“For each other, let us have thoughts, words and actions that are suitable for that home in Nazareth around the Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph and at the feet of Jesus.”
Saint Charles de Foucauld
Saint Charles de Foucauld reminds us that, in the Gospel Jesus shows us two types of communion which between them comprise the entire Christian vocation. One of them is a call to imitation and filial communion with God and the other is a call to sisterly attentiveness and communion with our fellow brothers and sisters. The communion with one another has to grow broader and deeper as communion with God grows more intimate. The Daughters of Mary of Nazareth live in community. We have a communal life of prayer and share a communal apostolic life. Our common life is a pledge of mutual prayer and encouragement as we walk together on this pilgrimage of faith and service.
In our Nazorean Spirituality, we are called to imitate the Holy Family by putting everything in common: efforts, joys, pains, and perseverance in prayer and charity, to achieve, by the grace of God, the mission entrusted to us. In seeking to make our convent as a “little Nazareth” and recognizing that our home is a gift from the Lord to be shared, we also welcome families and individuals for retreats, prayer and fellowship.
Our community should be characterized by the feeling that each Sister truly belongs. Communal love among the Sisters is an important aspect of our life. As Saint Charles used to say, if we don’t love our community, we can’t draw life from it. Although our apostolates may be varied, we will strive as much as possible to work at them in groups or at least in pairs recognizing the importance of maintaining the bond of community at all times.
As previously mentioned, it is very important for each member in our community to foster a joyful spirit. This joy will give us the vitality to carry out our mission in serving the body of Christ.
Daughters of Mary seek to be a reflection of the true identity of Christian family life. By living community life well, we hope to offer a witness to the real possibility of communion between people, and the joy that it brings, even when at the cost of personal sacrifice. With that in mind, Sisters take turns shopping and cooking, share a common table, recreate together and dedicate ourselves to a common apostolate. In our convent we don’t watch television for recreation. Our Sisters are encouraged to spend recreation and vacation time with each other.
Another important element of our communal life is the attitude of sharing. The Sisters do not have individual cars, cellphones, computers or other means of technology. While we depend on Divine providence, our benefactors, and our own work to provide us with the implements and means necessary in carrying out our apostolic labor, all these possessions will be held in common for the good of the community.
Following the example of Saint Charles de Foucauld, and in the rich tradition of many other religious communities, we seek to foster an atmosphere of solitude. This is not a life in loneliness, but rather the cultivation of a solitude which allows for a deeper communion with our Lord. An important way in which we live our solitude with the Lord is through our weekly “Desert Day,” a day of silence, prayer and rest, as well as our annual 8 day community retreat, Advent retreat and Lenten retreat.