When I was discerning, I had no clue what sisters did all day. I knew that my teachers were with us students during the day and that the sisters at the retreat house were busy with programs on the weekends. What did they do when they were not with us? Were they ever bored? Do they pray all day? What kind of fun things did they do?
Well, if you have ever wondered what we do all day, here is a glimpse into “A Day in the Life”.
Friday, February 28th began like any other day at our convent at St. Stanislaus Parish in New Haven. I got up, showered & dressed, spent some time in personal prayer and then walked over to St. Stan’s for 7:00 am Mass with my sisters. Afterwards, we returned to the convent where we prayed Morning Prayer. After prayer, we have the custom of talking about what we are doing that day, if we will be home late for dinner or if there is anything we need to share with the community. This morning, Sr. Ana (who works at Albertus Magnus College in International Admissions) shared that she was volunteering to read to students at a local school and she wondered if anyone was interested in coming with her. I immediately responded, “Yes.” Then, she told me I would be reading in Spanish to kindergarteners and, “It will be very easy,” she assured me. Little did I know it would not be easy.
Within 15 minutes, we were in her car. Ana chatted the whole way about how this was National Read Across America Day and that she was excited to have the opportunity to help out in the community and to encourage children to read. When we arrived, we discovered we were going to be reading the book, El Lorax by Dr. Seuss. Did I mention this book was in Spanish? This was not the “easy” book I had been led to expect. Yikes! All for God! The good news is that the fourth graders and I survived the experience and they even asked me to come back again.
After this, Ana dropped me off at my office to attend to my ministry as Vocation Director. The first order of business was to speak to a discerning woman on the phone for our monthly session. We discussed her prayer life, ministry, and specifically, how she feels God is calling her to religious life in our congregation.
My office is in our convent on Lincoln St. and this brings me into contact with the five sisters who live there along with any guests they may be hosting that week. This week, one of our sisters from Columbus, Ohio is staying there while she is on vacation and visiting her family. Yes, we do get to go on vacation. During lunch, we all shared memories about favorite vacations and places we have visited.
Later in the afternoon, I met with my Vocation Ministry Peer Group via video conferencing. These four religious sisters and one brother are all in Vocation ministry for their respective congregations. We meet each month to discuss our ministry and to help each other explore issues we encounter with discerners. We first met when we were training for this ministry over five years ago and we have met almost every month since then.
That evening at dinner, Ana and I shared our experience of reading to the students – much to the delight of our sisters. Our evening meals are often extended times at the table sharing about our day – the challenges and the delights – and we offer each other support and encouragement.
Evening Prayer follows and as the day winds down we often spend time reading, talking, playing a game or watching a program on television before retiring. For me, I like to spend some time reading before bed and taking time to prayfully review my day and to read the scriptures for tomorrow.
To answer the questions I posed at the beginning:
- What we do each day always includes personal and communal prayer, ministry and some time spent with community along with personal time for reflection or rest.
- No, I have never been bored.
- We (active sisters) do not pray all day – however, contemplative nuns and monks do pray most of the day along with ministry to support the community and community time.
- For fun, we like to play games, exercise, participate in sports, read, do cross word puzzles, hang out with friends, and do a lot of the things other people do for fun.
Could God be calling you to consider religious life? If so, contact one of us to begin the conversation. Who knows, maybe one day you will be writing your own “A Day in the Life of a Dominican Sister.”