Romite Ambrosiane, prayer and work in harmony

The unity between contemplation and practical activity characterizes the life of the monastic community of the Sacro Monte, which opens the doors of its Spirituality Center to those who wish to share celebrations and moments of reflection

of Christina

Prayer and work. These are the two fundamental moments in the life of the Ambrosian Romites of the Sacro Monte di Varese. The monastery of the Order of Sant’Ambrogio ad Nemus dates back to the 15th century and is located on the hill overlooking Varese. According to an ancient legend, in 389 Sant’Ambrogio would have eradicated the Arian heresy. In the mid-1400s, some hermits led a life entirely dedicated to the Lord at the sanctuary: what united them was the meditation of Jesus’ passion and love for the Crucifix.

The spiritual roots

«This is our spirituality: the most important element that we draw from them – they explain from the Community of Romite Ambrosian -. Our day is also made up of work, which must not be considered other than prayer, but in a harmonious unity in which everything is placed in the whole. We are contemplative nuns, but we work, in the serene awareness that work is not extraneous to contemplation: if lived in the right way, it is an element of it». Even if for them work is a means of livelihood, not everything is a source of income and some nuns are employed in the kitchen or in the infirmary: «Keeping this in mind is important because it helps us understand that work is not for earning, but for the life. In a society like ours this means affirming the primacy of the human person over every other reality, which must be placed at his service”.

The signs of nature

The monastery is like a small village, on top of the mountain, clinging to the rock, built over the centuries in a picturesque, unregulated way, with stairs, ascents and descents everywhere. «We cultivate the gardens stolen from the rock and we have some stable animals – they specify -. In this way we can process milk, produce butter and cheese. We discover every day how much nature is a school of contemplation and a source of meditation, for those who have an attentive eye and know how to look for and discover signs everywhere». In addition to these activities there is also a restoration laboratory.

As far as prayer is concerned, since its erection the monastery has followed the Ambrosian rite: «This deeply unites us to the bishop, the priests and all the Ambrosian people, because the liturgical action is the source of ecclesial communion». The Spirituality Center is attached to the monastery. Those who wish can come here to experience a few days or even just a few hours of prayer, silence and reflection, sharing with the monastic community some liturgical celebrations (praises, Mass, midday and vespers) in the Ambrosian rite and chant which take place in the Church of the Transfiguration. «In this way we cloistered nuns intend to live the welcoming spirit that already moved the first hermits, the blessed Catherine and Giuliana, in their assistance and charity towards pilgrims. We offer the brothers the possibility of an encounter with God: Our guests are helped by the discreet presence of our community and by the atmosphere of essentiality and silence they find in the house», they explain.

The building includes the church, single and double rooms with bathrooms, a library, a conference room, meeting spaces, the refectory, some terraced courtyards. No line is fixed. “In a spirit of fraternal sharing, however, we ask that everyone leaves a donation according to their possibilities, to allow us to continue this service”, they specify.

Go to the special on the pastoral proposal

Romite Ambrosiane, prayer and work in harmony