The foundation of these nuns actually preceeded the foundation of the priests' order, the Redemptorist Fathers. Sister Maria Celeste gave her life to God very early, and after a number of adventures, met with Alphonsus Liguori and found the final form of God's will for her life. Jesus appeared to her and gave her the Redemptoristine rule; she wanted to be faithful - and she also wanted to be careful. The commuity born of this balance of fidelity and prudence still supports the work of the Redemptorist priests all over the world.
This cloistered community prays in a particular way for the evangelizing efforts of the Redemptorist Fathers. These priest preach parish missions and publish magazines and newsletters to bring the content of the faith into the households of Catholics everywhere. The nuns pray, providing the spiritual power and the necessary grace for the work of evangelization.
|Mother Maria Celeste - |
she wears the original habit
They follow a regular round of the Divine Office and private prayer. (They pray 5 parts of the Divine Office in common.) They emphasize silence and community, and seek to balance the time for speech and silence so that the relationship with God and with the Sisters is strengthened.
|The Redemptoristine Community at |
These Sisters wear the modified habit
Generally, they do not move from monastery to monastery, but will do so if a new foundation is made or if a monastery needs an extra nun or so for a brief period.
They wear a red habit; no, it does not symbolize the Precious Blood of the Lord. Rather, they emphasize the Redeeming Love of God, shown in the life, death and resurrection of Our Lord.
Generally, the formation process follows a pattern seen in contemplative orders. The woman begins with a time of orientation: she lives with the community for about six months to discern the call to the contemplative life. A postulancy of about one year follows and then a two-year novitiate. It can be extended as necessary. The young nun takes first vows at the conclusion of the novitiate - and they may be taken for one, two or three years, depending on the person. Temporary vows normally last about three years. This also can be extended to nine years. The nun then takes solemn vows.
These Sisters struck me as extremely joyful and full of hope. They pray and trust God for vocations, and currently are asking him to send them women in their 40's and 50's. Like many orders in the Church, they have not received vocations here for a very long time. Unlike some, they do not give up hope, but simply inform the good God that they have a need - and trust him for the outcome.
Their website can be found here.