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What does a monk or nun’s schedule look like?

We know they pray a LOT—but what else do they do?

A monk or nun’s schedule is carefully balanced and structured, reflecting the high level of spiritual discipline which religious seek to attain.

While the exact daily schedule varies between religious orders, with their unique apostolates and charisms, they usually share these basic elements:

  1. The Divine Office: also called the Liturgy of the Hours, which they pray five (or more) times a day
  2. Spiritual reading and meditation: these two mental activities provide essential nourishment for prayer and help the soul advance in union with Christ
  3. Work: monks and nuns divide all the work, assigning tasks to each brother/sister, such as cooking, cleaning, gardening, sewing, and more
  4. Study: to know Truth is to know God—the religious never stop learning! Their main subjects of study are theology and philosophy
  5. Recreation: the community gathers for work and leisure activities, and to converse and laugh together

Some orders break up the day into half-hour and hour-long segments. This is why the daily schedule is often called the horarium, taken from the Latin word for “hour.”

Here’s how a Poor Clare of Perpetual Adoration spends her day:

5:25 a.m.—Rise
6:05 a.m.—Divine Office (Matins & Lauds), Office of Readings & Morning Prayer
7:00 a.m.—Holy Mass
8:00/15 a.m.—Divine Office Midmorning Prayer/Thanksgiving (Silent Prayer)
8:45 a.m.—Breakfast
9:15 a.m.—Work Time
11:30 a.m.—Divine Office Midday Prayer & Communal Rosary
12:00 p.m.—Lunch
12:30/2:00 p.m.—Free Time/Work Time
3:00 p.m.—Divine Office Midafternoon Prayer & Divine Mercy Chaplet
4:00/30 p.m.—Lesson with Novice Mistress or Study/Spiritual Reading
5:00 p.m.—Divine Office (Vespers & Compline) Evening Prayer & Night Prayer
5:30/6:30 p.m.—Supper & Dishes/Recreation or Choir Practice
8:00/9:30/10:00 p.m.—Grand Silence/Retire/Lights Out

An ordered schedule is helpful for us laity as well as for religious—studies prove it! Bring more order, peace, joy, and productivity to your days with the help of The Monk Manual, a leather-bound planner for laymen inspired by the monastic schedule. With ninety days of detailed planning, this manual helps you sharpen your focus, manage your time, count your blessings, and much more! Get your manual today at The Catholic Company!

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