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 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 (Work may include cleaning, cooking, working on the farm, participating in monastic formation classes, gardening, working on various arts, etc.)
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 (Depending on the day of the week, we either talk during the mealtime for our recreation, or do something together after supper as a community)
After supper, those nuns not assigned to wash dishes may take the extra time to pray, read, practice music, or go for a walk.
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.).