Daily Life of the Nuns

Ora et Labora ("prayer and work") is the famous motto associated with the Benedictines. We acquired this motto because St. Benedict taught his disciples a healthy balance** of prayer and work. Liturgical prayer has the highest place in the Benedictine’s life, but St. Benedict realized that human beings are not just spirits but also flesh—both aspects of the human person must be used to glorify God. Thus in our daily schedule you will see an interweaving of "ora et labora." In our particular community, we strive to maintain this balance through the discipline of a daily schedule which provides time for prayer, work, community gatherings, recreation, and rest.

** The Benedictine spirituality which emphasizes balance comes from St. Benedict’s axiom, "moderation is the mother of all virtues." Balance, however, does not imply mediocrity. Balance is rather a basic human need; it involves harmony, prudence, patience, and endurance. These are the qualities that create beauty in life and reflect the inherent harmony of the Holy Trinity.**

Monastic Horarium

The schedule varies somewhat according to the day and the season, but in general it follows this pattern:

4:20 a.m.     Rise

4:50 a.m.     Vigils (Divine Office)

5:35 a.m.    Lectio Divina (meditating with Scripture)

6:45 a.m.    Lauds (Divine Office)

7:30 a.m.    Holy Mass followed by Terce (Divine Office) and breakfast

Breakfast is eaten in silence.

9:00 a.m.      Morning Work Period

11:45 a.m.   Sext (Divine Office)

12:00 p.m. Dinner

We eat in silence while one nun reads aloud from a selected book or article of spiritual, cultural or educational interest.

12:45 p.m.    None (Divine Office)

1:00 p.m.     Those nuns not assigned to wash dishes—a task at which we take turns—are free to rest, walk, pray, read or do any other quiet activity.

2:30 p.m.     Afternoon Work Period

5:00 p.m.     Vespers (Divine Office)    

5:30 p.m.     Spiritual Reading (or personal prayer)

6:00 p.m.     Supper and Recreation

After supper, those nuns not assigned to wash dishes may take part in one of several activities, such as music rehearsal, a walk, personal prayer, or reading.

7:30 p.m.    Compline (Night Prayer)

After Night Prayer, we keep strict silence until breakfast the next morning.

On Sundays and major liturgical feast days (solemnities), we rise half an hour later, follow an adjusted liturgy schedule, and spend more time during the day in prayer.

Generally, on Mondays we have exposition and adoration of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament from Vespers (5:00 p.m.) to Compline (7:30 p.m.).