Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Heart of the Convent...Apartment


In the past year, I've learned that every inch of space is valuable in a city apartment. Growing up, my sisters and I enjoyed our home with big yards in the both the front and back of the house. The monastery at home has wonderful spaces both public and private for the sisters to enjoy. But now that I'm sharing my second convent apartment with Sister, the rooms in our apartment have various roles. My bedroom is also my office, the kitchen is also the laundry.

This simple arrangement is the heart of our convent apartment. The dining room table is framed on one side with a picture of our community. Above the picture are three little mirrored 'word' boxes: live, love, laugh. On the other wall are drawings of Benedict and Scholastica done by one of our Sister Artists back home at the monastery. The beautiful buffet holds all our prayer books, music books and CDs, and other spiritual reading. We also use the buffet to display our Bible (we use for prayer) that Sister received from a friend before moving down to our new apartment.

We gather at this table at least three times a day... We pray Lauds at 6:30 AM, the same time as our sisters at the monastery, before going out to our various ministries for the day. We return home for the evening and share our supper together. After taking time during the meal to visit about the day, we clear away the dishes. Then we return to the table to pray our Vespers, thanking God for the blessings of the day.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Crazy Daze


It has been a crazy few weeks since my last post! With the help and support of my sisters, the convent has relocated to a new apartment, my school office has been set up in a creative new corner, and school has begun! There have been times I thought I was going to go a bit crazy, but thanks be to God, my sisters pulled me back out of the daze and pointed me in the direction we needed to go.

A new sister has joined me this Fall. This Spring Sister DRE was called home by the newly elected prioress to lead us in liturgy planning and guide new postulants in the monastery. However, it is not in our Benedictine nature to live alone. About a week after unpacking the new convent apartment, Sister Searcher moved to town! "Searcher" because she is still seeking out a new ministry here in the city. The first week allowed her to focus on unpacking, settling into our home together, and exploring our corner of the city. The second week began her search for ministry. She has a wide variety of experience in her years of Benedictine life and so I hope and pray this will help her find some service that she finds very meaningful.

We are starting to settle into life together. The first discovery was her unfortunate status of being a MORNING PERSON! As a NIGHT OWL, I have always struggled with the early mornings that are a part of religious life. But we have come to an understanding, she won't take offense at my lack of response until a cup (or two) of coffee, and I will nod and smile when she is chipper before Lauds (6:30 prayer) in the morning. Speaking of coffee; apparently, I make mine a bit more deeper than hers...we've agreed that it is easier for her to dilute it than it would be for me to concentrate it...I get to brew the brew : )

School has just finished its first full week! It has been wonderful to greet my returning students and hear their tales of summer vacation. I've also enjoyed meeting and learning about the freshmen and those transferring into our school family. But with four or five new teachers, a new principal, and so many new students, I'm ready to settle into the Fall schedule and get these folk into the daily rub of Benedictine life.