Usual daily work includes basic household chores such as cleaning, cooking, and laundry. It also includes caring for our older sisters, maintaining our libraries, gardening, making items for our gift shop such as candles, fudge, cards and handmade items, and other related work that is conducive to the contemplative life.
Work belongs to the essential rhythm of a fully human life. For Dominican nuns, work and the necessary leisure for prayer and lectio divina alternate in a well balanced measure. We avoid activism, yet realize the value and beauty of work. It is an exercise of mind and body which fosters mental equilibrium and peace. Faith in the paschal mystery aligns our work with Christ’s redemptive work. By our work we hope to build up charity in the community through our cooperation with one another. We put all our talents and our gifts of nature and grace at the service of the community for the glory of God. Work is demanded by religious poverty, and because it demands effort, it is also seen as one of the more common forms of asceticism. Our work schedule always gives priority to the Divine Office and prayer, as well as to lectio divina and the study of sacred truth.
"The nuns of St. Sixtus in Rome, whom the blessed Dominic renewed in the cloistered life and associated with the Order, held the following attitude towards work, in accord with monastic tradition: 'Since idleness is the enemy of the soul and the mother and nurse of all vices, let no sister in the cloister remain idle, but let each be always occupied, as far as possible, at some work; for she is not easily ensnared by temptation who is intent on some worthy employment.' ... So with the exception of the hours which the sisters ought to consecrate to prayer, to reading,to the preparation of the Divine Office and chant, or to study, they should devote themselves to some manual labor, as shall be judged good by the prioress." From the Constitutions of the Nuns of the Order of Preachers