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As contemplative Dominican nuns, we have withdrawn from the world in such a way as to embrace everyone in the heart of Christ.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.