Five cloistered nuns who locked themselves in their monastery to protest the modernization of their austere lifestyle say they will stay put until their appeal is heard by the Sacred Congregation for Religious, an arm of the Vatican.

"We'll stay here until we hear definite word from a higher authority in Rome," Sister John of the Cross, a spokeswoman for the group, said Monday in a telephone interview from the monastery.Sister John said she hopes a decision will be reached shortly after Nobel Peace laureate Mother Teresa meets with the pope.

The missionary nun said in an interview published Monday that she will ask Pope John Paul II to intercede in the nuns' dispute with their liberal prioress during an already scheduled visit to Rome within a few weeks.

"It's a positive sign for us that (the pope's decision) will be in our favor," said Sister John. "We know he's very much behind the move to preserve the traditional Carmelite order throughout the world. He has been a supporter of keeping it conservative."