A Glimpse Into the Life of a Cloistered Nun

Sr. Clare Joseph is a Carmelite nun in Terre Haute, Indiana. She and her sisters live a life of silence and contemplation behind a ‘grille’ and rarely leave the convent.

“We come here and we have nothing, but it doesn’t feel like we have nothing — it feels like we have everything.”

Video Transcript

Meet Sister Clare: Carmelite Nun

Terre Haute, Indiana

Sister Clare Joseph: My hands are empty. My pockets are empty. I own nothing. But everything that I have is interior, and it is rich beyond richness.

The Sisters live a life of contemplation and silence. They live behind a grille and rarely leave the convent.

This is a grille, and it’s more symbolic than anything. It’s a reminder to us, a reminder to others, that our life, it is separated, consecrated to God.

Sister Clare worked with the sick, poor, and dying for over a decade, but then felt called to join the Carmelites.

I’m a doer, and I thought, “I’m going to be God’s hands and His feet and His mouth and everything that I can, and just totally spend myself for love of God and love of His people.” I saw the tremendous need, poverty, and rejected people in our society, and I would pray, “Lord, if I were to go to a convent, if I were to live contemplatively, well, who will do the work?”

I’m trusting and believing solely that God will do all of the things that is in my heart to do. He will move the mountains. I give my whole self to Him. He will hear our prayers. It’s like God said, “Now I want to give to you.”

When I discerned my vocation, I had all this… “So strong, I’m going to do all these things and give all this stuff to God,” and then to just have that great reversal. We come here and we have nothing, but it doesn’t feel like we have nothing. It feels like we have everything.

That’s why we get up every single morning, go through the same routine day after day, because of the love and the graces and the beauty that God gives to us.

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