Nuns of Many Hats
|Warm hats make warm hearts filled with gratitude!|
There's an expression in English used to describe someone who has many different jobs or responsibilities. "She works full time, takes care of her husband and children, and volunteers at church--she's a woman of many hats!" In the same way, cloistered nuns wear many "hats", in a manner of speaking.
Our primary work is of course prayer, and specifically, praying the entire Liturgy of the Hours. To this we add a community rosary, recitation of the penitential psalms for the dead, a period of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for each sister (which includes an extra time of adoration during evening recreation, when your turn comes around) and two periods of meditation each day. Oh, and of course, the community Mass every morning. That's a lot of prayers!
In between prayers, we manage to squeeze in work time in our various departments. Sisters pack altar breads, write thank-you notes to benefactors, send both prayer enrollment cards and our special three-part folders, keep our budget balanced, cook meals, clean, attend to visitors, work on the website and update the blog, accompany the men who have come to do maintenance of any kind inside the monastery. And, each sister carves out a place in the day to study, because study is one of the main pillars of Dominican spirituality. And in addition to all this, we have two periods of recreation (one is optional) and a siesta time. How does it all get done?
Of course, all our strength and ability to do these many works comes from God--which is why we make prayer the the center point of our lives. Everything we do is fueled by our prayer, our openness to God and the graces He wants to give us each day. When we are really trying to cooperate with His grace, even the rough patches go more smoothly.
Recently, one of our benefactors made this hat metaphor more concrete by giving us a lot of hand knitted hats! Each one is different and unique, and each sister was allowed to choose one she thought was most fitting (in more ways than one--it's amazing how many sizes heads come in!). It was a delightful surprise and a welcome one, too. Many sisters enjoy walking in all sorts of weather, and this kind of hat is ideal for wearing over the veil. Some sisters prefer to wear a hat to bed, to keep their heads warm while they sleep, and they are perfect for this, too.
We are so grateful to this benefactor--and all our benefactors--who help us to live this life of prayer, praise, study and penance. We literally could not do it without you! Thank you, thank you all so much!