Desert nuns find
an oasis in sisterhood
PHOTOS BY JOHN BERING. TEXT BY CAROL SCHUCK SCHEIBER.
FTER 15 MONTHS of living among the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adora-
First, her sisters cut her hair, a symbol of detachment from worldliness that
tion, Jennifer Meissonnier became a novice member in June 2015. Dur-
ing the investiture ceremony, she took the name Sister Augusta Mary
of Our Lady of Grace, putting her a step closer to full membership with the Poor
Clares of Our Lady of Solitude Monastery in Tonopah, Arizona.
dates back to Saints Francis and Clare in the 800s. Her new sisters also helped
Meissonnier don the habit of the order.
Then she, her family and friends, and her new sisters emerged from the cha-
pel into the bright light of the desert to celebrate with cake and punch.
The bold step of becoming a nun is nourished by tradition,
ritual, symbols—and hugs.
THE NIGHT before
other women in
formation had a
complete with a
crown of flowers
and even a rainbow.
John Bering is a
whose goal is to
that glorify God.
Find him online at
Scheiber is an
editor of VISION
of the National
Religious Vocation Conference.