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What are Trappist nuns

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

Trappist nuns exhibit a huge commitment and adherence to a personal calling

Trappist nuns exhibit a huge commitment and adherence to a personal calling

The Trappist nuns are the women?s branch of a division of The Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance. This is a Roman Catholic order of cloistered monks that follow the Rule of St. Benedict.

The women members of the Order of Cistercians are referred to as Trappistines. The Trappist nuns are focused, simple and down to earth. The monastic life is believed to provide a return to reality rather than an escape form it. The Cistercians follow three principles including that of Liturgy, Lectio and Labor. This way of life leaves to a selfless, uncluttered yet nourishing existence.

Saint Mary?s Abbey in southern Massachusetts was the first monastery of Cistercian nuns in the U.S. The first nuns arrived from Ireland in 1949.

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These women are dedicated to contemplation and prayer. The nuns gather in the church seven times each day where they offer thanksgiving and praise to God. There is a certain level of silence and a degree of solitude that is maintained throughout so that the Trappist nuns may be present in Christ.

Nuns are those women who take a vow to commit oneself fully to a spiritual life. Sometimes there is a distinction made between the words ?nun? and ?sister,? with nun being a woman who lives a cloistered life of meditation, contemplation and prayer while a sister lives an active vocation of service and prayer involving the sick, poor and needy. Cloistered or claustral life refers to the type of life that a nun or monk lives in one of the enclosed religious orders.

The Trappist nuns live a balanced life, which allows access to God in avenues that may be considered ordinary and simply as the nuns attempt to respond to God in their day to day living.

The first method is through prayer. The daily Eucharistic celebration is central and it increases the consciousness of the nuns as well as makes their hearts bigger so that they can embrace the needs of the Church and of the world.


A meditative and thoughtful process called Lectio Divina is the second facet of the nun’s existence. This enables them to speak to God as they ponder Scripture. The nuns believes that openness to the World and attentiveness allows them to receive and this makes God truly present.

The third important part of their lives in monastic work. They are self supporting. Monks and nuns often work producing agricultural products, baked goods and religious accessories. The sale of speciality items like natural honey, traditional fruitcake and communion jewelry.

When a woman joins the Trappists, she vows to be obedient and experiences conversion of life, including that of poverty and chastity. The nuns follow the precepts of self-emptying, humility, faith, charity and self surrender.

When a nun takes a vow of poverty this doesn’t mean how much money a nun has or doesn’t have. It has to do with her lifestyle and what the nuns does with what she receives. A simple life is considered a rich life.

The nuns takes a vow of stability which means that she vows to remain a member of a single monastic community. She vows obedience to the prioress or abbess as well as chastity.

The sisters do not take a vow of silence as many people think but they do have a rule of silence and value quiet.

Before a woman enters a convent, serious reflection must be given before making this radical decision, which involves separation from her family. Trappist nuns do not make regular visits to their families although their families can visit them.

Nuns believe that treating everyone equally is the way to bind one another together and is far more important than what sets people apart. Commonality binds the nuns while their differences, which, of course, they do have, educate them and enrich them. 


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