Monastery of St. Clare

The Monastery of St. Clare is located in Travelers Rest and 14 Poor Clares live there. (April 17, 2020 / FOX Carolina)

TRAVELERS REST, SC (FOX Carolina) -- Most days it's quiet at the Monastery of St. Clare in Travelers Rest.

But that wasn't the case recently, when the 14 Poor Clares sisters who live here got a special delivery.

"I sat at the window waiting for it and when I saw it I announced it over the intercom, 'Sisters, it's here,'" said Sister Nancy Shively. "So we ran outside and we were all just about jumping up and down."

Justin Draplin, the owner of Creek Walk Tiny Homes, had just dropped off a brand new 396 square foot tiny home for the sisters.

"We were all just so excited we were dancing," Sister Nancy said.

The sisters are together constantly, dedicated to their ministry of prayer. Every day, the sisters pray seven times.

"We take that very seriously," Sister Nancy said. "People think monastery must be a lonely and boring place to live, but it’s busier than you would imagine.”

Once in a while, each sister gets to go on a day- or week-long retreat where they can get some alone time. 

It used to happen in a mobile home on the property, but it's now old, run down and windowless.

The sisters were hoping to upgrade it, when an anonymous benefactor decided to help.

"We had a call from a friend of ours one day who said, 'I’d really like to do some thing for all of you,'" Sister Nancy said.

That's where Justin Draplin came in. He already knew the Poor Clares from attending their Sunday service.

“It was the most welcoming, the most pleasant place that we’ve ever been," Draplin said. "The most welcome we’ve ever felt anywhere.”

That's why he was more than happy to build them build their dream tiny home with the financial backing of their secret benefactor.

“It’s got composite decking, steel roof, high end siding [and] full-size appliances," Draplin said. "[It's] kind of a modern version of a cabin.”

While the sisters love living together in community, Sister Nancy said having some moments in solitude are important.

"This is going to give us a space that’s really just our own for a period of time and that gives you a different kind of environment and a different kind of freedom," Sister Nancy said.

Sister Nancy's favorite part of the house is the porch, where she plans on spending most her time during retreats.

"We feel so blessed to be here in this beautiful piece of property," Sister Nancy said. "It’s very easy to pray in this kind of environment and we’re very grateful.”

The gift couldn't have come at a better time. Sister Nancy said their hearts have been heavy as their prayers have focused more and more on those impacted by the coronavirus.

“We can become immersed in that so this was kind of like something to just lift us up out of that for a period of time," she said.

Draplin said just being with the sisters makes you happier -- something everyone needs right now.

"Hearing the gratitude from them and watching them tear up because they are just so happy to have this on their property, I think that's more of the blessing for me," Draplin said.

Sister Nancy said she hopes their prayers remind people they're not alone during this tough time.

However, this tiny home reminds the sisters they aren't alone either.

"For us, it’s just a humble kind of thing. It’s like, wow, that God would make this happen," Sister Nancy said.

Once the coronavirus pandemic is over, the monastery will open back up to the public for Sunday services. The sisters will also resume renting out a larger retreat space for guests.

Copyright 2020 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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