The most important task of nuns is to pray constantly on behalf of all mankind.
The day starts with the morning prayers at 5 a.m. Prayers, Holy Mass and contemplation are the most important part of the day. Nuns spend time also working in the garden, in the kitchen and painting the Paschal candles, which represent the main source of income for the Monastery. The daily routine consists of trading prayers for work, as prescribed by the tradition of Desert Fathers.
St. Silvan from Athos explains the life of monks as follows:
“The outside world believes that monks live quite an unuseful life if comparing with an ordinary man outside of the Monastery. It does not understand that the Monk is the one who prays for the outside world. The world can´t see the Monk´s prayers and can´t understand how by grace the Lord accepts these prayers. Monks fight against their appetites and desires and this is why they are dear to God. The Lord is very close to us, closer than the air we breathe. Air gets into the man´s body and it comes to the heart, but the Lord is inside the man´s heart. Our joy: the Lord is with us and inside us! Despite the fact that the Monk is busy with ordinary tasks, all day long his soul is full of love for God. Even if manually working, the Monk is connected with God in his mind. The Monk humbles his soul and protects himself as well as those he prays for against the Enemy.”
What happens in the life of a man who has the courage to leave the outside world he lived in, with the aim to live a different life forever?
“I couldn´t find peace in the outside world; there was still an empty place in my heart. This emptiness disappeared once I entered the Monastery´s door in Offida, Italy. At the beginning, I didn´t want to became a Nun, I just wanted to experience the nun´s life. It was a beautiful battle: to become or not to become a nun – it was more about to find the reasons why to not become a nun: you love your family, the material stuff and the outside world. I still tried to persuade the Lord that he is mistaken in thinking that I can become a nun! But the Lord was enduring and I finally said to Lord: OK, I give up and I decided to abandon all in the outside world. That true and deep peace I experienced once I entered the Monastery chased me all the time and it finally won me over. When I told my friends about my decision, I experienced various reactions. Some of them were happy for me, while others were against my decision. My father accepted my decision since he was already in the Lord´s Heaven. My mother´s reaction was as would be expected from any mother letting her daughter leave home. Finally she said that she can´t go against the God´s will. The Rules of St. Benedict prescribes that the nuns should live together as one community for all their lives in one place, separated from the outside world and with no possibility to go back into civil life. The vision of the outside world is, that the nun can´t leave the Monastery. The truth is that we don´t want to leave the Monastery – this is our home!”
“I was always looking for happiness in everything I did. I experienced a lot in the outside world but despite so many experiences I didn´t find real happiness. Happiness means fullness for me. I was happy but I still had the feeling that I was missing something. I dated men and I was in love with a few of them, but none of these relationships ended in marriage. I realized that my problem consisted of my emptiness, my hunger and my thirst for something. I was in a Christian community in which we read the Holy Bible and the Lord´s word fed me… This situation lasted for several years and then God realized his plan with me. When I was 36 years old, I entered in a Monastery. In the Monastery I found the happiness I was searching for so long. As for me, there is no difference between falling in love with Jesus Christ or with some man. I admire people in the outside world. We are aware of life outside: the suffering, the problems of young people, the hunger for goodness and love… We understand all this because we lived this life.”
“I entered the Monastery in Offida when I was 33 years old. Until then, I was working as a typographer in a private printing company. God made me understand His will. God is like your fiancé who is trying to capture your attention. He gives you gifts, signs but also suffering – He convinces you that you can´t make it without His help. Without Him I was suffering and this was the reason why I put Him in the center of my life and why I made this decision to leave the outside life. Before entering the Monastery, I had a boyfriend – we were together for seven years. I decided to end this relationship as well. It wasn’t easy at all, but my thirst for God was greater than the fear of losing my boyfriend. I won this battle and then peace came.”