Cloistered Nuns in Hollywood

Blog Published: August 26, 2006
By Sister Julie

The New York Times recently published an article on a cloistered group of Dominican nuns who live just a couple blocks from all the action in Hollywood. The title of the article — “For 56 Years, Battling Evils of Hollywood With Prayer” (Aug. 28, 2006) — highlights (with some drama) the nuns’ ministry of prayer. These nuns, as distinct from sisters, are women who dedicate themselves to prayer and also observe enclosure. Enclosure means that the monastery typically has “walls and grilles separating the nuns from the outside world” (“Nun” in Wikipedia). I myself have never experienced enclosure and would welcome any nuns reading this to describe their experience of living a contemplative, cloistered life. I love what the Dominican nuns say on their Web site:

As contemplative Dominican nuns, we have withdrawn from the world in such a way as to embrace everyone in the heart of Christ. Through our life of prayer and study, we bring to fruition God’s living Word in the world.

Though the NY Times article is replete with the usual stereotypes of nuns, it does manage to send a message about the important work of the nuns of the Monastery of the Angels. That women dedicate their lives ENTIRELY to prayer is an amazing witness in our world. These nuns spend their days — not praying just for themselves and their own personal needs — but for the needs of the world, of people they’ve never met before, of people whom society has turned its back on. I personally am in awe.

For more information, visit Monastery of the Angels, the cloistered Dominican nuns in Hollywood.

Archived Comments

Laura September 9, 2007 at 11:41 am

I was a cloistered, contemplative nun – I loved every minute of it. Each day, I knew I could wake up, go about my duties for the day, pray, and just generally *be*, without having to deal with the hassle of “What should I wear” or “What is that person thinking” or any number of mundane interruptions that occur when life is not contained in this way: random phone calls, errands, visitors, and other people and the incredibly distracting effect that they have. What questions do you have?

Brigette April 12, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Why did you leave?

Laura June 3, 2009 at 6:21 pm

Brigette, I left because I was young and naive and inexperienced when I entered. In every life there are dry spells, and uncertain spells, and doubting spells. I hit one of these not long after I was clothed as a novice, but didn’t have the internal resources to deal with it well. My Novice Mistress tried, but she couldn’t help me. Mother Abbess could have helped but at the time she didn’t have the time. We were in the middle of founding a new monastery and the canonical elections were going on. So, I floundered. Without the internal strength to grit my teeth and bear it, I chose the easy way out and left.

I’ve thought for many years about it and think that if I had just stuck it out for another month or so, my troubles would have been resolved. It was solely an internal struggle on my part. The nuns were fabulous, the monastery was amazing, and I was very happy and at peace… until then.

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