A group of cloistered nuns known as the “Pink Sisters” for their rose-colored habits have successfully completed 100 years of continuous prayer by working in shifts. Now, they are working to achieve the next 100.
The Philadelphia-based group, otherwise known as the Roman Catholic Holy Spirit Adoration sisters, is notable for its simple, secluded lifestyle. Still, even despite its focus on devotion and contemplation, the group has felt the pressure to reach out to the media and local community to boost its signal—after a century, the sisterhood is seeing flagging interest.
“We rarely reached out for vocation promotion before the centennial,” said Sister Maria Clarissa, 55, to the Associated Press. “But now we want young ladies to see how beautiful the life is and how truer the joy when it is without the trappings of material things. We do our part in addressing these challenges, but at the same time, we leave it to the Lord. He’s the one who calls.”
According to Fox News, the convent has also hung a banner outside their Chapel of Divine Love, inviting neighbors who might have been unaware of the building’s purpose to visit.
The Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters was founded in December of 1896 by Saint Arnold Janssen in Steyl, Holland. Janssen envisioned a “strictly cloistered contemplative community with perpetual adoration.” Under the supervision of Mother Mary Michael, the Philadelphia convent was founded in 1915 by a group of nine sisters from the original motherhouse.
At one time, there were 40 nuns in the Philadelphia convent. Today, there are only 20. The youngest is 52 years old.
The AP reports:
It is a selfless life, focused on offering intercessory prayers on behalf of people they will never meet living in places they will never see. They pray most of the day, together and individually in shifts before the Blessed Sacrament, generally waking up at 5:15 a.m. to prepare for the first daily service, going to bed after the 8 p.m. final prayers.
All the sisters have jobs. Some craft Mass cars and rosaries, the sales of which support the convent. Other sisters respond to letters and answer the phones. Some callers are lonely; others are suicidal. Just listening, the sisters say, seems to make a difference.
The nuns get one hour of recreation and one of free time every day, are allowed visits from relatives and friends three times a year, and only leave the convent for emergencies. When they leave they wear grey, in an effort to avoid attention.
“We try to be as simple as possible so we can focus on the Lord,” Sister Mary Angelica told the AP. “We are simple in everything, even meals—though on special occasions, we have ice cream.”
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Image via AP.