Y FRIEND SHERYL is a Cistercian. She set off with some other nuns
from the United States and Europe to refound a monastery on an
island in the middle of Norway, where Cistercians had lived for three
centuries during the Middle Ages. She speaks Norwegian now.
Sheryl and the other sisters sing the Liturgy of the Hours together in their
chapel seven times each day. They work not at outside jobs but inside the monas-
tery, making herbal soaps and skin cream to support themselves. The Cistercian
day is a balance of prayer (both private and choral), work, and spiritual reading.
The sisters spend much of the day in silence.
Another friend of mine, Thérèse, a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur, opened
a homeless shelter with one of her fellow sisters on the South Side of Chicago,
Charism is the inspirational purpose that starts communities
and keeps them going. It is community mission and spirit. It
gives communities distinctive personalities and imbues their
daily practice with meaning.
What is charism?
BY CATHY O’CONNELL-CAHILL
through her work
at Cincinnati’s Our
Daily Bread, an
calls itself a “ministry
Cathy O’Connell-Cahill is a writer
and editor who
lives in Chicago.
ANNIE WOROBE TZ. COURTES Y OF SCHOOL SIS TERS OF NOTRE DAME.