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Do you have a question which you would like to Sister Colleen to answer about life as a Salesian Sister? Just post a comment below!

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Vicky asked if I had any tips for “nun-hunting”. I would have to say that it is very important to understand what you like to do, what your talents and strengths are, and what your natural inclination is. Some young women will feel a call to nursing, so they would look at nursing orders and try to figure out which one’s lifestyle seemed best suited to them. Staying with a community for a few days can be a big help in trying to figure these things out. The Salesian sisters are educators, but we are different from all of the other teaching orders in that our mission, our work extends beyond the classroom. Rather than being seen only in the classroom, we are everywhere with young people and have no “office hours”. We exist for them and love them so much. Other orders function more like a traditional teacher who is just in the classroom, but for us the kids are our life!

Distinctions like that are helpful in seeing where you feel comfortable and “at home” with an order. Hope that this helps!

How does the Salesian Congregation live?

When did the “adopt” a sister program begin?

How can I make my meditation fruitfully and not fell asleep?

What does a typical day as a Salesian Sister look like?

I’m not too sure what you mean by this question, Amy! Do you mean “How do the Sisters make a living?” If so, we work with youth – many are teachers, some youth ministers, some retreat ministers for youth – but all our work involves young people. If you mean, “What is the living situation of the Sisters?” We live in communities of no less than 3. Most of our communities are four or more Sisters. My house currently has 12 Sisters and 4 young women in formation. So, it depends a bit on which convent you live in!

This program began some time ago, I believe in the early nineties. It was inspired by a benefactor’s observation that lay people had a greater need of our prayer than we had of their money. From there, the idea of a mutual offering and a deep friendship began. For the Sisters, some of our greatest friends and some of our most committed benefactors are our adopters, as well as our family members… and some of our adopters are our own family members!

Falling asleep in meditation is one of the most common trials in prayer, and indicates that most of us are overworked! We have a great deal to do, and when we finally sit down peacefully, well, we fall asleep! That said, I think one of the greatest dangers of daily meditation is trying to measure its fruitfulness. Our meditation is a time to be united with Christ. That has intrinsic value. There is no need to measure how “well” we make meditation, but to just keep at it and to call ourselves back when we become distracted or are aware we are falling asleep. It also helps to try and get a bit of extra shut-eye if we see we are falling asleep often!

Most of our Sisters are teachers, so a day looks like teaching, with additional prayer and community time.
We wake about 5 am, and pray about 5:30. This includes Morning Prayer (Lauds) and Mass, the Angelus and an Entrustment to Mary, as well as meditation time. We then go to a regular school day (or not so regular – depending on the class of kids you have that year!!). At some point during the day, we stop in the chapel to pray a Visit to the Blessed Sacrament, which is outlined in our prayer book. After school, many of us have afterschool activities – sharing our talents with the kids – instruments, drama, Marian Club, Mission Club, coaching sports, Student Council – these are pretty average afterschool activities. In the evening, we gather for Spiritual Reading, Evening Prayer (Vespers), the Angelus and the Rosary. After that we have dinner, cleanup, and recreation. Then we have some time to get ready for the next day! On the weekends, we often attend the kids’ sporting events, or have a half day retreat – once a month – or attend family events promoted by the school or ministry we are in!


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