This is my friend Sr. Marie Billingsley, an American sister who is working to found a women’s community affiliated with the Benedictines of the Immaculate, a small community of traditional Benedictine monks “of strict observance” in northern Italy.A special request: help some nice nuns? – Ko-fi ❤️ Where creators get support from fans through donations, memberships, shop sales and more! The original ‘Buy Me a Coffee’ Page.
This is my friend Sr. Marie Billingsley, an American sister who is working to found a women’s community affiliated with the Benedictines of the Immaculate, a small community of traditional Benedictine monks “of strict observance” in northern Italy.
As you may imagine, such an undertaking is difficult and fraught with lots of ups and downs at the very best of times. And these days, for a plenitude of reasons both in and outside the Church, it seems these are not exactly what you’d call ideal times.
But perhaps that is “thinking the thoughts of time” and not the mind of God. When you think about it, it seems more likely that the founding of deeply prayerful communities dedicated exclusively to contemplation and praise of God in the traditional forms of the Church is exactly the sort of thing God Himself would think of as a solution for bad times, not a luxury reserved for good ones.
And I’m happy to say that this theory is being supported by some good news. After a long wait of preparation, the little community of sisters is starting to be blessed with growth.
Last month, Postulant Maria Soledad received the habit of novice and became Sr. Joan of Arc.
Postulant Veronica, doing what postulants do.And another postulant, Veronica, arrived about the same time from Savona, Italy.
From the sisters’ newsletter:
“Our motto, PAX IN PRAELIO, having been chosen in honour of Our Blessed Mother who is described as ‘Beautiful as an army arrayed in battle,’ and which we felt was appropriate for the times in which we are called to live the Benedictine life, will be a reminder of our duty as part of the Church militant on the front lines, battling for souls.”
A request for help: a trip to Rome
Fr. Jehan, the founder of the community, processing with a large crowd of clergy, religious and laity up Via Conciliazione, toward St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome at last year’s Pilgrimage of Summorum Pontificum.
We heard recently from Sr. Marie that she and the sisters would like to attend the annual gathering in Rome, the Pilgrimage Summorum Pontificum, from October 28-30, an event their Father Prior and brother monks have attended regularly.
But these sisters, in their earliest stages of formation of the community, don’t have a lot of extra funds as you may imagine. It’s a 14 hour drive round trip between the small mountain village where they live in an old convent, and Rome. With gas prices the way they are, such a long drive would be impossible to fit into their frugal budget. Additionally, since the event is three days they will need accommodation for three sisters for two nights in the centre of Rome. We’re helping them find suitable places in the City with sisters who have rooms for pilgrims, which is not at all the same thing as a hotel, but it will be at least 500 Euros.
Sr. wrote to me, saying, “We are taking it as a surprise of Divine Providence, if he so desires that we go He will inspire the donors, and if not, we will stay put.”
Where the hope is hiding
These little sprouts of hope are appearing quietly all over the place, though you have to look closely to see them in the White Witch’s Great Winter. It is communities and groups like these sisters and monks, though they never make the headlines, where all our futures lie, even if we never meet them in this life. God is working, quietly and patiently, to bring about the revival of the Faith and the Church, in His own way, which we know is a hidden way.
I hope you will join me in praying for these sisters – they’re favourites of mine, personally, being Benedictines – that their tribe may increase and that obstacles like costs will get up and out of the way.
This little video – jammed with nunny eye-candy – is just here for the sheer delight of it…
How you can help
If you can manage – and of course I’m more than aware of how difficult things are now for many – I hope you can offer a small donation to cover their costs for this event. Just 5 or 10 dollars from a few dozen people will make it possible.
(Full disclosure, Sr. Marie has agreed to come visit us here in Narni on her way to Rome, and I’m very excited about finally meeting her in person.)
NB: If you are thinking of donating, please do not use the Ko-Fi page donation button below, but instead click on the direct PayPal donation page for the sisters, here. If you don’t like Paypal (who does?) you can transfer directly through the bank account of the Benedictines of the Immaculate (the monks), the details for which can be found on the sidebar of their website, here.
Be sure to add the note: “For the sisters”.
For any other information about the sisters, just drop me a note on the site or on Facebook and I’ll do my best to fill you in. Or you can write to Sr. Marie directly, at
Thanks so much for prayers and donations.