Questions You May Have
Why do you call it a monastery instead of a convent?
A monastery is the place where monastic (men or women) live. Sometimes Sisters are sent out on mission from the monastery for a period of time for ministry or work and the houses where they live are called convents (a kind of "branch house" from the monastery). The Sister considers the monastery (for us, St. Joseph Monastery) her primary place of belonging.
Why do you still wear veils?
St. Benedict says in chapter 55, The Clothing and Footwear of the Brothers, "the clothing...should vary according to local conditions...this is left to the abbot's discretion." Our community has continued the tradition of wearing a veil as an outward sign of witness to our monastic life and simplicity of dress in an area of the United States where there are few Catholics. Often people stop and ask us about our life and who we are when they see us.
How often do you get to see your family?
Our community supports staying close with our families and includes them in activities or get-togethers at the monastery. We can visit our families once a year for two weeks if they live a distance from the monastery. If our family members live close, we can visit more often. As parents age, we can have a limited part in caring for them, depending on the circumstances and needs of the parents and the community at the time. In each circumstance, the Sister's commitment to the Benedictine community would hold priority in her decision.
What do you do all day?
We pray and work together or individually, within a schedule. Our daily schedule would look something like this:
- 6:45 a.m. Morning prayer
- 7:15 a.m. Breakfast
- 7:45 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.: work, lectio, meetings, appointments (in or away from the monastery)
- 11:45 a.m. Midday prayer followed by lunch
- 12:30 p.m. - 4 p.m. Work, reading, meetings appointments (same as morning)
- 4 p.m. Lectio
- 4:30 p.m. Eucharist
- 5 p.m. Vespers (evening prayer)
- 5:30 p.m. Supper
- 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. watch the news, read the paper, recreation of some sort (games, outdoors activities, watch movies, sporting events, play music)
- 8 p.m. Compline (night prayer)
- Each sister would spend time afterwards in prayer, reading, relaxing
What do you do for fun?
We do things together and individually, as mentioned above. Sometimes we plan activities out together on the weekends (see a movie, go to the river for a picnic, attend an event in the Tulsa area, go to a museum). We recently received a Wii for Christmas and this provides a lot of entertainment and sisterly competition!