I am often asked the question, what is a “typical day” like for a Daughter of St. Paul?
About my day…hmmm…no day is exactly the same, although I usually start my day with prayer. And every sister is involved in different aspects of our mission, so our schedules can vary quite a bit. Why don’t I share what I’ve done this week?
4:45 am — I rise early. Some of the sisters here in Toronto rise between 5:30 and 6 AM, but I like to get up a wee bit earlier to…well, you’ll see.
5:00-6:30 Meditation and Hour of Eucharistic Adoration (both of these are part of every day for a Daughter of St. Paul); I like the early morning quiet of the chapel.
6:30 Morning prayer together; we use Christian Prayer (also known as the Liturgy of the Hours, or prayers from our community prayer book, Prayers of the Pauline Family.)
7:00 Mass (twice a week in our chapel; the other days at the chapel of another community of sisters, the Disciples of the Divine Master.) This is the keystone of my day!
8:00 Breakfast together. Sr. Irene likes to cook up some eggs, which Sr. Maureen enjoys with her. Sr. Mary Peter, Sr. Helen and I run around the kitchen, each fixing our own pick-up breakfasts. We try not to bump into each other, as the kitchen is kind of narrow.
8:45-1:00 Our mission. We often call our work “the apostolate,” which reminds us that our work is truly a mission. The mission of the Daughters of Saint Paul is to communicate Jesus Christ through our lives and the media. Our worldwide Pauline Book & Media Centres are places where people can visit to find materials to nurture them spiritually. Here in Toronto, our centre is open from 10 am-6 pm Mon-Saturday. Sr. Maureen, Sr. Mary Peter and Sr. Irene spend a lot of time assisting people in the centre.
Other sisters–like Sr. Helen–work in outreach. They visit parishes, schools, and bookstores with the resources that we publish. Sometimes they are out all day visiting schools and parishes–they literally bring the Gospel “door to door” to wherever people are.
However, my apostolate in the morning is often writing, which is what I did this week. I usually take a coffee break around 10:00. If it’s Thursday, it’s my turn to cook. Then I usually go to the kitchen around 12:00 and cook a hot meal for the sisters–last time it was spaghetti and meatballs with a side salad.
1:00-2:00 Lunch together for those who are home. Our meals together are family-like. We talk about our mission, what we’ve done today, the news, the latest book that we read, what’s new in our families, a little bit of everything. We laugh a lot.
2:00-6:15 Our mission. For me, the afternoons have a lot of variety. Sometimes I contact young women in discernment, sometimes I fix the computers or phones–I’m a bit of a techie around here. Whoever I am in touch with I bring to Jesus in prayer.
4:00-4:30 Personal Prayer Break! Daily, we make a half hour of personal prayer before Jesus in the Eucharist. I try to pick the best time of the day to pray–when I will be alert (I can’t pray right after lunch or I fall asleep!) I can make this half hour of personal prayer any time…in the morning, just before night prayers, but often I’ll squeeze it into the middle of the afternoon. Usually, I follow my time of prayer with a quick snack.
6:15 Evening prayer together. We usually pray with the Liturgy of the Hours or from our Pauline Prayerbook.
Unless we have an event scheduled (like our monthly film nights), the evenings are often free. Sometimes I go back to my office and try to finish what I was working on. If it’s summer, I like to go out for a walk. I eat dinner around 7:00, sometimes with another sister, sometimes reading a book. Because we work with the media, and my specialty is film and TV, I try to catch at least a couple of TV shows a week, and watch one new film each week. The other evenings, I exercise, study, talk to my family on the phone, update my blog, go to a writer’s meeting, etc.
I try to get to bed by 10:00 pm, but I’m not very consistent….
That’s been my week this week. But often, my days are different and varied. Tuesdays are “community days” where we take the time to pray our Eucharistic hour of adoration together, plan our mission here in Toronto, clean the convent, or get out for a walk in the park. Saturdays are typically spent serving in our Pauline Book & Media Centre all day. Sundays are a day of prayer and rest, but also a day to build our community, because we need the support of one another to go forward in our mission.