“The senior sisters of a community make up its crown; the young solemnly professed are its strength; the novitiate sisters are its hope for tomorrow.”
– Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C.
the Roswell Poor Clares' Novitiate
Special Vocations Issue
Are you a woman who...
…is tired of all the meaningless clutter in your bedroom and is longing for the simple joys of life? Do you yearn to live totally for God, and to love Him with all your heart and all your soul and all your strength?
Do the words MY GOD AND MY ALL say it all for you?
Then don’t delay to take full advantage of this
offer awaiting you in our little desert monastery, where a blessed life for God features a life of
That’s right! Here is your chance to serve God with that full enthusiasm of mind and body bequeathed to us in our Franciscan way. If you have ever secretly supposed the contemplative life to be a leisurely round of devotional exercises, punctuated by strolls in the garden and a spot of embroidery now and again, FEAR NO MORE!
You will be relieved to know that for the cloistered nun, loving God demands full-time spiritual, mental and physical elbow grease. For our Lord well understands our need to throw ourselves wholly into this business of loving Him, and so He delights to send his handmaids scurrying out to the garden to carry in the abundant summer squash and tomato harvest, or out to the garden paths to rake up the windfall winter pecans, or out to the lawns to haul in the autumn leaves – by the tarp full!
He will expect you to love Him who is the truth by working your mental muscles in pursuit of the truth as you delve into the riches of the monastic life in such classes as Franciscan History, Prayer, Gregorian Chant, and Latin – and more!
Here in our little desert monastery you will be given ample scope and freedom to pursue an ambitious career as a fully certified, full-time lowly servant of God. No prior experience in laundry management or agricultural engineering is required. Just come with a generous supply of that spiritual zeal for the Kingdom of Heaven, and all else from thimble coordination to logic’s syllogisms to lawn-mower mechanics to persevering prayer will follow.
Wondering how there will be time for a full schedule of prayer and so much besides? Stop your puzzling! Our daily horarium provides abundant accommodations on this point with its simple expediency of
Imagine the joy! Each night you will leap from your sleep at the enchanting hour of 12:30 a.m.!! Again, no prior experience as an early bird is required. Rest secure – our rising bell comes fully equipped with exceptionally penetrating tonal qualities. There is of course no time to be lost in the great work of singing God’s praises, and ultimately only the long space of all eternity will suffice for the task. But our midnight start each day is a practical step in this direction and provides a basic introduction to the praise-lifestyle of heaven.
“Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of your dearly beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.” Do these words burn in your heart? If so, then you will understand as all Poor Clares do, why there can never be days or hours long enough! (But, to maintain standards of integrity in advertising, we must here admit that the Poor Clare who has found the hours in the monastery to be long, has not yet been discovered to exist.)
As if that weren’t incentive enough, this life also features (you guessed it)
Yes! Say goodbye forever to that jingle in your pocket, for there are no salaried positions to be had in the monastery, no payroll, no wallets, not even a piggy bank. However, this essential absence of banking accessories does not mean there are no accounts to be kept. From the moment you cross the threshold of the papal enclosure, you will have to cope with the ever-present reality of handling your
Every day in the cloister unfolds within the gratuitous context of our Lord’s providential hundredfold. From the inestimable gift of the Eucharist, to the constant charitable services of your sisters, to the supporting gifts of our wonderful friends and benefactors, to the solicitous guidance of your superiors to those two slices of bread with your donated coffee each morning, your debt of gratitude will always seem to outstrip your ability to meet your payments. “How can I repay the Lord for his goodness to me,” cries the psalmist. And so will you!
With such a line-up as this, you might expect places to be limited and going fast! RELAX! There is always room for as many more as the Lord of the harvest sends!
For one thing, Poor Clares don’t need much. Depending on the response to this ad, we can snugly seat four at those refectory tables currently spaciously set for three. This will create several empty places for new postulants. If more respond, we can bring up the extra table from the basement. If still more respond, one of your first assignments might be building refectory tables!
Our obliging cook will be more than happy to raise the level of the soup. As for your poor garb, we have assembled over the years a fine selection of postulant jumpers. One style suits all (with a little personalized hem adjustment).
And as if that weren’t enough, your monastic cell will include: the simplest of sleeping accommodations, with a fine firm mattress on wooden bucks and boards, a wash stand and basin, a bench, a window, holy water font and -- standing room besides!!
“Here it is,” you say, “the fine print, the bottom line.” Such an offer as this probably seems just too good to be true and you think there must be a catch to it. Well, quite frankly, there is a catch; and that is the cost, which for some might prove prohibitive. For the price of embracing this life is nothing less than all you have to give. Lest you accuse us of inflationary practices, this costly price-tag attached to a religious vocation was put there by Jesus Himself. “Go and sell all you have….” “He who puts his hand to the plow and looks back….” Abandoning the old fishing nets (be they cell phones, I-pods, or ukuleles) is only the beginning; for Jesus will continue to show you more interior “clutter” in the corners of your heart until you give up all that is not entirely His. So if you are tired of searching high and low for that one really valuable pearl, then
with ALL YOUR HEART and ALL YOUR SOUL and ALL YOUR STRENGTH,
For as there can never be labors too hard, nor hours too long in the service and praise of God and in the life-and-death struggle for souls, then it follows that…