Dominican Nuns

from the Rule of Saint Augustine

Cloister

 Vultum Dei Quaerere

"No one shall perform any task for her own benefit but all your work shall be done for the common good, with greater zeal and more dispatch than if each one of you were to work for yourself alone.  For charity, as it is written, "is not self-seeking," meaning that it places the common good before its own, not its own before the common good.  So whenever you show greater concern for the common good than for your own, you may know that you are growing in charity.  Thus, let the abiding virtue of charity prevail in all things that minister to the fleeting necessities of life."

"Because of the effort it demands, work is one of the more common forms of asceticism.  In addition, the perseverance and skill which it requires and the benefits it brings foster mental equilibrium and the formation and development of personality. Work is demanded by religious poverty and serves the common good by building up charity through cooperation.  Moreover, by work the nuns share the common lot of most people, especially the poor.  Since in their life work is subordinated to contemplation, this manifests a right ordering of values among earthly activities, according to the spirit of the Beatitudes."                                                  

"Silence should be carefully kept by the nuns especially in places and at times appointed for prayer, study and rest.  It is the guardian of all observance and a particular aid to peace and contemplation."

"The blessed Dominic "rarely spoke except with God in prayer, or about God, and he exhorted the brethren to do likewise."  Pondering this in their hearts, the nuns should make of their house, and especially of their hearts, a place of silence.

Work

Some specific penitential practices include the use of  narrow wooden planks for beds, hard wooden stools in the refectory, perpetual abstinence from meat (with the exception of poultry at two meals a week), and nocturnal vigils before the  Blessed Sacrament.

Silence

​from the Constitutions of the Nuns of the Order of Preachers

Usual daily work includes basic household chores such as cooking, sewing, cleaning and laundry. It also includes caring for our older sisters, maintaining our libraries, gardening, printing, making items for our gift shop such as candles, pottery, fudge, cards and other handmade items as well as other work that is conducive to the contemplative life. 

"[Pope Saint John Paul II's] Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata presents the vocation and mission of cloistered nuns as “a sign of the exclusive union of the Church as Bride with her Lord, whom she loves above all things”, showing how they are a unique grace and precious gift within the mystery of the Church's holiness.

​from the Constitutions of the Nuns of the Order of Preachers

"Silence is a prerequisite to that gaze of faith that enables us to welcome God’s presence."

at the heart of the Order of Preachers

"Cloistered nuns see themselves especially in the Virgin Mary, Bride and Mother, figure of the Church; and sharing the blessedness of those who believe (cf. Lk 1:45; 11:28), they echo her “Yes” and her loving adoration of the Word of life, becoming with her the living “memory” of the Church's spousal love (cf. Lk 2:19, 51)." 

"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.

"By reason of their religious consecration and the apostolic vocation of the Order, the nuns are urged more than the rest of the faithful to deny themselves, take up their cross, and bear the death of Jesus in body and soul, that they may merit the glory of the resurrection for themselves and for others."

from Verbi Sponsa,
Instruction on the Contemplative Life, (1999)

Penance

​from the Constitutions of the Nuns of the Order of Preachers