One can’t help but be awe-struck at some of the facts surrounding the life of Sister Teresita Barajuen, a Spanish nun who died this week.
For one, she was 105 years old and had spent almost all of the past 86 years as a cloistered nun in the Buenafuente del Sistal Monastery northeast of Madrid.
Cloistered nuns live contemplative lives in which they spend much of their time praying.
They usually have little or no contact with the outside world and live in structures that prevent them looking outside their enclosures, and also keep neighbors from seeing into the court-yards or gardens used by the nuns.
Sister Teresa, as she was known, entered the Cistercian monastery when she was 19, many years before the onset of the Spanish Civil War which devastated the nation.
Except for the period of 1936-39 conflict which caused the nuns to flee from the fighting, Sister Teresa lived her entire life as a nun in the Buenafuente del Sistal Monastery, according to the website Closisteredlife.com.
She didn’t leave the monastery again until 2011, when visited Pope Benedict XVI.
Amazingly, Sister Teresa entered the monastery on the same day that Benedict was born, April 16, 1927, according to the Associated Press.
Sister Teresa acknowledged in interviews that like many young women of her era, she never intended being a nun but entered the monastery because of family pressure.
The Order of Cistercians is a Roman Catholic religious order of cloistered monks and nuns.
“They are sometimes also called the Bernardines or the White Monks, due to the color of the habit over which a black scapular is worn, according to The Daily Mail.
“The emphasis of Cistercian life is on manual labor and self-sufficiency,” the publication added. “Many abbeys have traditionally supported themselves through activities such as agriculture and brewing ales.”