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Nuns of the Perpetual Adoration: Tirelessly venerating Christ

June 19, 2015
Sister Rosalba Vargas, AP

Catholic San Francisco is featuring one religious congregation from the archdiocese in each installment of this periodic column marking the Vatican’s Year of Consecrated Life.

The Nuns of the Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament – popularly known throughout North America as “The Sisters of Perpetual Adoration” – were founded in Italy by Mother Mary Magdalene of the Incarnation (born Caterina Sordini; beatified in 2008) in response to a vision of Christ she experienced in 1789 as a Franciscan nun. In this vision, Christ asked her to form an order devoted to adoring him in the Eucharist day and night. She responded to his call by founding our order, whose constitutions were canonically approved in 1818. Since its founding, our order has grown into a worldwide community with monasteries in Italy, Spain, Austria, the United States, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Bethlehem and Kenya.

The San Francisco community arrived from Guadalajara, Mexico in 1928, fleeing the persecution of the church by the Mexican government in power at that time. With the assistance of Jesuit Father Dionisio Kavanaugh, we relocated to San Francisco, buying property in the Haight-Ashbury district where we eventually built our current monastery. Like many other people, members of our community suffered severe financial hardships after the crash of 1929, which wiped out most of our savings. Little by little, we succeeded in rebuilding our finances by making and selling paintings and embroidery as well as traditional Mexican foods such as tamales and enchiladas. As we became better known in the archdiocese, we were also helped by generous benefactors and were eventually able to complete the construction of our monastery and our beautiful chapel in which Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament is continuously exposed for adoration.

Although we are cloistered, we strive to provide services to the wider community. Until 1995, we made altar bread for the churches in the archdiocese at our monastery, and although we no longer actually make the bread on our premises, we still handle its distribution. Our chapel is open to the public from 6:15 a.m. until 6 p.m. every day, and all are welcome to attend our daily morning masses at 8:30 a.m. and our three annual novenas in honor of Corpus Christi, St. Joseph, and Our Lady of Sorrows. Many lay people and religious come to our monastery chapel to hold their own individual and group retreats before the Most Blessed Sacrament, and our Mistress of Novices also periodically offers small group retreats for young women who feel they may have a vocation for joining our community. We also invite individuals and families who can commit to regularly scheduled eucharistic adoration to consider joining our Pious Union of Secular Adorers, a third order which enables interested lay people to participate in the spiritual life of our community. Finally, we have a religious articles store on our monastery grounds, which is open to the public. We gladly accept petitions for prayers by phone, fax and email, and people can also order personalized cards from the monastery for birthdays or other occasions. We invite anyone interested in finding out more about our community to visit our website at www.adorejesus.org.

 

Sisters of Perpetual Adoration

FULL NAME OF ORDER: The Nuns of the Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, popularly known throughout North America as “The Sisters of Perpetual Adoration.”

FOUNDED: 18th-century Italy by Mother Mary Magdalene of the Incarnation (born Caterina Sordini; beatified 2008); canonical approval of first constitutions: 1818

ARRIVAL IN SAN FRANCSICO: 1928

MINISTRY: Eucharistic adoration

NUNS IN ARCHDIOCESE: 8 professed nuns and 2 novices

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