Who We Are

Nuns, in living the whole of their life as ‘hidden with Christ in God’, realize in a supreme way the contemplative vocation of the entire Christian people, and thus they become a luminous sign of the Kingdom of God,’ glory of the Church and wellspring of heavenly graces.

–Verbi Sponsa

Overview

We are a community of contemplative Roman Catholic nuns of the Cistercian Order.

We live a simple but intense vocation 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. 

We come from across the globe, forming a rich tapestry of backgrounds, personalities, and talents. Today, our community numbers 22 sisters, ranging in age from 23 to 89, with a median age of 47.

History

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 our days. Prayer is our primary privilege and responsibility, which we joyfully fulfill through the official liturgy of the Church, chanted seven times daily in Latin, as well as through personal prayer and reading. 

We support ourselves financially by making altar breads, supplying about 13 million breads annually to churches around the country. We use the latest technology as well as our own hands, praying as we work to produce what will become at Mass the Body of Christ. 

FAST FACTS

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 22 sisters, ranging in age from 23 to 89, 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.  Altar bread production provides our primary source of income; we supply about 13 million breads annually to churches around the country.   

Our way of life is abjection; it is humility, it is voluntary poverty, obedience, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Our way of life means being under a master: an abbot, a rule, a discipline. Our way of life means being trained in silence, fasting, vigils, prayer, manual work. Above all, it means clinging to that most excellent way which is Love.

– St. Bernard of Clairvaux

To learn more about our community, please visit our website:

www.ValleyofOurLady.org

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