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No one who has not lived in a cloister can fully understand just how intertwined are the lives of cloistered nuns. Their hearts may be wide as the universe and bottomless as eternity, but the practical details of their living are boxed up into the small area within the enclosure walls. Cloistered nuns rub souls as well as elbows all their lives, and if they do not step out of themselves to get a true perspective, they can become small-souled and petty and remain immature children all their lives long. But, as Mother Mary Francis points out, they also have "as great a right to be merry as any lady in the world."
Nor is merriment all. "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!"
Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C., (1921–2006) was for more than forty years the abbess of the Poor Clare Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Roswell, New Mexico. She is recognized as an authoritative voice for contemplative spirituality, prayer and the renewal of religious life. She wrote many books, including A Right to Be Merry and Come, Lord Jesus, which is a collection of her reflections for Advent.