On Aug. 15, 2019, the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Lily Key, originally of St. Patrick Parish in Carlisle, became Sister Lily Marie, a novice in the Order of the Cistercians of the Strict Observance.
She had spent one year as a Postulant at Mount Saint Mary’s Abbey in Wrentham, Mass. At the end of a two-year novitiate period, she may make her first Vows of Stability, Conversion of Life and Obedience.
Sister Lily Marie was homeschooled and earned a B.A. in Theology from the University of Dallas. She attended one of the first Fiat Days retreats in the Diocese of Harrisburg, which introduces young women to various religious communities and how to discern God’s call.
The Cistercians of the Strict Observance, also known as Trappistines, are a contemplative community and part of the Benedictine family. Mount Saint Mary’s Abbey has approximately 40 Sisters. Like all Benedictines, their life is grounded in “Ora et Labora,” prayer and work. In addition to Mass and praying the Liturgy of the Hours seven times a day, the Sisters support themselves by making and selling candy. Contemplative nuns and monks live a hidden life, but their presence is vital to the life of the Church because of their prayer for the whole world.
Mount Saint Mary’s Abbey hosts two “Monastic Experience Weekends” per year, where women between the ages of 20 and 40 can spend some time at the monastery. These weekends “give women discerning a religious vocation an immersion in our communal prayer and a taste of our way of life through the witness and experience of some of our sisters. These events also offer the joy of meeting other young women who are seeking their place in the Church. Time is provided for individual conversations with the sisters on the formation team.”