Live-in Opportunities

Is Jesus Calling you to follow Him as a Benedictine nun at St. Emma Monastery?

Have you been wondering if you have a monastic vocation? 

Do you want to experience the ore et labora of our monastery? 

Do you desire a closer look? 

Do you want to share our life for a few days but without a commitment to enter on your side? 

Single Catholic women, between the ages 16-38, are invited to join us at various times throughout the year to experience our Benedictine monastic life for themselves.

We host several “formal” Monastic Immersion Experiences each year, please see the schedule below for our upcoming dates.  Additionally, individuals are welcome to come for informal Immersion Experiences as their schedules permit.

During these visits, vocation guests have the opportunity to explore the possibility that Jesus Christ might be inviting them to follow Him more closely through a monastic vocation with our community.

Participants take part in our daily schedule of prayer – the daily Eucharist and The Liturgy of the Hours – and in our work in the monastery, in caring for guests and in our gift and book shop.  Recreational time together belongs also to the monastic day. 

Time is also provided to spend in silence, reading and reflecting.  Talks with Mother Prioress and the vocation director also offered.  The Monastic Immersion Experiences normally begins with arrival in the afternoon on the opening day and closes after lunch on the closing day.  For those desiring a longer time, arrangements can be made.

Please contact us at 724-834-3060 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for additional information or to register or an upcoming Monastic Immersion Experience.

You are welcome to come for an informal Immersion Experience at a time that is convenient for you; please let us know about your desire to visit.

Some thoughts shared with us from a participant in one of our Immersion Experiences

The first three days I spent on the Monastic Immersion Experience, all I could think was:  Is this it?  Is this where I’m called?  I found myself growing frustrated and resentful.  Why don’t they give me time to think?!

Kneeling before Him in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, it hit me:  This is a Monastic Immersion Experience.  If you want time to think, go on a silent retreat!

I have seven days here, I thought.  I’m here to experience monastic life the way it really is.  If I’m going to really have that experience, I need to have it in my heart, too.  I will have plenty of time to reflect on the experience from a discernment perspective once I get home.  For now, just live in the moment.

Why is it important to wait on the Lord?  Because I cannot possibly know where I am called by my own power.  Real discernment is too complex to “figure out” on my own.  Once I had seen monastic life from the inside, I understood why you can’t approach discernment as if it were a hunt for the right college.  You have to chill out, and wait on Him.

But like pretty much every other discerner, I want to know where I will be in one year, five years, twenty-five years…  That day before Our Lord at St. Emma’s, I realized that my desire to know — especially to know NOW — is a desire for control.  I want control over my life.  I want to know because the predictability will give me a sense of peace and comfort.  But in having control, I fail to hand my life over to Him.  In finding my peace and comfort in my own power, I fail to find it in Him.

After that hour in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel, things got much better.  I felt instantly less frustrated, drained, and impatient.  In fact, I started to have a pretty good time.

When I got home, I was not the same discerner that I was.  These wonderful women gave me a place to stay, three meals a day, an opportunity to learn to pray the Divine Office, great conversation, some wonderful spiritual direction, and loads and loads of love.  But much more importantly, they blessed me with an experience that taught me to wait for Him, and in so doing, they gave me peace.    - JES

Triduum Vocational Discernment Opportunity


Are you wondering about a call to a religious community?
Looking for special prayer time over Palm Sunday or during Holy Week and Easter?
Would you like to experience the fullness of The Liturgy of the Hours as prayed in monasteries of old?
The original Tenebrae service combines Vigils and Lauds into one long prayer on Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday mornings.
Pray with us these psalms, antiphons, and readings of old as a beeswax-colored candle is extinguished after each psalm until just the “Christ” candle (the white one) remains burning.
Holy Thursday evening we have the Maundy Thursday Mass, there is the beautiful Mass of the Institution of the Eucharist, procession with the Blessed Sacrament, and opportunity of Adoration until 10 pm.

Good Friday afternoon, The Liturgy of Good Friday is celebrated.

On Holy Saturday night, we begin the Easter Vigil by gathering at the cross by our chapel for the blessing of the new fire and the blessing of the Paschal Candle symbolizing the light of Christ.  We process into the darkened Cor Jesu Chapel with the priest proclaiming, “Christ, the light.’  We respond, “Thanks be to God.” 
We are privileged to read all the 7 readings from the Scriptures and sing all of the responsorial psalms.

Easter Sunday we sing Lauds and Terce with Easter Sunday Mass at 8:00.
If you would like to experience this Holy Week either as a part of your general discernment to religious life or to the monastic life, please contact
St. Emma’s.