Valley of Our Lady Monastery
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608-643-3520 Sr. Marie-Pierre
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Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin
Patron Saints/Famous Saints of the Community
St. Benedict of Nursia; St. Bernard of Clairvaux; St. Aelred of Rievaulx; St. Lutgard; St. Aleydis; St. Mechtilde
"Their goal was: quaerere Deum. Amid the confusion of the times, in which nothing seemed permanent, they wanted to do the essential – to make an effort to find what was perennially valid and lasting, life itself. They were searching for God." -Pope Benedict XVI
We are a cloistered, monastic, contemplative religious community of women, living according to the Rule of St. Benedict and the Constitutions of our Cistercian Order. Our life is one of withdrawal from the world and all in it that distracts and hinders one’s search for God. This withdrawal is not flight from the world; instead, uniting ourselves with Him, especially in His self-emptying love on the Cross, is the way in which we believe we can best help the world in its afflictions and bring souls to God.
Our main apostolate is prayer and conversion of life for each of us on behalf of the world.
One of the distinctive aspects of the Cistercian/Benedictine spirituality is its recognition of the value, both on the natural and on the supernatural level, of a balance of prayer and work. For our particular community, our manual labor consists mostly of working in the making of altar breads, which is our main source of income, and in the humble, daily household tasks necessary for the smooth running of a community.
A fundamental aspect of our spirituality is humility and simplicity. Our daily life is very humble and hidden—nothing spectacular or extraordinary about it. The Lord does not ask us to do great works exteriorly but do well and out of love for Him the little everyday things which He asks of us.
For Cistercians, community is very important. We live mostly in silence [though there are times for speaking and interacting in an informal way], yet there is simultaneously a strong emphasis on community and fraternal charity: we go together to God; we are a family, a “school of charity,” where love for God is purified of self through love for one’s sisters in community.
“Nuns, in living the whole of their life as ‘hidden with Christ in God’, realize in a supreme way the contemplative vocation of the entire Christian people, and thus they become a luminous sign of the Kingdom of God, ‘glory of the Church and wellspring of heavenly graces.” – VERBI SPONSA
The Cistercian Order was founded in about the year 1100 in France as a reform of the existing Benedictine monasticism of the time. The Order spread rapidly throughout Europe, and now exists throughout the world. Our community was founded in 1957 from a Swiss Cistercian monastery.
As inheritors of the Benedictine tradition of monastic life, the liturgy is very important to us. The celebration of the Sacrifice of the Mass is the high point of our day; and we gather seven times a day to pray the Divine Office, or liturgy of the hours, in Latin, in Gregorian chant. Another key aspect of Cistercian daily prayer life is lectio divina: prayerful reading of Scripture, in private. This daily encounter with the Word of God, living and effective, deepens and strengthens our union with God. Lastly, personal private prayer is essential in our life, as it is in the life of every consecrated person.