By Linda Bordoni
"Cor Orans" (“Praying Heart”) is the title of a document that provides instructions on how to apply Pope Francis’ 2016 Apostolic Constitution – “Vultum Dei Quaerere” (“Seek the Face of God”) addressed to Catholic women religious in contemplative communities.
In it, the Pope calls for changes to be implemented in 12 diverse areas from prayer life to work habits.
“Cor Orans” was presented during a press conference in the Holy See Press Office led by Archbishop José Rodriguez Carballo, Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and by the undersecretary of the same Congregation, Father Sebastiano Paciolla.
Noting that in the world today there are almost 38,000 cloistered nuns, and for this reason the contents of the new document are interesting not only for the Church and for the nuns themselves but also for society at large, Archbishop Rodriguez Caballo explained that the document aims to “clarify the provisions of the law, developing and determining the procedures for its execution”.
The document provides precise guidelines regarding all the practical, administrative, legal and spiritual aspects pertaining to the founding and running of Monasteries for contemplative nuns.
These include detailed specifications regarding the autonomy of monasteries, the foundation and the erection of the monasteries themselves, their transferal and eventual suppression, the need for ecclesial vigilance over the monasteries, relations with the bishop of the diocese in question, rules and regulations regarding “the separation of the nuns from the outside world,” means of communication, the various forms of cloister including “papal enclosure” and formation.
The official English translation of the document is available here.