November 28, 2021


Only The Finest Women

Benedictine abbey in rural Missouri draws growing number of young women

By Karen Pulfer Focht, Catholic Information Support

GOWER, Mo. (CNS) — Breaking the silence, the sisters breathed deeply. Then with at any time so a lot manage, they commenced singing in ideal unison.

Without having a word remaining spoken, the sisters intuitively realized what Mother Cecilia, their prioress, was calling forth from them.

Sweet harmonies loaded the church as these Benedictine nuns recorded their latest album. The hand-painted arches of their church resonated with the audio so wonderfully that it fell carefully on a listener’s ears.

These are not just any singing nuns. These nuns are recording artists. These are chart-topping nuns, and it’s been more than a few many years due to the fact their very last album. The new CD, which is their 10th, was launched Oct. 26.

They have experienced 4 albums that topped the charts so significantly, claimed Sister Scholastica — “Advent,” “Angels and Saints,” “Lent” and “Easter.” We have been also the first nuns to acquire Billboard’s Classical Artist of the Year Award in 2013.”

Just about every sister at the Abbey of Our Girl of Ephesus learns to sing. It is an integral part of daily life for the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, a cloistered get of nuns living by the historic Rule of St. Benedict in Gower in rural Missouri.

The life style below may perhaps day from medieval moments, but youthful gals are flocking to this monastery. Candidates searching for a daily life of union with God, in prayer, are amongst 17 and 30 and they appear from all about The us. International candidates have been unable to get their visas.

They depart guiding a world driven by pop culture and enter a earth guided by the wisdom of St. Benedict.

It also is a humble daily life. These younger girls shell out time in a wonderful orchard — filled with fruits and nuts. They milk cows by hand, get eggs, make cheese and pull potatoes from the dust. Self-sustainability is an best passed down from St. Benedict.

They imagine farm do the job keeps you dependent on God and that this kind of function is conducive to simple prayer.

Sister Scholastica extra that as the grounds they perform come to be more cultivated and civilized, they are practically doing work out their salvation. “We hope the ground of our possess soul also becomes far more cultivated and a thing beautiful for God.”

The chanting and the musical everyday living within the monastery are a big draw. The monastery has developed so speedy that they’ve had to split up and broaden. “When the family grows huge sufficient that we commence to lose perception of the family members, it is time for some “repotting,” transferring parts to new soil, Sister Scholastica stated.

So, some of the sisters have moved and have recognized an additional local community in Ava, Missouri, where by they have acquired 350 acres. Catholic households wanting to reside in close proximity to the monastery have by now procured home from the sisters.

Upcoming spring, the Benedictines of Mary program to crack floor on a new substantial monastery and a church.

Eleven younger women are new to the Gower abbey, hailing from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Texas, Idaho, New Jersey, Ga, Ohio, Indiana, South Carolina, Kansas and Missouri.

Two of the youthful gals already have blood sisters at the abbey, which will carry them up to six sets of sister-sisters. The a few who are getting into at Ava are from Vermont, Kentucky, and Minnesota. They will carry their figures up to 60 whole in the two homes.

A couple “pre-postulants,” have been viewing not long ago and are now learning their everyday living additional intently with the possibility of keeping.

If, right after further more observation, the community decides they are a very good in shape, they turn into postulants, get on the black costume and short veil, and then they tackle them as “Sister.”

The two groups of nuns have skipped every single other terribly, not just in day-to-working day lifetime but in song. Their separation prevented them from placing out a further album. They tried to recreate their audio with some of the new sisters, but it just did not do the job.

Mother Cecilia questioned the top-quality of the Ava home if she could spare 3 sisters for a brief time so that they could reunite at the abbey and file alongside one another all over again. When the sisters from Ava showed up, they arrived in time for night time prayers and snuck into the choir stalls so that when the relaxation of the sisters processed into the church, it was a large surprise.

It was a family reunion. “Once the Ava sisters were being listed here, we were being back in our recording element. It was like previous times” reported Sister Scholastica.

In mid-September the veterans of recording from each homes, along with a handful of new voices, came together to sort some thing of a “Dream Crew.”

It has been a custom for Mother Cecilia to generate at least a person authentic tune for each individual CD. In hopes to put out an album this drop, she quietly waited for a an idea.

Just the day ahead of the recording was to start off, she was divinely impressed and composed unique music, setting it to a poem composed by Sister Mary Wilhelmina, their late foundress, who was African American. She died at age 95 in 2019. The sisters speedily figured out their components for the new music, “Hymn to Christ the King,” to record it are living in the church.

For two times, with afternoon sun streaming into the church, the sisters stood in a circle beneath a statue of Mary singing their hearts out till sunset.

Seeking perfection, each and every time a throat cleared, a shoe squeaked or the partitions cracked in the background, their brows would furrow. Each individual minimal audio was coming by means of to the recording engineer. They would have to begin about.

At times they would choose a crack, walk the grounds and relaxation their voices. Then as they arrived alongside one another once again and started out contemporary, they’d get a best acquire, they’d giggle, nod and smile due to the fact they understood — of course, that was the greatest take!

“We attract our energy from currently being set aside from the entire world with God and the sisterly support of a single another” claimed Sister Scholastica, “the music seems to be a perfect signifies to attain out to the entire world that we are often keeping up in prayer. There is no compromise of our lifetime, but we can share what we have, and we are happy to do so.”

National Vocation Recognition Week is Nov. 7-13, 2021.