The Discalced Carmelite nuns of Littleton live a life of cloistered reflection meant to distance them from the outside world and allow members to focus on the world beyond.
Problem is, representatives of that outside world keep intruding — and trying to chase them.
Yes, you read that right.
In a request for a variance just approved by officials in Littleton (see the application below), the order says that the nuns' home needs a higher fence because people have been hopping it frequently enough that older sisters have been trapped inside — because they can't outrun their pursuers.
Here's how the Discacled Carmelites of Littleton website describes the monastic life lived by its members.
The Littleton Carmel observes the original Constitutions of the Discalced Nuns of the Order of the Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel as written by St. Teresa of Avila and renewed by the Holy See in 1990 with the most minor and necessary adaptations possible. The Nuns wear the complete, traditional religious habit, as given by St. Teresa in her Constitutions.
“The ancient spiritual tradition of the Church, taken up by the Second Vatican Council, explicitly connects the contemplative life to the prayer of Jesus “on the mountain,” or solitary place. The Holy Spirit, Who led Jesus into the desert, invites the nun to share the solitude of Christ Jesus, Who, with the eternal Spirit, offered Himself to the Father. The solitary cell, the closed cloister, is the place where the nun, Bride of the Incarnate Word, lives wholly concentrated with Christ in God. The cloister becomes the fulfillment of His eternal desire to welcome the creature into the mystery of intimacy with the Word. To the gift of Christ the Bridegroom, Who on the cross offered His body unreservedly, the nun responds in like terms, offering herself with Jesus Christ to the Father and cooperating with Him in the work of Redemption.”
“The contemplative nun fulfills to the highest degree the First Commandment of the Lord: ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, with all your mind,’ making it the full meaning of her life. She moves toward the perfection of charity, choosing God as ‘the one thing necessary,’ loving Him exclusively as All in all. This is so that He alone may dwell in the utter silence of the cloister, filling it with His word and presence, and the Bride may truly dedicate herself to the Only One, in the mystery of a total and exclusive love” (Verbi Sponsa)
In 1997, the privacy the nuns need was disrupted, the aforementioned application says, when a contractor replaced the previous fence around its main property with a shorter one just six feet in height.
Now, they want a return to an eight-foot fence.
"The grant of variance will restore the privacy to pre-1997 levels and be in harmony with the rules and constitutions of the Carmel," the application states. "It will also keep people from once again jumping the fence and chasing the nuns to the house."
The application adds: "There are currently 5 nuns in the enclosure [who] cannot outrun the people that infringe on the enclosure. Therefore they are confined to the house."
According to 7News, the nuns in question are all over the age of 76.
Last night, members of the Littleton Board of Adjustment reportedly took mercy on the sisters. They unanimously approved a higher fence.
Sounds like some prayers have been answered. Here's a 7News report about the fence, followed by the application.