I am often asked the question, what is a “typical day” like for a Daughter of St. Paul?
For me...hmmm...no day is exactly the same, although I usually start my day with prayer. And every sister is involved in different aspects of our mission, so our schedules can vary quite a bit. Perhaps I can simply share what I've done this week to give an idea of how scheduled yet flexible our life can be...
- 5:00 am
- I rise early. Some of the sisters here in Toronto rise between 5:30 and 6 AM, but I like to get up a wee bit earlier to...well, you'll see.
- 5:20 am
- Meditation and Hour of Eucharistic Adoration (both of these are part of every day for a Daughter of St. Paul, but most of the sisters make their adoration later in the day. Since we usually make the our daily Hour of Adoration on our own, we each pick a time of that works the best for us.) I like the early morning quiet of the chapel.
- 7:00 am
- Morning prayer together. We use Christian Prayer (also known as the Liturgy of the Hours), or prayers from our community’s prayer book, Prayers of the Pauline Family.
- 7:30 am
- Mass. (Three times a week in our chapel; the other days at a nearby parish church.) This is the keystone of my day!
- 8:00 am
- Breakfast together. Sr. Irene likes to cook up some eggs, which Sr. Maureen enjoys with her. Sr. Caritas, Sr. Helen and I run around the kitchen, each fixing our own pick-up breakfasts. We try not to bump into each other, as the kitchen is long but narrow.
- 8:45 am
- Our mission. We often call our work “the apostolate,” which reminds us that our work is truly sharing in the mission of Jesus. As Daughters of St. Paul, our mission is to communicate Jesus Christ through our lives and through the media. Our worldwide Pauline Book & Media Centers are places where people can visit to find resources to nurture them spiritually. Here in Toronto, our center is open from 10 am-6 pm Monday through Saturday. Sr. Maureen, Sr. Caritas, and Sr. Irene spend a lot of time assisting people in the centre.
Other sisters—like Sr. Helen—work in outreach. They visit parishes, schools, and bookstores with the resources that we publish. Sometimes they are out all day visiting schools and parishes—they literally bring the Gospel “door to door” to wherever people are.
However, my apostolate in the morning is often writing, which is what I did this week. I usually take a coffee break around 10:00. If it's Thursday, it's my turn to cook. Then I’ll go to the kitchen around 12:00 and cook a hot meal for the sisters—last time it was spaghetti and meatballs with a side salad.
- 1:00 pm
- Lunch together for those who are home. Our meals together are family-style. We talk about our mission, what we’ve done today, the news, the latest book that we’ve read, what’s new in our families, a little bit of everything. We laugh a lot.
- 2:00 pm
- Our mission. For me, the afternoons have a lot of variety. Sometimes I contact young women who have questions about religious life, sometimes I fix the computers or phones—I'm a bit of a techie around here. Whoever I am in touch with I bring to Jesus in prayer.
- 4:00 pm
- Personal Prayer Break! Daily, we make a half hour of personal prayer before Jesus in the Eucharist. I try to pick the best time of the day to pray—when I will be alert. (I can't pray right after lunch or I fall asleep!) I can make this half hour of personal prayer any time...in the morning, just before night prayers, but often I'll squeeze it into the middle of the afternoon. Usually, I follow my time of prayer with a quick snack.
- 6:15 pm
- Evening prayer together.
- 6:30 pm
- After evening prayer, we eat supper. Unless we have an event scheduled (like our monthly film nights or a “Come and See” supper), the evenings are often free. Oftentimes, some of us will relax together in the living room. Occasionally I go back to my office and try to finish what I was working on. If it's summer, I like to go out for a walk. Because we work with the media, I try to catch at least a couple of TV shows and a film each week. The other evenings, I exercise, study, talk to my family on the phone or via Skype, update my blog, go to a writer's meeting, etc.
And I try to get to bed by 10:00 pm so that I’ll be ready for another beautiful day....
Some days, we have a different schedule. Tuesdays are "community days" where we take more time to pray together, plan our upcoming week, clean the convent, and study. For my study time, I’m currently reading Pope Benedict’s Encyclical, Caritas in Veritate. If we aren’t at a parish or conference, Sundays are a day for prayer, rest, and spending time with each other to build our community, because we need the support of one another to go forward in our mission.
This is sample of a week in my life. Our life together is always a new adventure for the Lord!