A Right to be Merry
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By Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C.
Can the hidden, silent life of a cloistered nun be a fulfilling one—let alone, to use the whimsical word of Christ himself, a merry one? In the pithy and profound pages of A Right to Be Merry, Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C., reveals the the crosses and the joys of that cloistered life.
Our Lord told Margery Kempe, the anchoress of Lynn, that her enclosed life of union with Him gave Him the greatest satisfaction, and gave her “as great a right to be merry as any lady in the world.” (Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C.)
Only those who have actually lived the cloistered life can fully appreciate how intertwined are the lives of contemplative nuns. Their hearts may be as “wide as the universe and bottomless as eternity,” yet in the practical details of daily life they must operate and cooperate, work and pray, suffer and celebrate, all within a strict enclosure and all for the sanctification of the world. Removed from this world, they still have “as great a right to be merry as any lady in the world.” “Hidden away from the glare and noise of worldly living,” Mother Mary Francis writes, “we are enclosed in the womb of Holy Church. I walk down the cloisters, and my heart moves to a single tune: Lord, it is good, so good to be here!”
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Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C., (1921–2006) was abbess of the Poor Clare Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Roswell, New Mexico. Her many books, essays, poems, and plays circulated her contemplative wisdom to a worldwide audience, making her one of the twentieth century’s most popular spiritual authors. In addition to A Right to Be Merry, Mother Mary Francis’s works include Come, Lord Jesus, My Beloved Is Mine, and A Time of Renewal.