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.