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The Contemplatives of Saint Joseph is a monastic community in the Roman Catholic Church, founded in the Archdiocese of San Francisco, CA in 2012. It consists of three branches: the Priests and Brothers, the Sisters, and the Laity. Each member, according to his or her state in life, seeks to live a life of deep contemplative prayer and then to share the fruits of that prayer with the wider Church community. We ‘breathe with both lungs,’ that is to say, we draw from the Christian traditions of both East and West, and have a special love for the Desert Fathers and Mothers, the Jesus Prayer, and the Byzantine Divine Liturgy, which we celebrate on Sundays. Our monastic life is deeply liturgical. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which we celebrate in both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms, is the source and summit of our lives. We adore Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, together as a community, as well as in private. We pray the Divine Office in the Extraordinary Form, some Hours of which we pray in private, while most are chanted in common. Silence and solitude punctuate our days. We maintain a quiet monastery, and seek to be judicious with our speech. A significant portion of our day is reserved for solitude, private prayer, Lectio Divina, and study. We are devoted in a filial way to both Our Blessed Mother Mary, and to Saint Joseph her spouse and our patron.
The Importance of the Contemplatives of Saint Joseph
within The Life of the Church
The role of prayer, contemplation and apostolic zeal within the Life of the Church is stated beautifully and profoundly by Pope Paul VI:
“The work of contemplation overflows, benefiting the entire Church. The Church needs this work of contemplation that it may protect its life and increase its growth. The Church is in dire need of those who excel in the interior life and are intent upon recollecting themselves in God and be aflame, to their innermost being, with love for heavenly things. If such persons are lacking, if their lives are withered and weak, it necessarily follows that the strength of the whole Mystical Body of Christ is diminished. Consequently, serious damage would be inflicted on the knowledge of divine realities, theology, sacred preaching, the apostolate, and all the Christian life of the faithful” - To the Cistercians, December 8, 1968
The contemplative life of the COSJ members is not directed towards the individual, in and of himself or herself. Instead, contemplative life is directed first and foremost to the Life and Holiness of the whole Church. The Church's life thus becomes fuller when each member of the COSJ joins themselves, by the gift of their lives, whole and entire, to Christ in prayer and in firmly following the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience.