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Asia's first Franciscan monastery opens

Asia’s first monastery of the Cloistered Franciscan Conceptionist Sisters has opened in Goa.

Archbishop emeritus Raul Gonsalves shares a lighter moment with nuns of the monastery Archbishop emeritus Raul Gonsalves shares a lighter moment with nuns of the monastery
  • Bosco de Souza Eremita, Curtorim
  • India
  • February 23, 2011
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Archbishop Felipe Neri Ferrao of Goa and Daman yesterday opened Asia’s first monastery of the Cloistered Franciscan Conceptionist Sisters in Goa.

The prelate termed it as a “power house of prayer and contemplation in Goa, in India and the Church in general.”

The monastery, named Dhyanalaya (house of contemplation) sits atop a hill at Curtorim, some 40 kilometers south of the state capital of Panaji.

Archbishop Ferrao in his homily said the monastery’s aim is to be rooted in Jesus. “The greatest mistake one can make is not to strive to be holy,” he said.

The cloistered convent nuns would try to witness God’s love through personal prayers and contemplation, the prelate added.

The monastery is an extension of the Order that has existed in Estella, Spain, for the past 280 years. Coincidentally, the present Abbess in Estella is Mother Maria Pereira, from Goa. She was elected in October 2009.

Mother Maria said it was a “memorable day” for all her nuns since the monastery has come into existence five centuries after its order opened houses in Europe, America and Africa.

“The construction began by believing in God, and His providence did not let us down,” she added.

Archbishop Ferrao blessed the oratory while retired Archbishop Raul Gonsalves blessed the monastery.

Spanish Sister Ana María Ilundaín heads the monastery in Goa. It has five other nuns, all Indian.

The order was founded by St. Beatrice D’Silva in Spain five centuries ago.

Related reports
Cloistered nuns a rare sight in Andhra Pradesh
Cloistered nuns struggle to find new members

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