The COVID phenomenon has thrown many of our lives out of order in one way or another. Work, school, parish and social lives have been tossed into disarray.
But there is one corner of our world that has been only slightly affected by this stressful event, and that is the lives of enclosed, or cloistered religious.
These monks and nuns live entirely within the walls of their monasteries. By design, they have little human contact with outsiders. Thus the concerns of the infections of the coronavirus are kept at bay.
And yet their style of life was meant not to isolate themselves from the problems of the world, but to give their undivided attention to the Lord. Life for most of these religious has continued as it did before COVID - they pray the Liturgy of the Hours, work at raising vegetables or labor at some means of livelihood. They continue to enjoy community life with each other, within their walls, as before.
Thus they live in a kind of Noah’s Ark; a bubble on the sea amidst the storm. Because of their solemn vows, they can fulfill their purpose - to keep company with God, and keep their minds clear for contemplating and participating in His love.
Cloistered religious are thus different from active religious men and women who take simple vows and serve outside in the wider community in various ways, such as teaching or hospital work.