Most Brothers would tell you that there is no “average” day in their experience.
Each day seems to be a new adventure of meeting people, interacting with students and faculty, attending games or events, and the other hundreds of things that make up the daily experience of someone involved in education.
But there are a number of things that form part of the structure of our day, and I can describe those. They are slightly different, depending on the community and the specific ministry they are involved with. For example, a university community will adapt itself to a university schedule, and a retired community will have more and longer times for prayer, etc.
Most Brothers get up at or before 6 AM, and by 6:45 or 7:00 AM are in the chapel for either morning prayer or Mass. After that, there’s a short time to grab something to eat and then it’s off to the school.
For most of the day, we’re involved in our particular work, running into one another here and there and perhaps stopping to chat or accomplish some task together.
In the evening, we again assemble for prayer or Mass (one or the other makes the morning and evening prayer times) around 5 PM, followed by some social time together in the house, and followed by dinner.
For many of us, the evening time of prayer, social, and dinner is one of the key community moments of the day. It’s when we relax and relate with one another, with no set script or goal or task to accomplish other than simply being doing as a religious community.
After dinner, each person either has his own thing to do— homework, reading, watching the news, meeting people at school, reading a magazine, attending some school events — or they may retire to their room.
Many communities will have special times on Fridays or the weekend when they do other activities together. One of the Brothers may cook the meal on Saturday or Sunday, or a group may decide to go out to dinner or to attend a local movie theater or sports event.
The focus for us is on three things:
- Our work or ministry or education – very specific and requiring lots of attention, even when we’re “off duty”
- Our community and life together – not too specific but well structured, supporting and united all that we do together
- Our faith and prayer life – both specific in community and non-specific in terms of individual prayer and reading.
When these three things are applied to a specific schools or educational ministry, the details emerge by themselves.
Each year, every community meets for several days at the beginning of the school year to plan out specifically what those details will look like in their particular circumstance.
And that structure becomes the basis for our “average day.”