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Rome Reports

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Two Augustinian sisters say the cloister opens “unexpected horizons”

Behind the doors of this Roman monastery live Sr. Maria Chiara and Sr. Annalisa Maria, Augustinian nuns. Though their decision to enter a cloistered monastery may be counter-cultural, they argue it was the best choice for them.

Augustinian Nun

Why here and why a cloistered monastery? At the beginning, I did not know. I just felt a great attraction. Today I can say, that after about nine years, God knows my heart well, that it is terribly restless like St. Augustine described and that this life, the cloister, is not a physical limitation but it is a theological perspective.

Sr. Maria Chiara recognizes that though the cloister may be closed to the outside world, at the same time it opens up unexpected horizons.

Augustinian Nun

The cloister limits our life in a general sense, but gives depth to our relationships with our sisters, with God, with others and with ourselves. It allows us to go deeper.

Pope Francis has emphasized looking at our life in this way.

We at times risk seeing our consecration only in terms of results, goals and success: we look for influence, for visibility, for numbers. It's a temptation. The Spirit, on the other hand, asks for none of this. He wants us to cultivate daily fidelity and to be attentive to the little things entrusted to our care.

Sr. Maria Chiara and Sr. Annalisa Maria now live in the heart of Rome. In the monastery of the Four Crowned Saints, which was built in the 5th century on the remains of a Roman home. In 1564, Pope Pius IV restored the building so that the Augustinian nuns could care for orphaned children. Since 1872, it has become a residence for cloistered nuns.