"Ora et labora" (prayer and work) is an ancient Benedictine motto. Monasteries strive to keep both in balance. The place of work as ministry in a Benedictine community differs from that of a community founded specifically for ministry. Benedictines were founded to seek God in community. Their work is a response to this seeking.
The work of the Benedictine that has remained constant through the centuries is praying the Liturgy of the Hours. Benedict called this the "opus dei" or "work of God". In addition to praying, Benedictine monks have often been involved in education, literature, agriculture, and hospitality - responding to the needs of the time and place. It is interesting to note that while monks were not founded for a specific work, their work has had a transforming influence on the history of civilization.
Community Sponsored Schools
When Benedictine Sisters came to Elizabeth, NJ, we taught the children of German immigrants. We are monastic, but we are not cloistered. Today the community sponsors Benedictine Center for Spirituality and Benedictine Preschool at the monastery. Benedictine Academy, our high school for girls, is across North Broad Street.
Sisters of Saint Walburga Monastery serve at the Mary's Avenue campus of Health Alliance Hospital in Kingston, NY, direct the School of Religion at St. Joseph’s Parish in New Paltz, NY and sisters also serve in local parishes as teachers, school librarian, secretary, and organist. One sister is a medical records librarian.
In the Monastery
Some sisters work within the monastery: in the infirmary, the kitchen, the church, various offices, the upholstery shop, the guest house, the garden, the reception area - and even the boiler room!