“See to it that your life is a continual prayer.”
– Mother Thecla Merlo, co-Foundress of the Daughters of Saint Paul
Why So Much Prayer?
Many people today find it hard to “keep up” with all the demands on their attention, energy, and time! Being “too busy” can even become an excuse for not taking time to pray. But when we don’t take the time to pray, aren’t we neglecting the most important relationship in our life? And if we aren’t spending time with God, how do we know which of the many demands we face to give priority to?
Religious sisters, too, get very busy—especially those in apostolic communities. We Daughters of Saint Paul—aka #MediaNuns—get really busy too. But as busy as we are, our rule of life calls for each sister to take a significant amount of time for prayer every day. Daily prayer is essential, not only because it helps us to center our lives around God every day, but also because it gives life to the mission of evangelization that God has called us to—to reach out to as many people as possible with the love and light of Christ.
As Pauline religious, our prayer is nourished by two main sources: the Eucharist, celebrated and adored, and the Word of God. In our prayer, we receive the light and strength to love Christ more deeply and communicate his love and light in the world today.
How Much Do Sisters Pray?
What does the daily prayer life of a Daughter of Saint Paul look like?
- Morning and Evening Prayer
Usually prayed together as a community, morning and evening prayer is taken from the Liturgy of the Hours or from the Pauline prayers that are unique to the Pauline Family, given to us by our Founder, Blessed James Alberione.
During our daily half hour of silent meditation, we pray with the Gospel, allowing the Word of God found in the Liturgy to penetrate our hearts and speak to us throughout the day.
The Eucharistic Celebration is the high point of our day, where we receive Jesus in his Word and in the Holy Eucharist, and are sent forth to share Christ with the world. Either we go to a nearby parish for Mass, or we have Mass celebrated at our convent chapel.
- Eucharistic Hour of Adoration
Our Founder encouraged us to call the daily Holy Hour our “Visit with Jesus.” Our daily hour of adoration is a time to listen to Jesus and receive his grace from the tabernacle:
- We listen to Jesus and reflect on his life-giving Word in Scripture
- We relate his Word to our own lives, through reflection and a profound examination of conscience
- We entrust to Jesus the needs, hopes, joys, and sorrows of humanity, often through the intercession of his Mother by praying the Rosary.
- A half hour of personal prayer before Jesus in the Holy Eucharist
Our Founder added this personal, unstructured prayer time to our daily life so that we can deepen our relationship with God, simply sitting in his presence and allowing him to lead us.
In addition to our daily prayer, we receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation regularly, make a monthly silent day of retreat and an annual eight-day retreat. In our community, we gather together regularly to reflect on and share the Word of God through lectio divina.
Doesn’t All That Prayer Get Boring?
Not at all! Every sister needs these daily times set aside for God so that she can stay centered on God’s love and close to his Heart. Prayer can be very personal—like spending time with one's spouse or best friend! In our prayer, we are strengthened both for our mission and in our communion with one another. From Jesus, we receive the light, graces, and joy which we want to share with the world, through the media and with our very lives.
By remaining faithful to our daily practices of prayer, we can cultivate a habitual recollection—a mindfulness of God’s presence. This spiritual awareness allows us to be attentive to God’s presence in every situation, no matter how trivial or routine, joyful or challenging.
In the Heart of Christ, in the Heart of our Media World
When Mother Thecla advised us to make our lives a continual prayer, she didn’t mean that we sisters would stay in the chapel all day. As Daughters of Saint Paul, we are called to be active in our contemplation, and contemplatives in action. We seek to be Christ’s Heart in the heart of our media world. Our abundant daily times of prayer are a life-giving gift from Jesus so that he can transform us into tirelessly communicating his love to the world with his own Heart.