Message from the School Chaplain

     I have been wondering how you all are feeling at the start of each day.  Every morning I wake up and think about what my day will look like, whereas before Spring Break I simply got up at the sound of my alarm and moved rather mindlessly through the routine of getting out the door on time. Once in the car, I would take some time to prepare mentally for my day. These days, I am able to prepare mentally before I even get out of bed. I can’t tell if this is a good thing or not. I definitely miss the time-pressured routine and am feeling a need for routine, although maybe not the time-pressured kind of routine.

     A few days ago a friend of mine shared an article written by a cloistered nun in New Jersey, Sister Mary Catherine Perry. The sister felt called to share some pieces of her life and routine, since she has been practicing social distancing for 29 years and knows the healthiest approach. 

Here is what I learned from Sister Mary Catherine:
  1. Establish structure It is important to maintain a sense of consistency and rhythm. You and your family should work together to create a schedule that works for everyone and stick to it. At the convent, the sisters wake at the same time every day and keep to a set schedule that includes prayer, work, eating, and leisure.
  2. Be intentional Make sure that your wider community is safe and connected. Check-in with the elderly by phone, make sure that the neighbors have what they need. Cook meals together, start a project like a puzzle or a piece of art. Be a good listener and practice forgiveness every day. There is no doubt that we will have conflicts with each other during this challenging time.
  3. Make time to relax and reflect. My favorite part of the article is what Sister Mary Catherine shared about the sisters’ 90-minute daily break for silence. Every day after lunch, the sisters take this time to be still and quiet, not moving around but staying in one place to read, pray in silence, or meditate. I don’t think that I could convince my large family to do this for 90 minutes, but maybe an hour. It’s worth a try!
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