Portraits of Sisters in the Holy Land, chapter 8: the Perpetual Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament

By: Cécile Leca /lpj.org - Published: December 17 Sat, 2022

Portraits of Sisters in the Holy Land, chapter 8: the Perpetual Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament Available in the following languages:

HOLY LAND – They wear blue, brown or white… They work in offices, in schools, in institutions, in churches… They carry crosses around their neck, rings around their fingers, veils on their heads… They are the living stones of the Mother Church, the souls working discreetly to make the Church radiate. After meeting ten small female congregations in the Holy Land, lpj.org invites you today to visit the Perpetual Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament.

Blessed Mary Magdalene of the Incarnation, foundress of the order

Living in a monastery adjacent to the Chapel of the Milk Grotto in Bethlehem, the Perpetual Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament are part of a contemplative order founded in 1807 in Italy. They arrived in the Holy Land in 2007, and since then, have been living a simple life of prayer and work, centered around the practice of perpetual Eucharistic adoration.  

“I have chosen you to establish the work of perpetual adorers who, day and night, will offer Me their humble adoration”

Such were the words Blessed Mary Magdalene – then called Caterina Sordini – heard, from the mouth of Christ, a year after having entered the Franciscan Tertiary Monastery in Ischia di Castro (Italy). Destined to marry a rich merchant, she turned away from that path after she had a vision of Jesus asking her if she was going to abandon Him. After she saw Him a second time and heard his request, she started drafting the first constitutions of the order. After she was elected abbess of her monastery in 1802, she went to the Pope to ask for his authorization to found a new order, entirely dedicated to the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. 

Approved in 1808, the order was forced into exile in Tuscany by the troops of Napoleon Bonaparte, during the French invasion of Italy. The nuns were able to come back in 1814, after Napoleon’s defeat, and settle in a new institute formally approved by the Pope in 1818. Six years later, at the age of 54, the foundress of the order predicted that she was soon going to join the Lord; she died a couple of months later, and was buried in Sant’Anaa al Qurinale (although her remains have since then been moved in the Church of Santa Maria Maddalena).

In 2001, Blessed Mary Magdalene became Venerable. She was beatified in 2008 after a healing miracle took place in her name.

The Church of Santa Maria Maddalena. An altar dedicated to Blessed Mary Madgalene has been erected inside in 2004.

A contemplative and cloistered life

Today, spread all over different parts of the world, the Perpetual Adorers dedicate their lives to praying for others, through perpetual adoration. Living a contemplative life, away from the turmoil of the outside world, they take turns to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament, every day and every night.

“Our mission is to live the Eucharistic mystery and to give permanent testimony of the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament to the whole world,” explains Sr. Ianua Caeli of Jesus, one of the Perpetual Adorers living in Bethlehem. “Our adoration consists of four moments: praise, reparation, thanksgiving and intercession for the intentions of the Pope, the Church and for the world.”

When they are not practicing perpetual adoration, the nuns live a simple life of prayer, reflection, and community.

Since they arrived in the Holy Land in July 2007, the Perpetual Adorers have been serving God and the local Church of Jerusalem by praying for them every day. “We also pray for the Christians who are persecuted in the region.”

Every day, the Nuns wake up at 5:00 to be ready for the Lauds at 5:30, and the office of the readings. At 6:30, they have Mass, followed by morning prayers and the first rosary. “Then we have breakfast, just before the second rosary,” one of the nuns explain. “During the morning we usually practice our songs – Gregorian for the Mass and Latin hymns for the prayers. Before lunch, we also have a time dedicated to work, which can concern the kitchen, the laundry, embroidery or sewing, work in the sacristy, housecleaning, etc.”

After the midday prayer, the Nuns go to the refectory in procession while singing, and have lunch in silence while one of them reads a passage from the Gospels, an encyclical, or any other document related to the Church’s teachings. Dinner is also eaten in silence.

“In the afternoon we do some cleanup, we pray, we rest, we have the Lectio Divina… Only after dinner can the silence of the day be broken; we have a time of recreation during which we can tell stories, discuss with each other, play games... Then we finish with the night prayers, at 9:00 pm. Our days are never monotonous because for us every day is a new experience, and not one day has been like the other.”

Member of the order since May 2001, Sr. Ianua Caeli goes on to describe the years preceding the final vows of every nun; “before we embrace contemplative life, we must undergo one year of postulancy, two years of novitiate, and seven to nine years of juniorate. Only then can we profess our final vows. For us, contemplative life is and will always be the powerhouse of the Church: we are just like her heart. Like the organ, we pump blood through it with our prayers and the ordinary events that unfold in our hidden lives with Jesus Christ. But every Christian is called to a contemplative life; we can't compare our life with another because an individual can live in the outside and yet be contemplative through their relationship with God.”

Continuously praying for peace

The Perpetual Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament in the Holy Land have also been praying for peace without interruption since 2016. It was during this time that a “Queen of Peace” tabernacle was installed inside the chapel of the Nuns, a gift from the Polish community of the same name.

This community, which promotes praying for peace through perpetual adoration, has been looking to establish twelve different places around the world, where people can pray for peace while in communion with each other.

The tabernacle, blessed and inaugurated in March 2016, was inspired by the Book of Revelation. It was made by Polish artist Mariusz Drapikowski, who specializes sacred art.

“For us it was not easy to change the monstrance, first because the small one we had had a great spiritual richness, and also because it was the second monstrance used for adoration in our mother house, in Naples,” the Nuns explain. “But we responded to this call to pray intensely for peace through this new monstrance with great joy, in faith that the Lord, through the Virgin Mary Queen of Peace, will answer our prayers.”

Inside the Eucharistic Adoration Chapel

Quick overview

  • Name: Perpetual Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament
  • Foundress: † Blessed Mary Magdalene of the Incarnation
  • Acronym: APSS
  • Charism: Centered on the Eucharist, it also focuses on giving testimony to the people – both Christians and non-Christians – of the real presence of God in the Eucharist, through Adoration.
  • Spirituality: Based on the Rule of Saint Augustine, centered on fraternal love.
  • Country of origin: Italy
  • Localization today: Austria, United States, Chile, Spain, Kenya, Brazil, Italy, Mexico and the Holy Land.
  • Habit: white with a red scapular and a black veil. The color red represents the Body and Blood of Christ; the color black symbolizes the shadow of the Holy Spirit covering the nuns.
  • Other facts: The administration of the order being decentralized, each monastery is independent from one another.
  • Website: --

Next chapter: the Carmelites