Tehachapi nuns praying for a chapel

Sisters at the Norbertine Priory of St. Joseph began in 1997 with five sisters; now there are 40
The Norbertine Canonesses stand in choir at the priory's chapel. The cloistered Sisters have outgrown the chapel and are raising money to build a larger one. The public is also welcome to worship in the chapel, though they sit in a separate room divided by a screen.

The Norbertine Canonesses stand in choir at the priory’s chapel. The cloistered Sisters have outgrown the chapel and are raising money to build a larger one. The public is also welcome to worship in the chapel, though they sit in a separate room divided by a screen. (photo from Bakersfield.com)

The following comes from a July 28 Bakersfield.com article by Kelly Ardis:

Outgrowing a church is a good thing. Though it means lots of expense, work and patience to find a solution, it also means more people are interested in the message being shared there, and even the temporary headache of close quarters can’t dim that light.

That’s what the Sisters at the Norbertine Priory of St. Joseph have found over the years as little by little they have outgrown their facilities. Since the cloistered priory moved to the 475 acres in the Tehachapi mountains in 2000 after starting the order in 1997 with five sisters, their numbers have grown to 40, with four more sisters joining by the end of the year. That will leave two open chairs in the sisters’ 46-capacity chapel, and it likely won’t be long before those are filled too.

The sisters come from all over the world and range in age from 19 to 77. Some joined shortly after high school, but others left careers and college educations.

The Norbertine Monastery in the Tehachapi Mountains had a groundbreaking and open house in March 2012. The organization had grown from five to 25 nuns, and they had been living in small modular trailers which were aged, so they built new facilities. (photo from Bakersfield.com)

The Norbertine Monastery in the Tehachapi Mountains had a groundbreaking and open house in March 2012. The organization had grown from five to 25 nuns, and they had been living in small modular trailers which were aged, so they built new facilities. (photo from Bakersfield.com)

With help from a group of volunteers that call themselves Friends of the Norbertine Canonesses, the sisters are currently raising money to build a larger chapel and residential wing, the second phase in an expansion project that started with a new monastery finished in 2013. A fundraiser on Aug. 27, “A Night in the Vineyard,” will give the public a chance to support the priory’s efforts.

The construction project is complicated by the property’s topography. The monastery sits atop a hill and takes up most of it, with no room to expand on any side. Since the sisters want the new chapel to be level with the monastery, it will be the top of a three-level building, with lower levels built at the bottom of the hill. Working with a 40-foot slope means the project will be expensive: $8 million to start and another $4 million to finish.

A Night in the Vineyard: A Benefit for the Norbertine Canonesses’ Future Chapel

When: Saturday, Aug. 27
Where: Triassic Vineyards, 24627 Cummings Valley Road, Tehachapi
Admission: $100 per person before Aug. 1, $125 per person after until Aug. 21 deadline
Information: 319-0691

The fundraiser next month will give the community another chance to help the sisters. The second annual fundraiser, to be held at Triassic Vineyards, will include dinner, wine-tastings, live and silent auctions, live music and a pop-up gift shop of items the nuns made. Though the sisters will not be present, Mother Mary Augustine will address attendees in a recorded video presentation.

“It’s going to be a great opportunity to learn more about them,” Wolfe said.

A Sister of the Norbertine Canonesses tends to the animals at the monastery in Tehachapi. The cloistered Sisters live on a secluded, self-sufficient life in the mountains and sell the goods they make in a gift shop.

A Sister of the Norbertine Canonesses tends to the animals at the monastery in Tehachapi. The cloistered Sisters live on a secluded, self-sufficient life in the mountains and sell the goods they make in a gift shop. (photo from Bakersfield.com)

Dinner will be catered by Perfetto Italian Restaurant in Tehachapi, though the food will be French-inspired after the prioress’ home country and site of the first Norbertine monastery. The menu includes a choice of beef bourguignon, coq au vin or a vegetarian option.

Leo Severino, a Catholic Hollywood producer and co-founder of Metanoia Films, will speak at the fundraiser, as will the parents of one of the sisters.
Auction items will include a two-night stay at Vineyard Hacienda Bed & Breakfast in San Diego and a two-night stay at St. Anthony’s Retreat in Three Rivers.

Last year’s event sold out, with 130 people in attendance and raised about $50,000. The venue this year is bigger, with space for 156. Wolfe and Bloom didn’t have a specific fundraising goal for the evening but the more they are able to help the sisters with the better, they agreed.

Bloom said she hopes the event will bring awareness to “this beautiful community in the mountains with 40 sisters who sacrifice and pray daily for the salvation of all souls. Their need at this time is only met with the generosity of little feet and little hands.”

Comments

comments

To add a comment, click on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ icons OR go further down to the bottom of comments to the Post your comment box.

Comments

  1. So, one of the topics in the Holy Father’s recent apostolic constitution, Vultum Dei Quaerere (“To Seek the Face of God”, 7/22/16) was the precipitous decline in consecrated and especially contemplative women’s religious orders’ numbers. This group, the Norbertine Canonesses, obviously traditional, has an overflow (heaven forbid) of vocations and members.

