Who We Are
Valley of Our Lady Monastery is a community of contemplative Roman Catholic nuns of the Cistercian Order.
As Cistercians, we live out a simple but intense life of liturgy, manual labor, and the search for God through deep contemplative prayer. Sharing in the joys and sufferings experienced by every human, we embrace with quiet zeal God’s will for us: to give our lives to praising Him and to interceding for the salvation of mankind.
The sisters come from across the globe, forming a rich tapestry of backgrounds, personalities, and talents. Today, our community numbers 21 sisters, ranging in age from 23 to 88, with a median age of 47.
In 1098, a small group of Benedictine monks in France founded a new monastery where they could live their vows more fervently. As they grew, they founded many more monasteries throughout Europe. The Cistercian Order now has houses all over the world in which monks and nuns continue to embrace a simple but intense life of liturgy, manual labor, and the search for God through deep contemplative prayer.
In 1957, Bishop William O’Connor asked the Cistercians to send contemplative nuns to the newly formed Diocese of Madison. Our six foundresses answered this call, thus establishing Valley of Our Lady Monastery.
ORA ET Labora
Pray and work: This motto of Benedictine monasticism sets the twofold rhythm of the sisters’ days. Prayer is the primary privilege and responsibility of their lives, which they joyfully fulfill through the official liturgy of the Church, chanted seven times daily in Latin, as well as through their personal prayer and reading.
But the nuns also support themselves financially by making altar breads, supplying about 13 million breads annually to churches around the country. The sisters use the latest technology as well as their own hands, praying as they work to produce what will become at Mass the Body of Christ.
We are a community of Cistercian nuns who live by the Rule of St. Benedict and the traditions of our order.
Consecrated to God for the sanctification of the Church and the redemption of the world, we dedicate our lives to a solemn liturgy, private prayer, lectio divina, and manual labor within the silence and enclosure of the monastery.
Our community consists of 21 sisters, ranging in age from 23 to 88, with a rich and vibrant diversity of talents and characters.
Our median age is 47.
In keeping with our vow of poverty, we do not beg for alms but rather work to support ourselves while living a frugal life. Alter bread production provides our primary source of income; we supply about 13 million breads annually to churches around the country.