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The ORB part of the monastery's
contains the public chapel and our monastery choir,
symbolizing the world-wide demensions
of our enclosed life of prayer.
Churches located in
our Belleville Diocese
THE ORB AND THE CROSS:
This ancient Christian symbol represents in simple, compact form the central mystery of our faith -
the triumph of Christ's Cross over the powers of this world.

It is the sign which declares:

Stat Crux dum volvitur orbis.
(The Cross stands firm while the world turns.)
THE ORB AND THE CROSS
Held in the hand of our Lord in sacred art,
it symbolizes His dominion and sovereignty over all creation.
Details from icons, paintings,
and drawings of our Lord
THE ORB AND THE CROSS
Held in the hand of our Lady during
her 2nd apparition to St. Catherine Laboure,
it revealed how Mary offers the world to God
and then offers the grace of God to the world.
THE ORB AND THE CROSS
Used as the crowing symbol atop the great dome of St. Peter's,
it also adorns the steeples of countless Catholic Churches
throughout the world.
BUT...
could this traditional Christian symbol be used as a design
for a monastery of contemplative nuns observing papel enclosure?
An early architectural rendering of our monastery
The answer is "YES" thanks to the Holy Spirit,
Who not only gave the inspiration
but also sent dedicated architects
who were able to bring it to completion.
The Poor Clare Monastery of Our Lady of Mercy
Belleville, Illinois, U.S.A.,
gives a unique material witness to the centrality of the Cross
in the Christian life and in the contemplative life.
At the very center is the tabernacle, proclaiming that
Jesus in the Eucharist is both the center of the world

and the center of our Poor Clare life.
The beautiful "grape-vine" grille
which separates the chapel from the choir
is a physical reminder of our joyful "going apart" with the Lord,
so as to offer our prayer and penance in union with Him for the salvation of the world.
The CROSS part of the building holds our monastic living quarters.
The simplicity of line and space well serves our cloistered lifestyle
and bears eloquent witness to our Mother St. Clare's understanding
of the place of the Cross in the life of her Order.
In following this great daughter of the Church,
we seek to proclaim by our hidden life
that the Cross of the Lord has been revealed as the Tree of Life,
the source of grace and salvation for the entire human family.