The Clock of Praise
A Day in the Life of a Poor Clare Nun

What is time? To the business-minded, it is money; to the bored, it is a burden.

But to the Poor Clare Nun, time is a gift from God, to be returned to Him with the interest of her love, her prayer and her praise.

Called by the Lord to come apart with Him in the cloister, the Poor Clare makes her life a living sacrifice of praise offered in union with Him for the salvation of the world.  Thus time takes on a whole new dimension for her.

While the monastery clocks tick in unison with the rest of the time pieces of the world, they mark more than minutes and hours. Theirs is a path of praise, ascending to the Throne of God, already bearing the hallmark of eternity.

But what does the down-to-earth, here-and-now reality known as a "day" hold for the daughter of St. Clare? Or, as many a curious family member and friend has asked:  Just what do you do in there all day? The psalms we pray give us the answer!


At midnight, I will rise to thank You! (Psalm 119)

And so Sister Sacristan's bell sounds at 12:30a.m.calling us to choir for the
Office of MATINS and 4:55a.m. for LAUDS,

                             (Morning Prayer)
when we again heed the psalmist's cry:
With praise, let us awake the dawn!   (Psalm57)

A half hour of eucharistic adoration precedes
HOLY MASS at 7:00a.m.,
the spiritual summit of the monastic day.

What return can I make to the Lord for His goodness to me?
I will offer a sacrifice of thanks and call upon His name.  
                                                                                                                                 (Psalm 116)

At 8:15a.m. the blessing of the Holy Spirit is invoked upon the whole Church during the Office of TERCE.
(Midmorning Prayer)

Send forth Your Spirit, and they shall be created!   (Psalm 104)


And then the works of the monastery morning begin: times of individual Eucharistic adoration for each of us in turn, interwoven with a variety of simple tasks that keep God's house and gardens beautiful and our hearts ever turned to Him in prayer as we ask:

Give success to the work of our hands! (Psalm 90)

It is Your Face, O Lord, that I seek!  (Psalm 27)

The voice of the bell summons us to choir at 10:45a.m. for the Office of SEXT.(Midday Prayer)  After a time of silent prayer and reposition of the Blessed Sacrament, there is a half-hour period of SPIRITUAL READING.  Then to the sound of the psalm, we go in procession to the refectory for our noon repast.
Give thanks to the Lord for He is good;
                 for His love endures forever! (Psalm 118)

After dinner and a period of general work (dishes!),
the bell calls us to choir at 1:25p.m. when the
Blessed Sacrament is again exposed and we offer ourEucharistic King the Office of NONE.
                                                           (Midafternoon Prayer)


With all my voice, I cry to the Lord! (Psalm 142)

The afternoon works of our hearts (prayer and adoration) and the works of our hands, (gardening, sewing, cleaning, typing, painting, carpentry, to name a few) are placed in the Lord's hands as the bell summons us to choir at 4:10p.m. for Rosary, VESPERS and meditation.
(Evening Prayer)
Let my prayer rise before You like incense,
the raising of my hands like the evening oblation.
(Psalm 141)

A simple reflection (known in monastic parlance as "collation") at 5:30p.m., is followed by the Angelus and some free time for
prayer, final chores and projects.  At 6:40p.m. the bell heralds RECREATION! when the monastery echoes with the sounds
of laughter and sisterly sharing.
How good and how pleasant it is when brothers live in unity! (Psalm 131)
The laughter is stilled as the 7:30p.m. bell announces night prayers and COMPLINE.

After the singing of the final antiphon to our Lady, a deep silence, - THE GREAT SILENCE, - enfolds the monastery. 
The day given to us by God has been given back to Him.  By 8:45p.m. the Poor Clare retires, mindful that the Lord
gives to His beloved while they slumber (Psalm 127). 
Yet it will not be long until the bell, - the voice of God - will resound through the monastery halls:

At midnight a cry was heard:
Behold, the Bridegroom comes:
go out to meet Him!
(Matt.  25:6)

And with that, another Poor Clare day begins.