Contemplation in Cuba

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Thursday 06, March 2008 | Category:   Consecrated Life
For 320 years Dominican contemplative sisters have had a presence in Havana, Cuba. Currrently, seven sisters—two Cubans, two Mexicans, and three Colombians—live in a convent in the capital city, says a ZENIT news story.

Sister Yolanda of the Child Jesus, from Cuba, says the community’s contemplative life is a matter of “simply getting rid of everything in order to place oneself at the disposal of God, who gives, enlightens, and transforms. He gives the strength and so it is like an emptying of everything so that the Lord can fill it.”

Saint Dominic, the founder of the Domincans, “did not bind us to any method,” says Sister Yolanda. “He proposed a very simple path of prayer. He said, first read the sacred scriptures, the Divine Office, or what you have. Go from reading to prayer; from prayer to meditation; and from meditation to contemplation. That was the only method he left us.” How do the sisters integrate contemplation and work? “When one lives in that union with God,” says Sister Ofelia of St. Joseph, from Mexico, “one can continue with work, but firmly united to him. And I can sew, clean, do whatever, but it does not take me from that union with God, which is lived in each moment . . . . A continual prayer that is lived in each moment, and in everything that is done, God is present. I can say this by experience, that I can be cleaning and cooking and feel the Lord there. Everything that is done is for love of God.” Adds Sister Yolanda, “One should live in an atmosphere of contemplation. And at times the Lord speaks more when we are working than when we are praying.”

“I am happy in my vocation,” says Sister Ofelia. “For me life in the cloister is not routine. It is a different dawn since each day has its joys, sufferings, and concerns, but even more happiness. When one gives oneself more to God and the years pass—I say this by experience—the cloister, contemplative life, it is a gift of God.”

What do you think it would like to be a contemplative in a country like Cuba?
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