While a majority of our sisters live at the monastery, we do have a some sisters who serve in schools or parishes and have the summers "free". A sprinkling of our sisters who minister in South Dakota and Nebraska are prepping and packing to come home and serve with our sisters at the monastery throughout the summer.
Those few days between the end of school and arriving at home are joyful but busy. They are filled with preparing the convents for a quiet summer. For most of the sisters on mission, that includes cleaning and opening up their own rooms for possible family, friends, or sister-guests who might come to visit those sisters who stay at the convent throughout the whole year. The sisters preparing to return home to the monastery also need to sort through their washing and packing to decide what might be needed for their summer at home. The teacher sisters for example often leave their classroom clothes at the convent in favor of the garden and cleaning clothes for their summer ministries.
As they arrive back at the monastery, the sisters are greeted with hugs and help as they open up the trunk of the car and then quickly asked if they are free that night for helping out with dishes. Summer isn't footloose, but a time for serving the needs of the family at home in the monastery. The sisters who return home for the summer join in helping out around the house in a variety of ways: gardening, guest department, bakery, chapel decoration and cleaning, dishes, kitchen and produce preparation, and wherever else their gifts are directed. Busy? Sometimes. But it is a wonderful time for reconnecting with our sisters and focusing on our Benedictine life.