Daily Routine in Convents For Nuns/Sisters

Do all nuns/sisters chant the daily office or do some just have prayer times together? Do cloistered sisters have more set times to pray etc?

I guess I just wondered if most orders of nuns/sisters do the same things day to day, like praying at certain times. Is it easier for cloistered sisters to keep up the singing of the office/structured prayer times than sisters who are out and about and working as teachers/nurses etc?

It must be tough for those who love the office but aren’t good at singing/keeping a tune. Pre Vatican 2, didn’t they have the lay sisters who did all the harder work and the choir sisters who sang?

I am a layman, but I have learned something about the religous life of men and women.

Your impressions are largely correct. Different orders place different emphasis on prayers, community time, solitude, charitable works and labour. This balance is one of the things which distinguishes one order from another. However, every order (AFAIK) has some time for communal worship and LOTH - I believe that is fundamental to the monastic life.

These generalities are true for both male and female orders.

I would expect that anyone could pick it up with practice.

I haven’t heard of the specific distinction, but understand that St Faustina’s congregation (in Krakow, Poland, in the1930’s) had a first and second choir, with Faustina being in the second, which was more dedicated to labour and charitable works.

I hope you get a more informed response on how this works in womens’ orders :slight_smile:

You are generally correct in your assumptions and every community is different and has different requirements of their members that conform to the special spirit of the community, their ministry, and their spirituality. Just to clarify on the first response to your questions; the term “monastic” is not interchangeable for the term “religious” when speaking about religious life.

In the simplest terms there are two types of religious life (there are many more distinctions but to keep it simple for this explanation we will just use two). They are contemplative life and apostolic or active life. Knowing that religious life is on a continuum as far as the balance of action and contemplation in each community, there are many different expressions and more specific ways that communities label themselves (ie. semi-contemplative, active-contemplative, cloistered contemplative…). Neither is better nor worse, except in regards to finding your vocation and then the better is whichever one God has called you to!

Every community will have written in their constitutions or rule books what the prescribed times for prayer are, what ministry is done by the sisters, and what community life looks like in that community. These rules/constitutions are approved by the Church. Generally speaking contemplatives will have more and longer prescribed times of prayer than active sisters. Active communities will adopt whatever prayers are appropriate and in keeping with the spirituality of the community and their ministry. The same is true for times of recreation. A sister-teacher cannot keep the same schedule as a cloistered nun just as it would be wrong for a cloistered nun to keep the same schedule as a teacher!

God has given the Church many diverse gifts in the expressions of religious life! The best way to find out more is to ask individual communities.

You will often find the prayer schedule that different communities use on their websites.

Sr Marie explained things beautifully. Her community is involved in teaching I think.The one I am entering is Carmelite and we are a cloistered/contemplative monastery. What that means is that instead of an active ministry such as teaching, our ministry is prayer. We pray the Divine Office 7 times a day in choir using a form of plainchant (expert singers not required) and we do 2 hours per day of silent mental prayer, during which time we pray for the special intentions that others have asked of us, we pray for the Church, Our Holy Father, Bishops, priests, clergy and all religious. We pray for our families, friends and benefactors, and we pray for the world. Contemplatives like to think of themselves as a power house of prayer that supports the Church and all of those in active ministry, because they are more limited in the time they have available to pray.

During the day we also have daily activities to support ourselves and earn an income. At our monastery we produce and sell greeting cards and distribute altar breads. And of course we do household chores like cleaning, cooking, laundry etc.

Our website is carmeliteswolverhampton.org.uk/

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