Our beloved sisters – the Norbertine Canonesses of Tehachapi, CA, USA.

Posted on 18th April 2019 by Br. Gildas

Fr Stephen with the Canonesses of Tehachapi

From Laetare Sunday until the Wednesday of Passiontide, Fr Stephen preached a retreat for our canonesses in Tehachapi. This is a thriving community of Norbertine Canonesses, who live a cloistered life of contemplation and work, centred around the Sacred Liturgy. They run a farm, including a dairy, they breed dogs, and they cultivate the land on their property, which is sited in the breath-taking scenery of a mountain valley of Tehachapi in Kern County, California.

The sisters have a superb website and young ladies considering a contemplative vocation within the canonical order should certainly consider writing to them and visiting them. Their Horarium shows their full commitment to Christ in the singing of the Divine Office and in prayer, as well as in their various creative endeavours (carpentry, stained glass, incense, health products, rosaries, etc.), and they are all very edifying indeed.

At present, their chapel is part of a set of temporary buildings in their enclosure – the sisters are in the process of raising funds to build a magnificent Priory Church and extend their cloister. They have a small guest-house and priest’s house outside of the cloister, set in the beautiful valley, so reminiscent of the valley of Prémontré where Our Holy Father Norbert first founded our Order, almost 900 years ago. He would be proud to see the wonderful spreading of the Order in the Americas, where we have houses in 5 states (California, Wisconsin, Philadelphia, New Mexico, and Illinois) as well as in Canada and Brazil. The founding Pater Abbas of the Canonry of Tehachapi is the Abbot of St Michael’s Abbey, Orange County CA, and our confreres from the Abbey supply a provost (chaplain) and priests to provide the Sacraments for our sisters.

The following photographs show their Mass, Holy Hour, and conferences given by Fr Stephen as part of the retreat. His talks focussed on the “mystical adventure of the Mass” with reference to the writings of Our Holy Father Augustine as well as other authors, including Mgr Ronald Knox.

We thank our Sisters for their generous prayers for our Canonry and its Vocations, and for all our apostolates here in Chelmsford. Though we are far apart geographically, we are always close in the profession of our vows, and in the spirit of communio which unites all of our Canonries in fraternal charity as sons and daughters of St Norbert.

Please pray for our canonesses, and for vocations to the various communities of women in our Order.