If you’re looking to reset your daily routine or develop healthier habits, you can find dozens of life hacks, suggestions and resources on your social media feeds or with a quick Google search. Influencers and corporations will readily pitch to you their silver bullet method to increase things like personal productivity, hitting goals and achieving greater health. And while many of these resources can yield great results, the newest and flashy tool might not be necessary.
Religious brothers and sisters have lived lives according to daily habits and routines (varying by charism) for centuries, all with the goal of growing in personal holiness, carrying out their missions and conforming their hearts and minds evermore to Christ’s. We asked members of various religious orders to share glimpses of their daily routines or habits to gain insight into their lives so you can consider perhaps one to two of their daily practices that might fit well into your daily life, as you live as a joyful missionary disciple. Take a look at what they shared!
Routine Rooted in Prayer
“The daily schedule of a religious is rooted in prayer. Religious do not have to worry about finding time to pray. Rather, prayer is the ‘given,’ and everything else has to fit in around it!
- 5:00 a.m.: Rise & Pray!
- 5:30 a.m.: Holy Hour
- 6:30 a.m.: Mass
- 7:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.: Apostolate: Father Gabriel Richard High School in Ann Arbor
- 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.: Free time (exercise, coffee break with Sisters, etc.)
- 5:00 p.m.: Vespers & Rosary
- 5:30 p.m.: Dinner with spiritual reading
- 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.: Recreation
- 7:30 p.m.: Spiritual reading & Compline
- 10:00 p.m.: Lights out!
Like a gardener who waters a garden by continually returning to the well, religious continually seek God in order to obtain his blessings and love for the world.” —Sister Elizabeth Ann, OP, Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist
Commitment in Community
“We live a life of the community. It is an integral part of our calling and our vocation as religious women. The general goal of the congregation is to work for the glory of God, the honor of the ever-Blessed Virgin Mary, the holiness of our members and the salvation of souls by the observance of the three evangelical counsels: poverty, chastity and obedience.
The charism of our congregation is to bear witness to the MERCY of God by following the footsteps of Christ, the merciful savior, and Mary our Mother of Mercy. We express this mercy in the practice of compassion, forgiveness and kindness shown in our various apostolates. We serve as health workers, teachers, social workers, catechists and counselors.
As weak mortals that all humans are, we practice the following daily habits:
- We start our day with a short wake-up prayer of praise and surrendering our day and activities to God at the bedside. This includes kissing the floor with the forehead as penance.
- The daughters proceed to the chapel for the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and lauds (the morning prayer).
- This is followed by the Holy Mass which is the source and summit of our lives.
- Throughout the day, whether at work or off work, the Daughters endeavor to contemplate and try to imitate the life of our Mother Mary. At lunch, a portion of the Gospel is read, and a spiritual book at dinner as table reading.
- The evening prayers and rosary is followed by the night prayers before retiring each day.
- First Saturdays are recollection days for the Daughters; silence is maintained from the preceding Friday night to Saturday by 5 p.m.. The Daughters speak in very low tunes during this period.” —The Daughters of Mary, Mother of Mercy Congregation
The Power of Praise
“One spiritual practice that I try to do every single day is praising the Lord. Praise is so important, because it takes our attention off of ourselves, and puts it on God.
Here are some ways I do this!
- Two to three times a week, I gather with the other brothers in the house for a time of praise and worship. We sing songs to the Lord, and spontaneously praise God for who he is, and thank him for what he’s done.
- While driving, doing chores or just relaxing, I put on Christian music that lifts my heart up in prayer to God, helping me to live a consistent lifestyle of praise.
- I try to remember to give short ‘praise breaks’ throughout the day when things are going well (and especially when things are difficult). Saying ‘Praise God’ or ‘Thank you Jesus’ in those moments, helps to train my soul to thank God when things are going well and praise him in the midst of challenges.
How can you incorporate praise into your life? Maybe try going to a praise and worship event at your parish, find a good Christian music playlist or practice praise of God as you go about your day?” —Deacon Isaac Longworth, CC
Dcn. Isaac Longworth is a member of the Companions of the Cross. He was ordained transitional deacon on September 17, 2022 at Holy Spirit Chapel in Detroit, MI and will be ordained to the priesthood this summer in Ottawa, ON. He currently attends Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.
Recollection and Silence
“Nightly examination of conscience: Each night, during the Liturgy of the Hours (A.K.A. Christian Prayer) Night Prayer begins with an examination of conscience. It’s a way to review the day with the Lord, to look for blessings and repent of failings. (Father Timothy Gallagher has a short book, “The Examen Prayer” that explains it very well).
Weekly Confession: This is part of our routine and the Daily Examen is a great way to easily prepare for that.
Daily silence: After night prayer, about 8:30 p.m., there is no talking in the convent until after morning prayer (6:30 a.m.) the following day. It becomes a time to develop one’s relationship with the Lord since one is not chatting with anyone or distracted by one’s phone, computer or music. It doesn’t even have to be prayer time per se … one could exercise, do laundry, cook dinner, etc. while maintaining silence and being open to the movements of the Lord in one’s heart.” —Sister Coronation Marks, SOLT sister
Integrating Prayer and Work
“Because we’re a community of priests, sisters, brothers and laypeople, that’s kind of unique to our community. We gather together at 6:50 a.m. and the priests, sisters and brothers chant the Divine Office. Then laypeople join us for a holy hour.
At 8:30 a.m. we have morning Mass. After that, if I have the morning Mass, I have a little breakfast. Then I get started on my work which as a priest consists of a lot of things—hearing confessions, visiting the sick, meeting with people for counseling—and then in the afternoon, we do daytime prayer and the rosary on our own.
In the evening almost always, the priests get together and sit around the table to talk and share. And we end the day with evening prayer.” —Father Tony Blount, SOLT