SSVM Contemplative Novitiate “St. Catherine of Siena”
Attn: Servants of the Lord & the Virgin of Matará
Monastery of the Precious Blood
5400 Fort Hamilton Parkway
Brooklyn, NY 11219
Brooklyn, New York | Contemplative Novitiate
Located in the Diocese of Brooklyn
Community prayer intention: that all men may sincerely seek, love and be formed in the truth, and find its fullness in the Incarnate Word.
“Their purpose will be to live for God alone: this is the energetic synthesis that proclaims all the desire that God has placed in the heart of every contemplative nun. Not only to live in the presence of God but to live for God alone, with no other intention than God.”
SSVM Monastic Rule, 9
Our congregation has a Contemplative branch of cloistered nuns as well as active missionary sisters. This house of formation gives women the possibility of beginning formation directly in the contemplative branch of our Institute.
Contemplatives offer “a singular testimony of the Church’s love for her Lord, and they contribute, with hidden apostolic fruitfulness, to the growth of the People of God” (Vita Consecrata, 8). Their hidden life of prayer and penance in the solitude and silence of the monastery are “a constant reminder that the primacy of God gives full meaning and joy to human lives, because men and women are made for God, and their hearts are restless until they rest in him” (Vita Consecrata, 27).
The novitiate is a time of beginnings. “The purpose of the novitiate, by which life in an institute begins, is to give the novices a greater understanding of their divine vocation, and of their vocation to that institute. During the novitiate the novices are to experience the manner of life of the institute and form their minds and hearts in its spirit. At the same time their resolution and suitability are to be tested” (Code of Canon Law, 646).
In addition to the focused spiritual formation proper to the novitiate, novices also receive intellectual formation directed to “the knowledge of Christ and the foundations of the spiritual life” (SSVM Directory of Novitiates, 19).
Far from being cut off or separated from the rest of humanity and the Church, contemplatives remain in the Heart of Christ and share in the apostolic mission of our Religious Family. “…With their life of prayer and penance ‘they actually are at the vanguard of all apostolic works of the Institute,’ being ‘the keystones of the apostolic endeavor of our Institute’” (SSVM Monastic Rule, 140).
“It must be kept in mind that the contemplative’s primary apostolate is their very contemplative life – that is, the specific vocation to dedicate oneself completely to God in hidden silence, prayer, and penance. This is their ‘typical and characteristic way in God’s special design to be Church, to live in the Church, to achieve communion with the Church, and to carry out a mission in the Church’ ” (SSVM Monastic Rule, 127).
Each contemplative community of our Religious Family is entrusted with a particular prayer intention, to ask for those graces “that can only be obtained from God through prayer and penance and not through merit” (Monastic Rule, 134). In this way, they obtain from God the necessary graces for the salvation of many people, so “our monasteries of contemplative life should be magnets for the grace of God” (Directory of Spirituality, 26).
This contemplative novitiate community prays that “all men may sincerely seek, love and be formed in the truth, and find its fullness in the Incarnate Word.”
For women interested in discerning the contemplative life within our Institute, there is the possibility of visiting our contemplative community, sharing in moments of prayer, work, and community life with the sisters. For more information contact:
Mother Mary Our Lady of the Nativity, SSVM
Contemplative Vocations Director
Tel: (347) 328-4834
The patroness of our Contemplative Novitiate is St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin, Third Order Dominican, and Doctor of the Church, who was proclaimed by St. Pope Paul VI as the “Mystic of the Incarnate Word.” She was born in Siena on March 25, 1347 and is a model and example of the most heroic practice of all the virtues for the soul seeking perfect love of God and neighbor.
From a young age, St. Catherine remained docile to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, who infused in her a deep life of contemplation and union with God, which would later be the source and power of her most notable and magnanimous service of the Church – successfully helping the return of the Holy See from Avignon to Rome.
Her life of deep prayer and penitence is marked by extraordinary favors and graces by God, such as visions and Dialogues with Our Lord, a mystical espousal with Him in the faith, the exchange of hearts, and receiving the stigmata. She liberally assisted the poor, served the sick, and comforted the afflicted and prisoners. Her wise counsels were sought after by many, most notably the Holy Father, and even the most hardened sinners could not withstand the force of her exhortations or prayers to conversion.
She died on April 29, 1380 and her remains are buried in the Basilica “Santa Maria Sopra Minerva” in Rome, while her incorrupt head can be venerated in Siena. She was canonized by Pope Pius II in 1461, proclaimed Co-patron of Rome (1866) and Italy (1939), recognized as Doctor of the Universal Church by Pope St. Paul VI in 1970, and lastly proclaimed as Co-patron of Europe by St. John Paul II in 1999.