Vatican City, May 15, 2018 / 12:00 pm
The Vatican published an instruction Tuesday aimed at applying norms established in Pope Francis' 2016 apostolic constitution on women's contemplative orders, which emphasizes the need for networks of monasteries in contemplative life. The instruction states that all monasteries of nuns must be affiliated with a federation, or organization, of religious houses.
Published May 15, the document concerns the nearly 38,000 nuns around the world in contemplative religious orders, and underscores that these religious institutes, "wholly devoted to contemplation, always occupy an eminent place in the mystical body of Christ."
Therefore, even if there should be an urgent need for assistance in the active apostolate, as is the charism of some active religious orders, members of contemplative communities should not be called to help in pastoral ministry, the document states.
The instruction, entitled Cor orans, or "Praying heart," was drafted by the Vatican's Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. It includes detailed regulations for the establishment and administration of monasteries for contemplative nuns, including both the legal and spiritual aspects of monastic life.