What is a Poor Clare’s day like?
The first thought of a Poor Clare’s day is one of thanksgiving to God as she looks forward to offering her life, once again, to pray blessings upon God’s wonderful world. The time of rising to greet the gift of another day is the choice of each sister. Quietly, one by one, the sisters gather in the chapel to begin the day together as a community of sisters gathered in love.
6:15 Our Abbess gives the community her blessing.
The Blessed Sacrament is exposed. A Eucharistic hymn is sung as the Abbess opens the tabernacle doors to display the Monstrance containing our Eucharistic Christ. Our special privilege of daily Eucharistic Exposition was obtained for us by our Foundress in this country, Mother Mary Magdalen herself. Centered in Christ, another day has begun.
Community prayers follow:
A Morning offering prayer expresses our intention as a community to sustain the needs of Christ’s Body, the Church and of our suffering world. We pray the beautiful Angelus, learning from the Mother of God how to give ourselves totally as Mary did.
Morning Praise begins the Liturgy of the Hours, which consists of psalms and scripture readings- the continual breathing of the heart of the Church. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament continues until Celebration of the Eucharist.
Sunday is the Lord’s Day
Mass at 9:00.
Followed by half hour turns for Eucharistic adoration. Only necessary kitchen work is done on Sunday. There is time for prayer, study, creativity and relaxation throughout the day.
7:00 Celebration of the Eucharist, followed by light breakfast and prayer time.
8:25 Midmorning and Midday prayer of the Divine Office. Music practice. Some days.
Followed by half hour turns for adoration.
9:00 Work time begins, time to serve by helping to support our community while serving one another. There are various talents needed to maintain the building and surroundings, as well as do the remunerative work that helps earn our living.
12:00 Dinner with recreation. A time for light hearted chat and laughter.
Ongoing Formation. On some Fridays we listen to audio or DVD conferences on Scripture, liturgy, theology, spirituality, etc.
Dinner is followed by: The Angelus, Mid-afternoon Prayer. All help with dishes.
Afternoon: Time for Prayer / Personal Needs / Study / Novitiate classes/ Work.
4:00 or 4:30: Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, Evening Prayer, and Personal Prayer time. The schedule varies each day to include either the community rosary, holy hour, or Stations of the Cross.
5:30 Office of Readings
6:00 Collation is a light meal prepared and eat privately.
After Collation, the Blessed Sacrament is again exposed, and we pray Night Prayer, with Examine of Conscience.
We receive the blessing of the Abbess, and sing the Solemn closing of the Blessed Sacrament.
Each day comes to a close with our traditional Hymn to Mary.
What Kind of Work do we do?
A Poor Clare is grateful for the gift of work. Good thing, because there is always lots to do. Poor Clares are of the working class, so all the sisters’ skills are used to maintain the monastery. Maintenance can be never-ending. We help in the kitchen and refectory (our dining room), laundry and, of course, there is always housecleaning. There is the Altar Bread Dept., Liturgical Vestment Dept., Sewing Room, where we make our clothing, and our Little Lobby Gift Shoppe.
Our Poor Clare RN provides around-the-clock care as needed. A receptionist has to be available for our busy phone lines, and she also turns out many computerized calligraphy prayer cards each day to help with our support. People call to ask for our prayers or to request prayer remembrance cards sent out to family and friends for various occasions. Sister Sacristan prepares everything for our daily Eucharist. Sister Accountant keeps record of our financial situation. Sister Secretary answers steady correspondence from all over the country. Sister Archivist preserves our long and graced history. Sister Librarian keeps our library in order.
To a great degree much of what we do depends on the talents our sisters bring us. We have a lady to make about four dinners each week, and we take turns in the kitchen for the rest – we each seem to have a specialty or two we enjoy making. We certainly appreciate our organists who accompany us in our singing. Our Choir Sister keeps flowers on our adoration altar and everything in our choir and public chapels looking special. Our resident “Green thumbs” cultivate flowers for our altars.
Afternoons provide spaces for contemplative prayer, spiritual reading, study, or the development of personal hobbies, rest, and simply enjoying our beautiful natural surroundings, birds and little creatures. Holy days and holidays, and monthly retreat day provide longer spaces for these pursuits.
Now that’s just a little idea of a day in the life of a Poor Clare.