The 5 Foundresses of St. Joseph Monastery, New Mexico, Receive the Benedictine Habit
Since the time of St. Benedict and St. Scholastica, holy siblings, there have been both male and female Benedictine monasteries often founded near to each other in memory of the closeness of the first Benedictine Family.
Since Archbishop Lefebvre blessed the foundation of the men's Benedictine Monastery in the United States in 1991, Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery, the monks have been asked countless times by young ladies, "When will there be a Benedictine convent in the USA for American girls?" But as the years passed, despite no lack of desire and prayers and efforts, it seemed a convent would never begin. The monks themselves were engaged in truly heroic efforts to survive and build their own monastery in the extreme hardship of a dry and unforgiving rocky terrain on an arid mountaintop in Southwest New Mexico. So, for 25 years or so, English-speaking young ladies with a calling to join the Benedictines had no option other than to leave their homeland and culture, learn a new language, and enter a French Benedictine Convent. This difficulty proved very hard on many.
But years of hope and prayers and sacrifices finally bore fruit in God's time, and He chose 2018 to be the blessed year which finally saw the founding of the Monastery of St. Joseph, a Benedictine Convent for North America! It has been founded with the blessing and special patronage and charity of His Excellency Bishop Bernard Fellay. In February of 2018 he personally preached the first retreat and counselled 10 young ladies who were strongly considering the Benedictine life. Five of them immediately began their postulancy, and by October 17th, were ready to take the step of becoming novices and officially the Foundresses of this American convent. Bishop Fellay had promised in February that he would come back and officiate at this ceremony, and to the delight of both communities, he was able to keep his promise. His beautiful sermon at the Mass is below.
Many other young ladies have been visiting during this year, and some will be joining very soon, and some have discerned with their spiritual directors that they may enter without difficulty.
The foundresses are the fruits of the SSPX parishes and are happy to join the contemplative branch of the great work of Tradition. The Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Monastery of St. Joseph ask for your prayers for the perseverance of their vocations, and beg help to build cells for the many excellent vocations that are knocking at their doors.
Please support them by purchasing Christmas gifts from their online giftshop, Abbey Roast Coffee, or by sending donations to:
Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery (they provide for the Sisters)
142 Joseph Blane
Silver City NM 88061-9799
Sermon of Bishop Bernard Fellay During the Ceremony:
Dear Future Sisters, Dear Reverend Fathers, Dear Faithful,
We have on this Feast of St. Margaret Mary, who is the second patron of the Order (of St. Benedict -ed) this great deep joy to give the habit to these initiates to the novitiate for the future Benedictines here.
The ceremony itself has 2 parts. The sister will come here and they will deposit their hair and then they will receive the habit, the Benedictine habit. It is something similar: we can see a parallel to what is happening to the Brothers or to the Clerics. The Church requests from them, too, the hair, and then gives the habit. There is a difference, though. For the Brothers, for the Clerics, the ceremony has a name – “Tonsure”. And for the Sisters, we just speak about the taking of the habit, the investiture, receiving, being vested. Maybe because it is too hard to talk about the first part! But fundamentally, it’s the same thing, and we really we may ask ourselves and the world will ask, “Why is the Chuch so barbarian?!” What is belonging to the honor of the woman the Church wants the women to give. But not only to give -- she requests the bishop to do this “monstrous” act!