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A Day in the Life of a Religious Sister

October 19, AD2017

Sister Christina

Sister Christina Marie Neumann, a Franciscan sister serving in Grand Forks, North Dakota, works at St. Anne’s Guest Home for the elderly and is an active blogger at Our Franciscan Fiat. She offers a peek into her life:

People often wonder what a typical day is like for a religious sister. In the gospels, we hear about Andrew and Peter spending the day with Jesus when John the Baptist points out “the Lamb of God”. This passage reminds me of  Revelation 14:4 which is often used to describe religious life because they are the women who “follow the Lamb wherever He goes”. Like the early Apostles, religious Sisters, are called to follow Jesus wherever He goes.

A Typical Day 

Back to a typical day. For me, there is no real ‘typical’ day because every day is different. Regardless, I always start the day in chapel. It is important for me to spend time beholding the Lamb. The Constitutions for our Congregation direct us to spend one-half hour in meditation and another half hour in other private prayers. An acquaintance recently commented that I get to “go on a date every time I go to adoration.” I have come to treasure these quiet visits with my Beloved.  As a religious sister, I am privileged to live out in a special way a verse from the Song of Songs (6:3): “I am my beloved’s and he is mine”. Our community directives ask us to set aside an hour each day for these special “dates,” or visits with our Beloved.  We are also privileged to have Jesus present with us through the Blessed Sacrament in our convents. When I was planning the move to St. Anne’s, I was asked if I had a preference as to which room I would occupy. A big drawing card for me was proximity to the chapel. My room is just down the hall from Jesus; that is amazing and wonderful. One thing I miss when I go home to visit my family is that closeness to Jesus’ physical presence.

After morning prayer, I needed to make preparations in the chapel for Mass before grabbing breakfast and coming to work at the front desk. Today, my reception desk shift lasts until noon.  During this time, I’ve done some more office work and also worked on embroidering a dish towel for sale. After lunch,  twice a week, I read a storybook aloud to our residents.  I’m not quite sure what the rest of the afternoon will hold.  I hope to take some residents around on an “indoor walk” later.  One part of my apostolic service, which I find to be most beautiful, is caring for our residents. I try to engage them and make their days more enjoyable. We are all called to serve Jesus in each other. This afternoon, I had one of our residents assist me with sorting some money. It gave her something to do which she enjoys. At other times, we’ve even made cookies together.  

In the midst of all this, we found out that someone was needed to collect laundry. There had been a misunderstanding and no one had made it in yet for the shift. I was assured that there would not be much to pick up since it had just been done, but this proved to be far from the truth.  By the time I got done collecting the men’s laundry, my cart was heaped high with clothing. I had all I could do to keep it all in.

 We eat supper at 5:30 p.m., followed by evening prayer together in the chapel. This will be my first night off since last Thursday from doing aid work. Hopefully, this evening, we’ll be able to get together for our semi-weekly spiritual book discussion. Usually, there are some complications that work their way in too, as I spend my day striving to “follow the Lamb wherever He goes”. I can only pray that I follow Him a little more closely and faithfully with each passing day…be it typical or not.

I Have Decided to Follow Jesus

As I reflect on my life as a religious, my mind slips back to a folk-song we often sing at the morning Bible Study.  It’s words proclaim: “I have decided to follow Jesus…no turning back”. In good times and bad, I am so grateful to Our Lord for calling me to this life. I have decided to follow Jesus, relying upon His grace each day.

 

Photography: See our Photographers page.

About the Author:

Sr. Christina serves at St. Anne's Guest Home, an assisted living-type facility in Grand Forks, North Dakota. There, she helps in a variety of roles, including receptionist, sacristan, activities, and occasional personal care aide. Along with these duties, she also manages the web page for the facility, writes their weekly blog, and edits their resident newsletter. Sr. Christina also authors "Our Franciscan Fiat" , the blog for her religious community of Dillingen Franciscan Sisters in North Dakota. She also finds time for embroidery, baking, biking and liturgical music. Before entering religious life, she received a bachelor of arts in written communication, with some coursework also in graphic arts and theology.

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  • Guy McClung

    Dear Sr. Christiana-Please forgive me, but I view y’all* as living in heaven on earth, with your hearts and souls directed to heaven every moment.

    I know this might be somewhat false, but it is comforting to think of some very holy people in North Dakota – unlike me – living the Sermon on the Mount – going about your daily duties and tasks, your every act a prayer. Please do not try to disabuse me of this vision, because it makes it real for me to know that what y’all* do can be done; i.e., y’all* are – amidst this “present darkness” – shining beacons of saintly possibility.

    Ora pro me et nobis. Deo gratias!

    Guy McClung, Texas

    * y’all: Texan for “all you all” or “all youse guys,” like in “Pax vobiscum” – Peace be to y’all.