at the Heart of the Order of Preachers
The Observance of Work
Usual daily work includes basic household chores such as cooking, sewing, cleaning and laundry. It also includes caring for our older sisters, maintaining our libraries, gardening, printing, making items for our gift shop such as candles, pottery, fudge, cards and other handmade items as well as other work that is conducive to the contemplative life.
No one shall perform any task for her own benefit but all your work shall be done for the common good, with greater zeal and more dispatch than if each one of you were to work for yourself alone. For charity, as it is written, "is not self-seeking," meaning that it places the common good before its own, not its own before the common good. So whenever you show greater concern for the common good than for your own, you may know that you are growing in charity. Thus, let the abiding virtue of charity prevail in all things that minister to the fleeting necessities of life. From the Rule of Augustine
"Because of the effort it demands, work is one of the more common forms of asceticism. In addition, the perseverance and skill which it requires and the benefits it brings foster mental equilibrium and the formation and development of personality. Work is demanded by religious poverty and serves the common good by building up charity through cooperation. Moreover, by work the nuns share the common lot of most people, especially the poor. Since in their life work is subordinated to contemplation, this manifests a right ordering of values among earthly activities, according to the spirit of the Beatitudes." From the Constitutions of the Nuns of the Order of Preachers
"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
"God our Father, work is your gift to us, a call to reach new heights by using our talents for the good of all. Guide us as we work and teach us to live in the spirit that has made us your sons and daughters, in the love that has made us brothers and sisters." Collect for Terce on Mondays
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Monastery of Our lady of Grace
11 Race Hill Road
North Guilford, Connecticut 06437