware of the graces we receive through their lives of quiet dedication to the Lord….

Although they are hidden from society, people of faith have trust in the prayers of nuns and monks and friars. It is sufficient to visit any contemplative monastery to become aware of the constant stream of people who come with prayer intentions, trusting in the intercession of those who have completely dedicated their lives to God in continuous prayer and penance.

The busy world often passes by our contemplative monasteries, heedlessly unaware of their existence or of the spiritual influence they exert on society…

Although not a very common vocation in life, the Lord does call some, and will continue to do so, to this type of dedicated life on behalf of the Church….

The Church is well aware of the importance of the contemplative life. The Second Vatican Council (1962 – 1965) acknowledged the important role of contemplative communities in the Church. It said they were “a fount of heavenly blessings” and that they “lend lustre to God’s people with abundant fruits of holiness, sway them by their example and enlarge the Church by their hidden apostolic fruitfulness” (Perfectae Caritatis, 7).

All popes in recent times have expressed their appreciation for this way of life. In the Jubilee Year 2000, Blessed John Paul II asked Benediction Congregations to “be eloquent signs of the validity of monastic life for our contemporaries. ..

In their own silent but effective way they contribute enormously to the work of re-evangelisation of our secularised world.

+Philip Boyce
Bishop Philip Boyce OCD
“Contemplation” (1893?) by Jakub Schikaneder (1855–1924)

O Lord Whose Wisdom is beyond all human comprehension,
And whose Glory transcends all human understanding:
Thou callest some of Thy sons and daughters into hidden lives and concealed places,
That they may, unseen and unknown, strive to bear witness to that Wisdom and that Glory
In lives of secret prayer and contemplation,
[Especially do we pray for……..known to us];
Grant unto them that they may be blessed by Thy Presence in all that they do,
And that the prayers of their hearts
And the sacrifices of their lives may be acceptable unto Thee,
Who livest and reignest, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
God throughout all ages of ages. Amen.


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