The Carthusian Order

Typical day of a carthusian nun

Middle of the day :
Sext and None

At 11.45 the office of Sext ends the morning and makes it a praise to God. The converse nun returns to the cell where she recites Sext, takes her meal, enjoys a period of relaxation, and then recites None, all within the recollection of the cell.

We find our meal in the food-hatch, which is an opening in the wall near the door which opens onto the cloister. The food-hatch or ‘guichet’ allows each solitary some link with her community without her having to leave the cell or interrupt silence.

Guichet

The sisterly bonds in the Charterhouse are thoroughly imbued with the silence of God. Actually, these ties of love are all the stronger to the degree to which the aspiration of each nun to recollection is more fully respected. For my sister as for myself, solitude is a sacrament of the encounter with God. Accordingly, the more I love my sister in God, the more I respect her life of solitude and silence.

Repas en cellule

The rest-time which follows the meal we almost always spend in cell: either outside in the garden (tending to it, or walking and watching nature), or inside (doing some light work). As St. Bruno and the early monks state : « If the bow is kept continually taut, it looses its resilience and becomes less fit for its works ».

Jardin

1.45 p.m.: The bell invites us anew to psalmody with reverence for God. It is the office of None, a prayer we usually recite alone in cell, yet in solidarity: since Our Lord has called us to represent all of creation when we come before Him, in our prayer we intercede and give thanks for all.

The work-time that follows can also be lived in thanksgiving if we accompany Jesus in his humble and hidden life in Nazareth, where He performed His duties in interrupted union with the Father. Those who have made a definitive commitment in the Charterhouse generally work until Vespers.

Jardin Jardin Jardin

The converse sisters leave cell to resume working in their obedience and so praise God in his works and consecrate the world to the glory of its Creator.

The cloister nuns work in cell in a variety of occupations: bookbinding, sewing, weaving, typing, small-scale woodworking, making icons, etc. all their talents can find expression.

Work, which is a service uniting us to the Christ who came not to be served but to serve, has always been regarded in the monastic tradition as a very efficacious means of progressing towards perfect charity.

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