Daily Life

The whole life of the nuns is harmoniously ordered to preserving the continual remembrance of God. – the Constitutions of the Nuns

The horarium below is followed by short descriptions of each element of our day. Some elements of our life, however, do not appear on a daily schedule, yet animate every moment of the day. First, our public vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience consecrate us and all our actions to God. Apostolic zeal for souls should be the marrow of our interior life as Nuns of the Order of Preachers, so that in union with Our Lord we spend ourselves totally for the salvation of souls. The treasured observance of enclosure encompasses our vocation as cloistered nuns and frees us to live for God alone. Finally, the rhythm of our daily life varies according to the fasts and feasts of the Liturgical Year, as the seasons of penance and rejoicing in the mysteries of Christ shape our lives as Dominican nuns.

Photo of sunrise over the Monastery Chapel

Daily Schedule for the Monastery of Saint Jude

5:00 am Rise
Angelus and Marian Consecration
5:40 Office of Readings and Lauds (Morning Prayer)
Private Prayer
7:00 Terce (Midmorning Prayer)
7:30 Holy Mass (see Chapel Schedule for complete current Mass times)
Breakfast
9:00 Work Period
11:25 Sext (Midday Prayer)
Community Rosary
12 Noon Angelus
Dinner
1:00 pm Recreation
2:00 Silence: Spiritual Reading/Study
and Rest Period
3:00 None (Midafternoon Prayer)
Private Prayer
4:00 Work Period (& possibly Study)
Novitiate Classes
6:00 Angelus
Vespers (Evening Prayer)
6:30 Supper
7:30 Recreation
8:30 Compline (Night Prayer)
Retire

Photo of Benediction at Solemn Vespers

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass & the Divine Office

The solemn celebration of the liturgy is the heart of our whole life and the chief source of its unity.  – the Constitutions of the Nuns

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the center of our monastic life. Extending the praise and worship of the Lord throughout the day, the Divine Office, or Liturgy of the Hours, gathers all the various times of the day so that they may be truly sanctified.

In keeping with the tradition of the Church, we sing the major hours in Latin using the traditional Dominican chant of our Order. Compline, an hour observed with devotion from the early days of the Order, we celebrate with special solemnity. Each night the strains of the Dominican Salve Regina bid goodnight to Our Lady, Queen and Protectress of our Order, as we conclude with the procession to her and to our Holy Father Saint Dominic.

Eucharistic Adoration & the Rosary

Throughout the other activities of the day, one or more Sisters is always “on duty” at her Hour of Guard, praying the Rosary at the feet of Our Lady before our Eucharistic Lord. The Aves extend like a leaven throughout the day, uniting us continually to Christ through His Mother, and impelling our hearts to her same response: “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to Thy word.”

Image of the Annunciation by Fra Angelico

Private Prayer

Our times of private prayer are set aside for silent Adoration, meditation, Stations of the Cross, and lectio divina. The intimate, silent contact of our soul with God is renewed here to extend throughout the day. We also look forward to the monthly and yearly retreats which help foster a deeper contemplative life.

Study of Sacred Truth

The study of sacred truth is a special element of the Dominican monastic life. During the week, study may include Holy Scripture, Church documents, or some work of theology or philosophy according to each Sister’s ability. In the course of the year individual correspondence courses, community classes, or visiting teachers help us grow in the knowledge of the Faith and our Dominican life. The Novitiate studies provide the Novices with a firm foundation for their contemplative vocation.

Photo of a Dominican Nun picking fruit

Work

Much of the day is spent in the normal everyday tasks of life, such as cooking, cleaning, sewing, or attending to the community mail. While we often work in common, we maintain our monastic silence except for necessary words. It is in this time that our interior union with Our Lord must transform the most common task into an act of love for Him. As Our Lady’s loving daughters, we often use the recitation of the “Ave” to keep us close to her and her Son.

Recreation

“Blessed be Jesus Christ!” Twice daily the monastic silence breaks into the joyful sounds of recreation. Each Sister brings the day’s anecdotes, spiritual insights, and her own sense of humor to give joy to the community, and in doing so witnesses to the charity of God growing in our midst. Sometimes tackling a community project is the order of the day; at other times the paths and woods beckon, board games are spread out, or various yarn or needlework projects emerge. On holidays, one Sister might practice the piano, another work in the garden, while a third finishes up a secret project (shh!) for Mother’s Feastday. As in any close family, the pleasure of simply being together builds and strengthens the bond of love in Christ.

Photo of Dominican Nuns at recreation