Our Work at Mississippi Abbey
What on earth do nuns do all day long when they are not praying? People sometimes imagine that our life is very leisurely, with plenty of unused time. Actually, it is a constant struggle for us to keep a leisurely pace. Our society places a high value on effective work, and this is written into our bones. The monastic discipline of laying aside the task at hand when the time for work is over does not come easily.
Some of our work is the kind of work nearly everyone must do: cleaning house, cooking, laundry, washing dishes. Like other home owners, we mow lawns, rake leaves, paint walls, wax floors, maintain appliances, take care of the landscape (flowers, trees, shrubs) etc.
We cut out and sew our habits, mend clothes, or answer phone and door. There is music practice for the organists and soloists, and community choir practice. We have a large vegetable garden, a small herb garden, and several fruit trees. We bake bread, and freeze garden produce.
Some of us do pastoral work: teaching and guiding new members in the monastic way, caring for our sick or aging sisters, ministering to guests, giving spiritual direction, or assisting women exploring a monastic vocation.
And there is administrative work: bookkeeping, correspondence, planning the liturgy, overseeing the daily work, handling insurance, maintaining records and archives, etc.