Horarium

5:30 a.m. – A sister sounds the wooden clappers through the corridors and breaks the solemn silence with “Praised Be Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary His Mother. Come to prayer, Sisters; come to praise the Lord.” And each sister kneeling in her cell responds with “Let us praise Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Virgin Mary, His Most Holy Mother; come to prayer, sisters, let us praise the Lord.”

6:00 a.m. – The sisters meet in the choir for the Angelus and their first visit to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.  The sisters then take a small breakfast in the refectory and then return to the Choir.

6:30 a.m. – The sisters chant Lauds, the first part of the Divine Office, the parts of which are chanted seven times throughout the day to praise God through psalms and canticles.

6:45 a.m. – Following Lauds the sisters spend an hour of deep contemplative prayer as the monastery remains in the Great Silence.  The nuns choir is separated by a grill and curtain from the chapel sanctuary.  The curtain is pulled aside for Holy Mass.

7:45 a.m. – The highlight of the day is the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in which each sister unites herself to her Divine Spouse and relives the Redemptive Offering of Jesus on Calvary.  A period of thanksgiving follows the Mass.

8:45 a.m. – The chanting of the hour of Terce completes the morning of both deep solitary and communal prayer for the Carmelite.

9:00 a.m. – The sisters proceed to their work in the monastery which varies according to the needs and talents required for the various offices.  The Novices have a class at this time for their study and formation.  The monastery will remain a place of silence where each sister communes throughout the day with her Divine Spouse.  “Enter within yourself and work in the presence of your Spouse, Who is ever present loving you.” St. John of the Cross.  Speaking should be only in case of necessity.

11:15 a.m. – The sisters gather in the choir for Sext and midday examination of conscience.  Each sister strives to practice the virtues and overcome their faults.  They will make a Spiritual Communion.

11:30 a.m. – The sisters process to the Refectory for the noon meal, while chanting Psalm 129.  Except for special feast days, meals are taken in silence with a sister reading from Sacred Scripture or another spiritual book.

12:15 p.m. – The hour of Recreation is a joyful time for the sisters to converse and enjoy their family community, while doing various sewing or art tasks.  At suitable times, they may go outside for activities and exercise.

1:15 p.m. –  The sisters gather again in the choir for the chanting of the hour of None, followed by the Rosary and Litany of the Blessed Virgin.

2:00 p.m. –  The sisters spend an hour of deep silence in their cells as St. Teresa says “To be alone with the Alone.”  to read and meditate on the writings of St. Teresa, St. John of the Cross and Sacred Scripture. (Lectio Divina)  As St. John of the Cross says: “Seek in reading, and you will find meditation; knock in prayer and it will be opened to you in contemplation.”

3:00 p.m. –  A short choir practice will take place to prepare for the Divine Office and Liturgy of the next day.  The sisters will then continue their work of the day until Vespers.

4:45 p.m. –  Vespers is chanted in the choir, followed by the second hour of

5:00 p.m. –  Contemplative prayer – The withdrawal of the soul in it’s interior garden which it prepares each day by it’s humble efforts, but mostly by it’s total dependence on the grace of the Holy Spirit.

“A beginner must look on herself as one setting out to make a garden for his Lord’s pleasure, on most unfruitful soil which abounds in weeds.  His Majesty roots up the weeds and will put in good plants instead.”  St. Teresa of Jesus

6:00 p.m. –  The sisters process to the Refectory for the evening meal, which is followed by a second period of recreation.

7:00 p.m. –  Once again recreation refreshes the soul in the sharing of the Carmelite family, where charity, detachment and humility are the foundations for prayers.

8:00 p.m. –  Compline is followed by the examination of conscience.  The two great commandments are love of God and love of neighbor.  The Carmelite’s day is based on these two great desires of the heart where perfection lies in charity.  The Solemn Silence begins here.

Matins follows and is the longest of the prayers of the Divine Office, with the chanting of the psalms and readings from the Saints and the Church Fathers.

10:00 p.m. The sisters retire in the Great Silence of the monastery, but her heart and soul remain united in rest with her Divine Spouse.

The solitude of the monastic life leads to a communion in the heart of the Church and of the world where she shares in the joys, the hopes, the sorrows and sufferings of her contemporaries.

The contemplative assists the church in its evangelizing mission by giving witness that God is the only Absolute, and the solitary (hermit) “enlarges the Church by her hidden apostolic fruitfulness.”  Thus, she carries out the Teresian charism which includes a special call to contemplation and to its apostolic prayer.(OCD Desert Instr.)