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Ora et Labora is the famous motto associated with the Benedictines. We acquired this motto because our Holy Father St. Benedict taught his disciples a healthy balance** of prayer and work, with the emphasis on prayer. 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 of our life 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, endurance. These are the qualities that create beauty in life and that best reflect the inherent harmony of the Holy Trinity.***
“The whole Church must learn more of the meaning of ‘Ora et Labora’, and who will teach us that, if not the sons and daughters of St. Benedict? People are looking to the witness of prayer and work which your communities so joyfully offer.”
~ Bl. John Paul II to a Benedictine Symposium
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 Monastic Work
11:45 a.m. Sext (Divine Office)
12:00 Noon Dinner (Main Meal) 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. Monastic Work
5:00 p.m. Vespers (Divine Office)
5:30 p.m. Spiritual Reading (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 class in some topic of special interest, 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 feastdays (solemnities), we rise half an hour later 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.).