I received a question from blog reader Elizabeth:
I was wondering if you would be interested in describing what your day is like. If you consider this an intrusion, please feel free to ignore it.
It’s no intrusion at all, Elizabeth. I’m pleased to respond. I must first preface my response by saying that not all my days are like this nor do all sisters/nuns’ lives necessarily follow this particular pattern.
Most days like today, I wake up to the quiet hum of my clock radio at 5:00 a.m. I head directly to the coffee machine. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Straight to the coffee machine. Once the coffee is ready I visit with the convent cat whose name is Chloe. Chloe is an 8.5 year old girl. She is very sweet and contemplative. I think of her as a live stuffed animal because when I was a kid (okay a few years ago) I always hoped and prayed that my stuffed animals would come alive. Now I have Chloe!
Then I pray Morning Prayer according to the Liturgy of the Hours. This is one of my most favorite prayers. This prayer also unites me with my sisters because though we do not live under the same roof, it’s like we can come together in prayer wherever we are. I pray for all of my IHM sisters, the other 2 communities of IHMs, and the Oblate Sisters of Providence (all of whom were part of our early days as a congregation). I pray for my family especially my parents and siblings and their families. I pray for all those people who have asked me to keep them in my prayers. I conclude by praying for all those who do not have someone to pray for them.
After prayer I head to the computer with my trusty mug of coffee. I check my email, write on my blog, and do other computer tasks. Then I rev up for the day ahead of me. I pack a lunch, get my work bag and clothes together, and leave the house as soon as I can so that I can make it to the gym for a swim before work.
Then it’s off to Loyola Press. I must say that I truly love going to work. I have fabulous colleagues, a great work environment, and a job that is truly prayer and ministry. I work in the catechetical department of Loyola Press. Among other things, we are responsible for the theological content of our religious education program and materials and for ensuring good catechesis. We work closely with editors, designers, production, customer service, marketing, etc. When I first came to the Press, we were working on Finding God — a new religious education program based on Ignatian Spirituality and written by the folks at Loyola Press. It is a beautiful series that begins with prayer and the understanding that children are already in relationship with God. Not only is the writing and artwork stunning, but catechists keep telling us how much it helps them help the children experience God and learn our Catholic faith. I’m proud to be part of this good work.
After work I head for home. Unpack, get my mail, visit with Chloe, check in on my IHMs, and do ordinary domestic things. In the evening I read — theological texts, spirituality books, novels, whatever peaks my interest at the moment. I occasionally turn on the TV (as I will this evening to watch “Heroes”, one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time) or listen to National Public Radio (NPR). I conclude my day with the Examen. Click here for more info on the Examen. I learned it from my Jesuit friends when I studied in Toronto. It is a prayerful way to review your day and get a sense of God’s presence in your life. I will occasionally pray Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours. Then it’s off to bed!
I have learned from my sisters what it really means to “pray without ceasing” as Saint Paul calls all of us to do in his first letter to the Thessalonians 5:17. We are to make the whole day a prayer — coffee rituals, caring for God’s creatures, working out at the gym, doing our job and chores around the house, sitting around daydreaming — all of these things can be opportunities to open ourselves to God, to experience his love and to radiate this love to others. This is what I strive to do every day of my life.