A cloister can only get so big before something needs to give. Typically, once a maximum number is reached, 4-5 nuns will leave the original motherhouse and create a new cloister. This is how an order grows. Well, Mother Angelica's order was bursting at its seams with young women called to a life of prayer. Soooooo, off they went - 5 sisters - out into the desert, where they were invited by Bishop Thomas Olmstead. This is one smart bishop and he understands that a bunch of women in a cloister is nothing to scoff at. It is a power house of prayer that can benefit the entire community, as well as the Church.
From their website:
Our Founding Monastery (Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Alabama) is overflowing with vocations. We were literally bursting at the seams with over 40 Sisters! And so, following the lead of Divine Providence and at the kind invitation of the Bishop of Phoenix, Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, we have been blessed with the awesome opportunity to establish a Throne for Our Eucharistic King in the West!The sisters were answering questions about vocations and one question that always seems to come up, is how to make parents and friends understand. One of them replied that it is not necessary to make them understand, but in time many learn to accept and understand. Some soon realize they did not lose a daughter, but gained 40 of them.
Something to ponder if you are in this situation, is something my father taught me from when I was very young.
He would ask, "who do you love the most?"
I would respond, "I love you and mom the same!"
His response: "Wrong answer....you should always say you love God the most. Family comes second."
Many parents do not understand and family can make it difficult. This can be the very first test and in the end it strengthens the character. He must be first in all that we do, whether it is following our hearts into a vocation, or raising a family, or living a single life.
The sisters also recommended that young people discerning spend plenty of time in front of the Blessed Sacrament. This is so true. When you are stilled by the silence of adoration, and you go freqently, it is when God begins to really poor graces down that are needed. It comes in the form of strength to work through that which is difficult. It comes in the form of love and understanding for those who are struggling with your decision. You can listen to their concerns, and listen with a compassionate ear. Smile, pray for them, then go where your heart leads you regardless.
They have a running photo section and I would encourage you to click the picture, go to their website and bookmark it for future updates. One young woman just joined them and they ask for our prayers for her as she goes through formation.