Franciscan Footprints

Do Religious Sisters Have Fun?

bowls of freshly picked cherriesOf course, we do!  We even add it into our schedule!  Recreation varies from community to community and house to house.  It also depends on the time of year, age of the Sisters and what’s available.

Throughout history, monks, nuns, sisters and priests have found time for recreation.  The activities during recreation have changed over the centuries, certainly, but the purpose is the same: to recharge your body and mind the necessary amount.  We must not forget God’s view of work, and that there is a need for balance in our lives, too. Saint Francis de Sales, in The Introduction to the Devout Life, reminds us:

“It is necessary sometimes to relax our minds as well as our bodies by some manner of recreation.  St John the Evangelist, as [Saint John] Cassian relates, was one day found by a hunter holding in his hand a partridge, which he stroked by way of amusement.  The hunter asked him how a man like him could spend his time on so common and trivial a thing.  To him St John replied, ‘Why dost thou not carry thy bow always bent?’ ‘Because,’ answered the huntsman, ‘were it always bent, I fear it would lose its spring and become useless when I had need of it.’  ‘Be not surprised, then,’ replied the apostle, ‘that I should sometimes remit a little of my close application and attention of mind in order to enjoy a little recreation, that I may afterward employ myself more fervently in contemplation.’ It is doubtless a defect to be so rigorous, ill-bred, uncouth, and austere as neither to be willing to take any recreation ourselves, nor to allow it to others.” (de Sales, Francis, Introduction to the Devout Life, Harper & Brothers Publishers, New York, 1950, Third Part, Chapter 31, p. 151-52. Print.)

Here at the House of Formation for the Sisters of the Third Order of Saint Francis, we hold “community, organized recreation” one-two times per week, after evening prayer or on Sunday afternoons.  Other times for recreation and/or free time are also provided. Since I became a Postulant, organized activities ranged from card and board games to, since the weather has been nice, outdoor games, including “ladder golf,” chatting on the front porch, and last night – cherry picking! 

Yes, we have a couple cherry trees on the property!  And in an effort to beat the birds to these tasty and ripe treats, last night we got our buckets and grabbed the “poles” from storage and spent 45 minutes picking cherries.  Yum!

I would post photos of the Sisters in action, but I’ll leave that up to your imagination, as we were pulling down branches to retrieve cherries as high up in the tree as we could!  Let’s just say, we enjoyed ourselves and laughed a lot!  (In the photo, the smallest cherries are the sour ones.)

So, yes, we do have fun in the convent!

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