Laura Cullen Receives the Habit

On 25th March 2023, on the feast of the Annunciation of the Lord, the community rejoiced as Laura Cullen received the white habit of the Cistercian novice at Glencairn Abbey.

Sister Mairéad McDonagh embraces Sister Laura as a new novice in our community on Laura’s Clothing Day.

Originally from Co. Meath, Sr. Laura was based in Dublin when she began her vocation journey. She studied Arts, then Philosophy and Literature in UCD and finally Social Work in Trinity College Dublin which led to her employment as a social worker for a number of years.


In autumn 2020, Laura attended our Monastic Experience Weekend for women who are searching for God and discerning their vocation in life. During this visit she felt drawn to Glencairn and decided to follow up the weekend with further visits to our guesthouse to get to know more about Cistercian life and the community at Glencairn. After a number of visits and accompaniment by our vocations director Sr Sarah, she lived with the community for two periods as an Aspirant in 2021. She entered Glencairn as a Postulant in March 2022.

Laura and friend on the day of her entrance to Glencairn as a Postulant together with Sister Sarah, novice director.

After she completed her year as a Postulant, Laura asked to enter the novitiate. The monastic life is about becoming immersed in the love of God by way of purity of heart, a goal which remains the goal we strive for throughout our monastic life as a path to union with God. As Cistercians, we accept the discipline of the Rule of St. Benedict as our way to grow in that perfect love.

Sister Gertrude gives Sister Laura a blessing on her Clothing Day.


The purpose of the novitiate programme, which is two years in duration, is to know Christ more deeply, through prayer, lectio, liturgy, service to the community in work and by means of our monastic values and practices. We also need to come to know ourselves more deeply, and for this silence and solitude are also needed. At the end of this two year period of formation and discernment, the novice may ask to make first profession of vows and then becomes a junior professed sister. She renews her temporary vows annually until Solemn Profession.

Sister Laura, novice, with Sister Beatrice, junior professed sister on Laura’s Clothing Day.

We congratulate and welcome Sr. Laura into our community as a novice and pray for her on her monastic journey that she may be gradually shaped into the image of Christ to become a gift, offered through our community, to God, the Church and to all God’s people.