    I wonder if Bob One or jon the pious or others of the New Church brethren will weigh in on this and explain to all of us this anomaly, which cannot, and should not, be allowed to exist.

  2. First question, do they celebrate the True Mass of All Times?????

    • The true litmus test of being a Catholic is not which form of the Mass a person attends, but if that person loves God and neighbor.

    • Linda Maria says:

      That is my question too, Janek! Sounds great, if they do! I would love to pass out flyers with information on this religious order, for young girls and women aspiring to the religious life, at my parish! Especially, after the Tridentine Mass!

    • Richard Lachman says:

      EXCELLENT question! The answer is a BIG FAT NO! They DO NOT have the True Mass offered at their chapel. Don’t let the full habit fool you, these “nice ladies” embrace Vatican II whole heartedly as do their male counter-parts at St. Michael’s Norbertine Abbey in Orange County, CA.

      • For your information, the Norbertine fathers at St. Michael’s Abbey supply extremely well-formed priests throughout the Diocese of Orange, including a number who regularly celebrate the Tridentine Mass in several locations on a weekly basis. Their liturgies at the Abbey are typically Latin Novus Ordo, with Gregorian chant and Communion received kneeling on the tongue from an ordained priest or transitional deacon. They live and preach the true Faith. You will not find a better order of religious men or women in California. So please stop with your sinful detraction or calumny.

    • Yes, The Norbertines have a special rite, called the Norbertine Rite, which is in Latin. There is a group of Norbertine priests and brothers near El Toro Marine base in Orange County. They have been there since the 1960’s or possibly late 1950’s. Their Sunday Mass is open to the public and they have retreats and they have a supper camp for boys which is very reasonable. At the summer camp, the boys have daily Latin Mass and rosary. They have swimming, archery, and all kinds of fun boy stuff. Kids keep coming back year after year. Some came from as far away as New York. I was a camp counselor there in 1972. They are suppose to have a new larger facility now, although I have not seen it.

    • I meant to add, the Norbertine Priests and Brothers came to America from Germany and Hungary. I don’t think that there are any of the original men left. But they have grown the order greatly. They had one parish in Los Angeles called St. Stephen’s. think they help out at more parishes now, especially since more parishes have a TLM

  3. No, since they are nuns, they cannot celebrate either form of the Mass. Only a male priest may do that.

  4. Tony de New York says:

    ‘do they celebrate the True Mass of All Times?????’ What NON SENSE!

    The mass is the mass.

    • FromThePew says:

      Tony, Tony, Tony…….You could not have EVER attended a TLM to utter those rather hasty words. If you like the NO mass as in “the mass is the mass’, you would REALLY love the TLM. It is the height of ‘WORSHIP’ to GOD. Really, like a little bit of Heaven on earth! But don’t take my word for it. Check it out for yourself. Go to: http://www.ecclesiadei.org for all the information you will need. Where they are held, when, books of translations from Latin to English, etc. You owe it to yourself. Truly sublime.

  5. Bob One says:

    Well, Campion, that is the first time I have been referred to as “new church brethren.” But to your question: I think this is just outstanding! If I has a few extra million 🙂 I would give it to them. Right now I’m trying to raise enough to get through the year. Some of the other orders of nuns might want to do a case study about this order and come up with best-practices that made it possible. I applaud them! Why wouldn’t I? Or anyone else?

  6. So Tony the Holy Mass celebrated for centuries is NON SENSE?? You are truly in need of help to degrade the Holy Mass of All Times., We know how many Novus Ordonarians hate the TLM and all that it stands for, on the other hand we don’t hate the Novus Ordo, it was a “man made” service and can’t hold a torch to the TLM.

  7. This is true just because that wear “traditional” habits does not make them traditional, lets pray that they discover the TRUE MASS OF ALL TIMES and soon.

  8. FromThePew says:

    God bless the Norbertine sisters with a big fat donor like Mother Mary Angelica had with her order of the poor Clare sisters. It is on my bucket list to visit that church (Hanceville AL, where the TLM is) and her grave someday. I sleep better knowing these blessed sisters are praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament all hours of the day. Please dearest Lord Jesus, don’t let anything or anyone harm the practices of any of the traditional cloistered orders. You know who (Pope F) leans anti-tradition & has a mind to ‘review & recommend’ changes. Let’s not try to ‘fix’ what may not be broken, God willing.

  9. Gratias says:

    The Norbertine Brothers of Orange County are a great blessing to Southern California. Some of their priests offer the TLM, but not all. Their priests offer the every-Sunday mass at Newport Beach as well. Many times their priests have come north to help out Una Voce Ventura when a TLM priest was needed. We are blessed to have such a Holy order here in Southern California.

COMMENTS POLICY: Comments are limited to 750 characters and will be truncated at 750. Comments should not contain offensive or libelous language. Please strive to be civil. All comments are subject to approval by our moderator and to editing as the moderator deems appropriate. Inclusion of your email address is optional.

Speak Your Mind

COMMENTS POLICY: Comments are limited to 750 characters and will be truncated at 750. Comments should not contain offensive or libelous language. Please strive to be civil. All comments are subject to approval by our moderator and to editing as the moderator deems appropriate. Inclusion of your email address is optional.