How times change! I found it interesting to read through the “horarium” (the hourly schedule for sisters) that was used early in IHM religious life.
The horarium reflects a time in history when the main purpose of all religious life around the world was to develop personal holiness. Service to others was a “secondary” purpose. But times—and theology—change. In the 1950s and 1960s, service to others was understood as not being somehow separate from holiness, but a path for holiness.
If you were a novice with the IHMs in 1902, here’s what your day would look like!
1902 IHM Novitiate Directory
[Sisters arose to the sound of the bell at 5:00 a.m.]
As good order is the life of a well regulated Institute, the Sisters shall make it their duty to observe most strictly the following regulations. They shall rise in the morning at the first sound of the bell, without in the least giving way to sloth, thinking that it is God who calls them. Entertaining themselves with holy thoughts, they shall dress with greatest modesty. Afterwards, make the sign of the cross, and recite the usual morning prayers, offering to God all the actions of the day. Then, prostrate, they shall say three Aves and ask her blessing while in spirit kissing her hand. And having kissed the floor, before and after the three Aves, they shall kneel and with arms extended, say one Pater and Ave in honor of their yearly Patron.
Assemble in the chapel for meditation
Assist at Holy Mass
Manual work/study until 11:45
Particular examen [of conscience]
12:00 (in silence) go to dinner
Te Deum in Chapel after dinner
After Chapel, repair to refectory, kitchen, or other departments for charges [daily chores]
After these charges, recreation
Study/manual labor from 1:30-3:00
3:00 Spiritual reading (from a book selected by the Novice Mistress)
3:30 One-third of the rosary
4:00 Free time
4:30 Visit to the Blessed Sacrament and the BVM
5:00 Study or instructions
6:00 Supper, followed by recreation
8:30 Night prayers
9:30 Last signal shall be given, when all unnecessary lights shall be extinguished and each Sister is strictly commanded to be in bed.
Source: Building Sisterhood: A Feminist History of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, published by Syracuse University Press, 1997. Photo: page 192.