Today is a special day for cloistered communities, because this memorial of the Presentation of Mary in the temple is also Pro Orantibus Day, a day of prayer for cloistered contemplatives. We feel a special bond with Mary, who (according to legend) was chosen to serve God in the temple in what might be called a cloistered life before her marriage to Joseph and becoming the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ. Although this story of the Presentation is not found in the Bible, it is a very old tradition and worthy of respect for what it tells us about Mary: that she was dedicated even as a child, like Samuel in the Old Testament. She came from God-fearing parents who loved their daughter enough to give her to God as His handmaiden when He requested this favor. Today we also thank all the parents of cloistered contemplatives, who like Mary's parents have given their children lovingly and unselfishly for the service of God in His temple. May they all be blessed like Joachim and Anna, the parents of Mary! May many young women feel the call of God today to serve Him as a cloistered contemplative nun--perhaps a Dominican nun?