Enjoyment of a daily life that is punctuated by regular periods of communal prayer is characteristic of a Dominican Sister of Mission San Jose. Early in the morning (between 4:00 and 6:00am) we have individual routines. We drink coffee or have a light breakfast. We pray, do spiritual reading or journal. We jog, walk, do yoga, aerobics, swim or do some other kind of physical exercise. We read the newspaper, listen to the radio or the television to become informed about the news of the day. It is customary for us not to talk much during these hours except to greet each other to be polite. This is to keep a prayerful quiet atmosphere in community in the early morning.
Each community sets a prayer schedule that works best with the ministry schedules of the sisters in that community. Generally morning prayer (liturgy of the hours sung chorally) is prayed between 6:00 and 7:00 am. followed by Eucharist. Then we eat breakfast together and converse about something we read, our activities, events in the parish or other news of the day. After breakfast we go to our various ministries. We sometimes each lunch together and sometimes not depending on the ministry and the other events going on. Typically evening prayer (between 5:00 and 6:00 pm) is liturgy of the hours sung chorally. Our prayers in common usually happen in the convent chapel.
We celebrate all the major feasts and solemnities of the Church as well as all the Dominican feasts. After evening prayer we gather together for dinner and conversation. After dinner we spend time in community with our sisters. We do not have formal recreation, but we do recreate in a variety of ways, by watching movies, reading books, playing cards or other games, doing handcrafts or art, practicing music, exercising or going out for a walk. Usually after 8:00 it is quiet again. It is a fairly regular schedule, but sometimes we change it to accommodates special events. In the summer we have a more relaxed schedule to allow vacation time or visiting with family for extended periods. I like the gentle rhythm of our life. It makes for a well-balanced and healthy daily life. We are not bound by a strict rule to keep to what is scheduled, but we abide by it voluntarily as we are able.