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What do sisters do all day?

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One of the questions sisters get most often — from students, discerners, or people we meet in the grocery store — is this: What do you do all day? Behind this question is another, unspoken question: Why do you do what you do?

For me, the “what” and the “why” are both wrapped up in what it means to be a religious sister. Being a sister means that every moment of our day is consecrated to God. From our prayer, to our daily tasks, to recreation — the vows we have taken mean that everything is for him.

Prayer: Each day starts with prayer. I remember a sister telling me that we get up and go to chapel in the morning because the world is counting on us. We pray for ourselves, yes, and we offer our day to God, but we make that offering for the world, for people who are in need or in pain or need to know God.

Our half-hour meditation on the Gospel is followed by morning prayer together. Then we go to Mass, and after Mass we have breakfast.

Then, mission: Each sister has a different apostolic assignment, all in service of spreading the Gospel through the media. Srs. Sophie and Cynthia serve in our Pauline Book and Media Center in Old Town Alexandria, helping people who come in or call for books and other resources. People come for more than books, though; every day the sisters come to supper with stories of people who came in to ask for prayers for a loved one, who are coming back to the church, or who are searching to know God.

Sister Gemma prepares mission trips to serve the Korean Catholic community all over the United States. Currently, she and two other sisters are preparing to depart for a three-month trip that will take them from Texas to Minnesota.

You can usually find Srs. Bethany and Magdalena in the basement (or on social media), preparing books for our weekend parish book displays. Even when we’re posting on social media, we’re thinking of the people on the other end and how we can help them to know Jesus, whether it’s by sharing a funny story, or by inviting prayer intentions.

I work in the vocation office giving talks, planning discernment retreats and corresponding with young women who are discerning a vocation to the Daughters of St. Paul. So while our assignments are varied, we work together bringing God’s Word to people everywhere.

As part of our day, each of us makes an hour of adoration. This is the center of our day, when we bring our projects to Jesus and pray for all the people we have met in person, on the phone, or online.

Finally, community: in the evening, we gather for evening prayer and supper together. A couple times a week we have recreation. We play games or watch a movie or just relax.

That’s a day in the life of a Daughter of St. Paul, and what a gift it is to do all this for God. Our founder, Blessed James Alberione, said, “May every moment of your day be all for the Lord.” This is our prayer for you, too — in whatever walk of life God has called you to, may every moment of your day be for Him.

Sr. Emily Beata, fsp, is the national vocation directress for the Daughters of St. Paul in Alexandria.



© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020