Daily Life

Byline: Annie Calovich, The Wichita Eagle, Kan.

Dec. 29, 2005—In the dead of winter, behind cloister walls and farmhouse fences, papayas and bananas are growing at a Carmelite monastery in Clearwater. The roses are in bloom. They are the visible manifestations of an invisible life that seven nuns live in a nondescript white house not far off K-42, a half-hour southwest of Wichita. Rising at 5 in the morning to pray, turning in at 11 at night to sleep on blanket-covered boards on the floor, the cloistered Carmelites follow a spiritual way of life that is probably the most austere and demanding of all the religious orders in the Catholic Church. No meat on their table, no socks on their sandaled feet, the nuns belong to a branch of the Carmelite order called “discalced” – meaning barefoot. But here they are growing lemons and peppers in the winter, organically, in a greenhouse where they also raise tilapia fish. “That’s Carmel, you know,” said Mother Mary of the Angels, the prioress of the Monastery of Divine Mercy and Our Lady of Guadalupe.”

(Note: We have since moved from this location.)



Horarium (Daily Schedule)

The Divine Office is recited in Latin or sung to Gregorian chant each day. Silence is observed during most of the day to preserve the atmosphere of prayer while working. During the two hours set aside for recreation, the hour speeds by while the Sisters joyfully converse and work. They are faithful to the church and have a special devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and St. Joseph.

4:45 AM Rise and dress
5:00 AM Assemble in chapel, begin with Angelus, silent prayer, Divine Office (Lauds), one hour of mental prayer, Divine Office (Terce), pray the Rosary
6:45 AM Light breakfast in silence, work – cleaning
7:45 AM Holy Mass, thanksgiving prayers
9:30 AM Work
10:45 AM Divine Office (Sext)
11:10 AM Eat lunch while listening to spiritual material, pray the Rosary while washing dishes
12:00 PM One hour of recreation, time to speak to one another, hand work
1:00 PM One hour of rest or silent work
2:00 PM In chapel, pray Divine Office (None) and spiritual reading
3:00 PM Divine Mercy Chaplet
3:10 PM Free to work
5:00 PM Divine Office (Vespers) and one hour of mental prayer
6:30 PM Eat supper while listening to spiritual material and pray the Rosary while washing dishes
7:00 PM One hour of recreation, time to speak to one another,and hand work
8:00 PM Divine Office (Compline), great silence
9:45 PM Divine Office (Matins), work quietly in cells/reading
11:00 PM Bedtime

Thursdays (after Mass), the Blessed Sacrament is exposed for 24 hours of adoration ending with Benediction prior to Friday morning Mass.

Sunday Mass time is 10 am. Additional time is spent in Eucharistic adoration.