This Random Nun Clip is from our Ask Sister podcast with the Sisters of the Monastery of Saint Gertrude, in Cottonwood, Idaho. Hear the full podcast at AS176 at aNunsLife.org.
(Left) Sister Bernadette Stang is the assistant prioress at the Monastery and serves on the team for the Spirit Center, the monastery's retreat center.
(Right) Sister Carlotta Maria Fontes is a Master Herbalist, certified by the Global College of Natural Medicine in Santa Cruz, California. She regularly leads workshops at the monastery's retreat center and operates the monastery's Nature's Gifts line of herbal soap, lip balm, and salves.
SISTER JULIE: This is Ask Sister, a program of A Nun’s Life Ministry. We’re here in Cottonwood, Idaho, on a Motherhouse Road Trip with the Benedictine Sisters and our guests, Sister Bernadette Stang and Sister Carlotta Maria Fontes.
SISTER MAXINE: Sisters, can you describe what the day of prayer here looks like for the community?
SISTER BERNADETTE STANG: We do the Liturgy of the Hours, which is very important. For me personally, the first thing in the morning after my initial conversation with God, I take the 70 steps down to the dining room. Sister Carlotta usually has the coffee going, and then I take the cup of coffee and I do the 70 steps back up to the fifth floor, and then I begin prayer. And I find that’s very important in my life, to focus on what God is speaking to me, especially in Scripture. I read and reflect, and I address my daily life with what God is saying and what Jesus is saying in the Gospels. Then after that hour of prayer, I get ready. Breakfast is in silence so that when we go to community prayer we haven’t said a word, but we make the sign of the cross on our lips and say, “Oh God, open my lips and I will pronounce your praise.” So, our first words are in praise of God. Benedict in his Rule talks about the Seven Hours of Prayer, and even when I entered the convent way back, pre-Vatican, we didn’t pray seven hours. Seven is the eternal number and we put all the prayers together. So, what it means is to realize the presence of God in our lives minute by minute, day by day. That to me is prayer.
SISTER CARLOTTA MARIA FONTES: I have to say something (chuckle) about the coffee. You know, I come down and I’m like, “Oh my God I gotta get down there, because Bernadette’s going be waiting for her coffee.”
SISTER CARLOTTA MARIA FONTES: But now that puts a whole new perspective on turning on the coffee, because I know that's why you're climbing down those 70 steps.
SISTER MAXINE: And then it’s a prayerful experience and you’re contributing!
SISTER CARLOTTA MARIA FONTES: Yes, to her prayer. So, I’m happy to be of help.
SISTER BERNADETTE STANG: Thank you!
Hear the full episode of this podcast at AS176.
To hear full episodes of A Nun’s Life podcasts, visit the podcast page at anunslife.org/podcast.