Sr. Praxedes openly talks about her contentment with religious life: "We cannot be unhappy if God is with us."
How can a woman who lives enclosed in a cloistered monastery be happy?
Sr. Práxedes of St. Augustin, the oldest nun in the community of the Discalced Augustinian nuns of the Valencian town of Benigánim, gives us an answer.
She was born 87 years ago in Valdeltorno, Teruel (in northeastern Spain). Her story is not that of an early vocation: she entered the convent at the age of 27. With a big smile, she explains to the readers of Aleteia what those years were like, when she felt the call of the Lord:
As a child I didn’t want to be a nun. When I was 27 years old, God called me, and I’m very happy he did. I was spiritually guided by Fr. Vicente Micó, spiritual director of the seminary in Teruel. It was a little difficult for my parents, but the Lord was calling me and I wanted to follow my vocation above all else. At that time, a sister of mine, who had 11 children, encouraged me to go ahead.
Her vocation as an Augustinian nun
Fr. Micó played a decisive role, since he came from Ollería, where there was a community of Discalced Augustinian nuns. He was the one who directed her towards this order.
So the first convent she lived in was that of Ollería, where she spent 40 years, many of them as prioress. Sr. Práxedes recalls the time lived there:
That convent was a marvel: we had the House of Prayer, and every Sunday we had groups from all over Valencia. I was very attached to the convent, because I had done a lot of work there, but we gave it to other nuns, the nuns of the Incarnate Word. In that way, religious life is still present and alive in Ollería.
Arrival in Benigánim
In 2009, they had to move to Benigánim due to the shortage of vocations. It’s a moment she remembers with sadness and nostalgia, but they had no choice; in Ollería there were already very few nuns, and almost all of them were elderly.
At her convent, she can often be seen at the helm of the Blessed Agnes gift shop, happy because she continues to be useful to the community, even with her hearing loss and her absent-mindedness.
Sr. Praxedes openly talks about her contentment with religious life: “I live very happily. I have never doubted this. We cannot be unhappy if God is with us.”
Prayer, the center of her life
For Sr. Praxedes, praying for all of us is a great necessity: it’s the center of her life and what gives meaning to her vocation. Thousands of nuns like Sr. Praxedes dedicate their lives in silence to prayer for all humanity.
I’m happy to be able to pray for everyone; that’s what we’re here for. We’re the heart of the Church. We’re quiet, but prayer goes and waters the ground everywhere. Jesus is very great: we want to love him completely, more and more each day.
The daily life of Sister Práxedes and her community can be followed through social networks. These nuns know how to make their life and message reach far and wide: they have a YouTube channel: Agustinas Descalzas Benigánim, Instagram account: @agustinasdescalzasbeniganim, and Facebook page: Agustinas Descalzas. Their messages are in Spanish but their smiles need no translation.
Thanks to the work of the DeClausura Foundation, 550 monasteries and convents are waiting to pray for the prayer intentions of Aleteia readers.