Felicity – Clyde, Missouri

Hello there!  I am a four-year-old feline who lives in a wonderful monastery in Clyde, Missouri, the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration.

On my Zoom call with Br. Ricky, our Novice Master, I shared that a feline visitor asked me if I was the one being perpetually adored.  Wow!  My fur really stood on end, even though this could be a very feline-like point of view.  I quickly explained that it is the Lord who is being adored by the sisters.  They are called to a ministry of prayer anf of the unceasing adoration of Christ in the Eucharist.  Br. Ricky nodded solemnly and quoted from the Rule –

“Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ.”
                                                            RB 72.11

That really  made me purr!

I explained that I would like to join the Feline Cloister because Sr. Sarah Schwartzberg, one of the sisters here, thinks I’m pretty and smart.  She wants others to experience the joy of getting to know me.

Br. Ricky’s eyes widened a bit, so I quickly mewed that I was glad that Sister Sarah said those things and not me.  I think that would be a lack of humility.

Br. Ricky nodded and pawed through his well-worn copy of The Rule of Saint Benedict in Mew.  “You are right, Novice Felicity,” Br. Ricky responded.  “Saying such things about oneself is not in keeping with the seventh step of humility.”

“The seventh step of humility is that we should be ready to speak of ourselves as of less importance and less worthy than others, not as a mere phrase on our lips, but as something we believe in the secret conviction of our hearts.”   RB 7.51    [trans by Patrick Barry, OSB]

Novice Felicity’s monastic home in Clyde, Missouri.

Br. Ricky asked what I thought were my outstanding characteristics.  Keeping in mind that seventh step of humility I cautiously offered that I am curious, perceptive, and smart.  I looked warily at Br. Ricky wondering if I had spoken too highly about myself.   Also perceptive, Br. Ricky noted my tense feline body language, mewed with understanding, “Bring curious and perceptive can help us discover ways that God is calling out to us.  The Rule says,”

“What is more delightful than this voice of the Holy One calling to us? See how God’s love shows us the way of life.”  Prologue 19

I got excited hearing all that because one of the things I love to do is investigate.  As a novice I can investigate all the ways that God is present.  I shared, too, that I am easy-going and patient.  Br. Ricky looked delighted and shared that both qualities will help me in my relationships with the other Worldwide Novices.  I was encouraged until I heard the last few words.

“This, then, is the good zeal which members must foster with fervent love: They should each try to be the first to show respect to the other (Rom 12:10). supporting with the greatest patience one another’s weaknesses of body or behavior, and earnestly competing in obedience
to one another.”     RB 72.3-6

Worldwide Novice Felicity completed her tree investigation.
Now she’s investigating how to return to the ground.

“Oh, oh,” I mewed to myself.  I may have some challenges with obedience, one of the vows I’ll need to make to become a full Benedictine feline.  I confessed in open honesty that I may have trouble with being obedient as I don’t like to be, well…managed.  Br. Ricky nodded in understanding, sharing that obedience is often a challenge for felines.  He then looked down and made a quick note in his little notebook with his tiny green pencil.  He found another passage in the Rule.

“Obedience is a blessing to be shown by all, not only to the prioress and abbot but also to one another, since we know that it is by this way of obedience that we go to God.”  RB 71.1-2

I want to go to God!  I vowed then and there that I would give obedience a go.  I would be curious about all the ways I can be obedient.

Continuing with my honest mewing, I explained that I really don’t get annoyed very easily.  But when annoyed I’ll just disengage with the human, feline or situation.  Sometimes I disengage with my “Monastery Mate,”  Mimi.  Mimi is also becoming a Worldwide Novice.

Ricky explained that another of the Benedictine vows is stability.  Part of stability is remaining connected to others and to situations even when we are annoyed.  He mewed that by staying right where we are we can learn about ourselves and about what God would like us to be or do.

“When we practice staying put and connected to others we show a very important practice from the Rule – loving others, “ Br. Ricky explained.  When I heard the verse below I purred and vowed, that is what I’m going to do.

“Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way;
the love of Christ must come before all else.”  RB 4.20-21

As a novice I really want to help my human learn ways to take life as it comes and enjoy every moment of it.  That made Br. Ricky clap his paws.  Now I’m really excited about becoming a novice.


My favorite verses from the Rule:

“Do not be daunted immediately by fear and run away from the road that leads to salvation. It is bound to be narrow at the outset. 49But as we progress in this way of life and in faith, we shall run on the path of God’s commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love.”  Prologue 48-49

In addition to being curious, Novice Felicity is also agile.