In their undivided attention to the Father's word: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Mt 3:17), and in their loving acceptance of that word, cloistered nuns are always “with Him on the holy mountain” (2 Pt 1:17-18). Fixing their gaze upon Christ Jesus, shrouded in the cloud of God's presence, they wholly cleave to the Lord. – John Paul II, Verbi Sponsa
The enclosure of the Monastery is a sacred space where silence is carefully guarded. It is a sacred space because it has been set aside especially for contemplative prayer that leads to the intimate union with God which is its fruit. The Nuns of Mt. Thabor Monastery live under an enclosure that is defined by their constitutions and approved by their Bishop. It is an enclosure that allows for the necessary withdrawal and solitude required for contemplative prayer while at the same time allowing friends and family members to share in the sacred space by setting aside times and places where visitors are allowed. The sacred and silent atmosphere must not be disturbed by these visits but shall allow for a mutual enriching experience.
In addition the Nuns are allowed to leave the enclosure with permission from the Superior for basic needs such as medical appointments, shopping and other reasons that would be in keeping with their prayerful way of life.
Always closely guarding the sacred silence of the Monastery the Nuns are careful to avoid the use of anything that would distract from the life of prayer to which they are intensely called. Regulations to help in this discipline are given in the approved Directory of the Nuns.
The esteem which the Christian community has always had for cloistered contemplative women has deepened with the rediscovery of the contemplative nature of the Church herself and of the call addressed to every Christian to enter a grace-filled encounter with God in prayer. ~ Verbi Sponsa
To keep the enclosure sacred is the responsibility and call of all the Sisters and even to a certain extent all who are allowed the experience of visiting. It requires a special discipline that springs from a deep understanding, love, and desire for the way of life and its Divine fruits – intimate, happy, joyful union with God that is contagious and spreads throughout the land.
For those wishing to learn more about Monastic Enclosure of Nuns and Contemplative prayer we highly encourage the reading of John Paul II’s Verbi Sponsa from which we share with you a few of our favorite quotes.
By means of the cloister, nuns embody the exodus from the world in order to encounter God in the solitude of “cloistered desert”, a desert which includes inner solitude, the trials of the spirit and the daily toil of life in community (cf. Eph 4:15-16)
The cloistered desert helps greatly in the pursuit of purity of heart…because it reduces to the bare minimum the opportunities for contact with the outside world, lest it disrupt the monastery in different ways, disturbing its atmosphere of peace and holy union with the one Lord and with the Sisters. In this way the cloister eliminates in large part the dispersion which comes from many unnecessary contacts, from the accumulation of images, which are often a source of worldly thoughts and vain desires, of news and emotions which distract from the one thing necessary and dissipate interior harmony. “In the monastery everything is directed to the search for the face of God, everything is reduced to the essential, because the only thing that matters is what leads to him. Monastic recollection is attention to the presence of God: if it is dissipated by many things, the journey slows down and the final destination disappears from view”.
The regulation of the cloister, in its practical aspects, must be such that it allows the realization of this sublime contemplative ideal, which implies total dedication, undivided attention, emotional wholeness and consistency of life.