Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Long-Expected Adventure

I promised that I'd post about my visit to St. Joseph's Novitiate, so here you go.

The flying went pretty well.  I didn't get onto the wrong plane, go to the wrong terminal, or anything like that.  I ate many complimentary packages of peanuts and pretended to be a seasoned traveler who thinks no more of taking a plane than she thinks of taking a car.  It all went very smoothly on my way up until I got to Albany and discovered that there were about two feet of snow on the ground.  In my Southern ignorance I hadn't brought boots of any kind, so I went skipping through the parking lot in thin little ballet flats.  Luckily, when I got to the convent Sr. Mary Clare, the Novice Mistress, lent me a pair of extra boots, perhaps kept there for just such careless visitors as myself.  

I had a lovely time at the convent.  I rarely felt awkward and uncomfortable - I usually do in unfamiliar situations - and it just all flowed so smoothly.  That is not to say that it wasn't busy - oh gracious me, no.  Here's what the schedule's like:
You get up at 5:30 A.M to the ringing of the bell.  After 30 minutes to get ready, you head to the chapel, and Prime is sung/recited.  After that is half an hour of meditation.  Then comes Mass.  After Mass, about fifteen minutes for thanksgiving after Communion, then back inside to prepare breakfast, which starts at 8:15.  After breakfast there are chores - laundry, preparing lunch, housework.  The novices and postulants often have sewing, and the professed sisters have their own work to attend to - various things, I'm not sure exactly what they do, except a lot of them have office work.  Sometime during the morning, there are separate classes for postulants and novices.  Then, at 11:45 the bell rings for Sext, and all the Sisters file back into the chapel for that.  Then comes lunch - and by that time I was pretty ready for it.  During lunch, and usually dinner as well, one of the novices reads stories of the saints.  The Sisters are not supposed to talk at all during meals.  
After lunch and cleanup is the first recreation period of the day - about 45 minutes in which to chatter like crazy, play games, or go for a walk. Because there is partial silence for most of the day, recreation is usually pretty noisy!  
After recreation there's Rosary, then chant practice.  Then you finish up leftover chores from the morning, or do new ones, until free time at 3:50, during which you can get a "collation" - religious terms for coffee or tea.  There is a lot of coffee made in  that convent.  After free time there is a special time for spiritual reading - one of my favorite parts of the day.  The Sisters have an extensive library and so many good books that it's nearly impossible to choose.
Spiritual reading is all too short - only 35 minutes.  At 5:00 you go back to the chapel for Holy Hour, which is one of the Sisters' most important duties.  During the Holy Hour, one makes a meditation and does other prayers, comforting Our Lord in His loneliness and asking His pardon for sinners.  Kneeling that long, motionless, was really hard for me, but it's definitely worth it.  If God died on a cross for me, I can certainly kneel and keep still for one hour for Him!  
After Holy Hour and the Angelus comes dinner.  Like I said, dinner is usually silent, but sometimes an exception is made, like for a Sister's feast day.  Then it's a very merry meal indeed.  On normal, "silent" days, it's followed by cleanup and the second period of recreation.  After that, there's a period for study (which I didn't take part in) and then Compline and bed.  Lights out is at 9:45.

So yep, that's what the day is like.  It may sound hard, but it's just perfect in reality.  For me, anyway.  I was quite annoyed about the inevitable coming home.  

On the way home, I had an adventure.  My flight from Baltimore went right though a thunderstorm.  (And I did get to fly during sunset after all!)  At first I was excited about the thunderstorm - I love them, on the ground.  It gradually got very dark, and very turbulent.  The pilot made the flight attendants sit down, and nobody was allowed to get up.  For a while it was quite fun, but then the turbulence got REALLY BAD.  I mean clutch-the seat-in-front-of-you-and-try-not-to-get-bashed-against-the-window bad.  And then I saw a lightning bolt explode near my window.  At that point I confess I got rather frightened and mentally screamed Hail Marys, Acts of Contrition, and Memorares until we landed. 
It was pretty cool, to be honest.

So that was my adventure.  I'm ever so grateful for it, and I miss the dear Sisters dreadfully.  I fully intend to see them again before too long.

the view from my plane window, BEFORE the storm.


  1. I loved reading about your trip to the sisters! Are you considering entering a religious order?

    1. Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I was afraid it'd make rather boring reading.

      Yes, actually, I am! I'm trying to enter the Daughters of Mary, which is the order I visited.

  2. Thank you for sharing your visit with us Victoria! We have a CD of Marian hymns by the Daughters of Mary- their voices are so sweet and angelic! Your adventure about your journey home had me in stitches!!! Shouting the Act of Contrition!!! I love it! :)

    Have you ever heard of the Benedictines of Mary in MO? They are also a TLM order. :) A very sweet friend of mine joined their monastery two years ago. She had wanted to become a nun for a long time, in fact I went to Italy with her to visit the Institute of Christ the King's nuns- the Sister Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus Christ Sovereign Priest. It turns out that our Lord was calling her to the Benedictines of Mary for when she visited there she said it was love at first sight! I will keep you in my prayers as you discern God's holy will, and ask that you do the same for me! In HIS Most Sacred Heart, Constance


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