One Saturday each month is designated as a “renewal day”. We live an intensely communal life – we work together, pray together, and eat together every day. Naturally, there are times when we absent from community events- doctor’s appointments, homevisits, or an occassional workshop. For the most part, however, we are here together every day, all day. Since most of the members of our community are introverts, there needs to be some times and days when we can have more solitude and silence to renew our energies. Our monthly renewal day is one of those times.
Our schedule is much the same as a regular day – Lauds and Mass in the morning, Vespers in the evening. The little hours of Day Hour and Compline are not prayed in common to give the sisters longer stretches of unscheduled time. Throughout the day we try to maintain silence as much as possible. There is no paging on renewal days, we don’t run the vacuum nor do laundry. We acknowledge each other with a smile or nod rather than a verbal greeting. Any necessary conversation is done in a very quiet and subdued tone so as not to disturb others. On this day, we usually have only one meal prepared for the sisters and it is eaten in silence. It is not a time for TV or entertainment but a chance to spend more time in prayer or other spiritually renewing pursuits. These might include writing letters, working on a hobby or craft. For example, I sometimes use these days to make a few rosaries, other sisters might paint, do pottery, paper crafts, etc. When the weather is nice, it is a great time to go for a long walk or bike ride or to just sit outside and let God speak through His marvelous creation.
Renewal days are great thing. I highly recommend them to everyone. At least, try to get in a renewal hour once in a while!