Doing Ordinary Things … Quietly, Perfectly


By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

“… doing ordinary things quietly and perfectly for the glory of God … is the beauty of the pure Benedictine life.” – Thomas Merton

I have been a Benedictine Sister for 8 years now, learning the wisdom of Merton’s sentiment gradually.

It applies wherever we are, whatever we’re doing. Because all life becomes ordinary eventually. And if we’re going to live well, it will be a measure of how we approach the ordinary.

As a Benedictine Sister, I begin and end my day with prayer. I join my community in chapel for Lauds first thing in the morning, and again for Vespers when I return home from work. My private prayer time and Lectio Divina are my last-of-the-day devotions.

This prayer practice is my habit. It feeds me and roots me. It sends me out into the world of ordinary work renewed, refreshed.

It helps me greet my preschoolers with joy, compassion, patience and eagerness every day. I seek Christ in each child … and find him. I strive to do all for the glory of God.

Life is not about getting famous. Making tons of money. Going viral. Winning awards.

It’s about loving what we do. It’s about loving Christ in all. It’s about expecting – and finding – God wherever we are, whatever we are doing.

Thanks, Thomas Merton, for the reminder.

Give me a call at (309) 283-2300 or send me an email at to talk about this. Benedictine life might just be the right avenue to the ordinary life that you, too, desire.


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