From an outside perspective, it can seem that when you join the convent, you are giving up so much, and are going to be cut off from the world. I can't speak for everyone, but I am finding more and more that joining the convent has opened me up to several new experiences. I also know more about what is happening in the world than I ever did before. We watch the local and world news every evening and have access to newspapers and news magazines. I am finding that I enjoy reading Catholic magazines and newspapers, too, because they have a dimension that seems to be lacking in other news sources. I also appreciate that by living in community, others can catch things that you miss. The other night we prayed for the people in Pakistan who had a flood, and until that moment, I was unaware of the flood.
Also, the experiences have been quite interesting. I learned how to dead-head flowers. The whole process of dead-heading flowers is counter-intuitive, but it actually makes gardens healthier. I also got to watch a monarch come out of its chrysalis. It was so cool! It was actually really quick. We have a sister who collects them and then releases them when they are ready to go outside.
Outside of the new experiences, I am enjoying the daily schedule. Since I am a novice, and I have various charges, the schedule varies, but some things remain constant.
Here's an example a first-year novice's day in the convent (varies)
6:45am Morning Prayer
8:10am Breakfast Dishes
9:15am Instructions (about spirituality, history of our community (141 years), or the rule and constitutions of our community)
9:50am Sacristy for the Later Mass
11:40am Dinner (they call lunch "dinner" at the motherhouse, because it's our main meal)
12:10pm Midday Prayer
12:30pm Various things (we had classes in the afternoon, sometimes we work in sacristy, sometimes we have Eucharistic adoration, and we always have an hour of personal prayer each day)
4:45pm Evening Prayer and the Angelus
5:10pm Watch the News
After Supper, a couple nights a week we clean the cafeteria line, then have recreation, but we always have recreation together.
Before bed: Night prayer
Once or twice a week, we work in the kitchen, helping to prepare meals for the community. Somedays, we do sacristy for the morning mass, so we arrive at the chapel earlier in the morning to prepare for mass. On Thursdays, we go to the Salvatorian Mission Warehouse to prepare items to be shipped to people in third world countries. We will be taking an Old Testament course in the fall and a New Testament course in the spring. We have the option of helping in the craft room this month, and we will be taking musical instrument lessons soon. We also can play various sports and go on walks. So we have an active and contemplative way of life.