The Augustinian Recollect Contemplative nuns have not changed their daily life because of the coronavirus, since staying at home is their way of life, even though since the enclosure they live the situation with concern.
Although for thousands of people life has changed as a result of the preventive measures against COVID-19, the pandemic has hardly changed the daily life of the Augustinian Recollect contemplative nuns, for whom staying at home is their way of life. The nuns chose by vocation to live ‘confined’ in a convent. For this reason, the quarantine for the coronavirus has not caused any difficulty. “The question of confinement is not even noticeable to us,” Sister Alicia Correa says with laughter. From the convent of La Magdalena, in Granada (Spain), she assures that they are living the difficult situation “from an attitude of faith and hope”.
Their day-to-day life is spent entirely in the convent, except for the times they need to go to the doctor or go shopping. No one forced them to enter or stay; they themselves made the decision freely, convinced that what God wanted in their life was the contemplative life. “We are not locked in out of obligation, but it is the way of life we have chosen for the love of Jesus Christ”, Alicia clarifies.
“The world hurts us”
Sister Rosa Maria Mora, superior of the federation of Augustinian Recollect Nuns of Mexico, understands that not all people understand her decision: “Perhaps my dedication to God through this contemplative vocation does not make sense in the eyes of the world, but it has a great richness that allows me to be present spiritually in all parts of my beloved Church”. They are not distant from the world, but their life “brings them closer to the realities of the world”. “You enter the cell of your heart and speak from there with your God about the problems of men”, explains the superior
That is why this crisis is not going unnoticed by them. “The world hurts us,” says Sister Alice. In Mexico, the nuns have been following the terrible advance of the pandemic on social networks. “We are deeply concerned about the alarming levels of contagion and its severity. Now more than ever they have intensified their ceaseless prayer for the sick, the dead and the personnel working to alleviate the coronavirus.
Their life today is no different than it was a few months ago, when no one knew about COVID-19. They have been affected only in the spiritual care of the friars, who are now unable to come to the convent. For this reason they cannot celebrate the Eucharist, although some of them do follow it through the digital media.
The street? No
Many people who have been forced to be at home now miss the street. When asked if this also happens to them, the nuns answer with conviction: no. “The enclosure is a means that we have freely chosen so that there is as little interference as possible in living with God and bringing God,” explains Sister Alicia.
“Jesus Christ is the only reason to stay in the convent. It is through Him that they entered the convent and through Him that they continue. “He makes us remain in love with God and humanity”, explains Alice, “because we have felt chosen to leave the world and dedicate ourselves only to God”.
Besides, they are not bored either. From the time they begin the day before the dawn until they leave to rest, they carry out numerous activities – from prayer to work. “Our schedule is also structured so that you don’t have time to miss the street and life outside the convent,” says Rosa Maria Mora. During this time, the work has consisted for some in making masks.
And what do you do in the face of confinement? The nuns speak: “Make a schedule, structure the day, but above all take time to pray and to meet with oneself”. Some proposals are manual activities, reading a good book, physical exercise, movies of saints and with a message, or communication with distant relatives to motivate and encourage them. They all agree on one necessary ingredient: faith.