They come from California, Delaware, Pennsylvania and India.
One is a nurse; another
was an assistant manager at a Walgreen's.
They have different life
experiences and span several decades in age.
However, the four newest
members of the Visitation Monastery in Tyringham have one thing in
common: They all feel drawn to the life of a cloistered nun. Their
calling -- and response -- to this vocation highlights National Vocation
Awareness Week Jan. 13-19.
The week has been celebrated in the U.S.
Catholic Church since 1976. Starting next year, the annual observance to
promote vocations will be held during the first full week of November.
The newest members of the Sisters of the Visitation of Holy Mary
acknowledge they are choosing a life that is definitely different.
Nestled in the Berkshire Hills, the Monastery of Deux Coeurs (Two
Hearts), as it is also called, is a place of quiet.
There is no
cellphone service and life is guided by the ringing of the tower bell as
the community of 18 sisters is called to prayer.
Armstrong, 28, is a novice who entered last February. She holds a degree
in environmental science and chemistry, with a minor in theology, from
De Sales University in Allentown, Pa.
She grew up in Pittsburgh and made
her first retreat in Tyringham 10 years ago. She said it took her a
while to figure out where she belonged. She did a year of service at a
home for homeless, pregnant women in Arizona.
She then worked with the
Little Sisters of the Poor and entered the Carmelite order until she
considered returning to the sisters she had known for 10 years and who
have been like a family to her.