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A Day in the Life of a Pre-Novice at the Carmelite Convent in Vietnam

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live a life devoted to God and community? If you have, then you might be interested in exploring the life of a Carmelite. The Carmelite Convent of the Pre-Novices is a place where young men gather to begin to discover their religious life, deepen their faith and form meaningful bonds with one another.

As the first rays of light peek through the windows of the Carmelite Convent of the Pre-Novices, the pre-novices rise from their slumber, ready to start a new day. Each day is a journey of spiritual growth, self-discovery, and service to others.

The day begins at 4:30am with quiet moments of reflection and prayer, preparing their hearts and minds for the day ahead but for some rise earlier to prepare for breakfast. At 5:00am, the chapel is filled with the sounds of hymns and prayers, as the pre-novices gather for mass and morning prayer, a time to commune with the divine and offer their lives to the Lord.

After a moment of meditation, the pre-novices head to the dining room for breakfast, fueling their bodies with nourishing food and conversation with their brothers in Christ. With full stomachs and full hearts, they are ready to tackle the day ahead.

For those who go to school outside the convent, the day is filled with learning and discovery. For those who stay behind, they take care of the house and garden, tending to their earthly home with love and care. At 8:00am, all the pre-novices gather for class, which could include English, Vietnamese Literature, Carmelite Charism, or Spirituality, studying subjects that will deepen their faith and prepare them for a life of faith and service.

The midday meal is a time of rest and renewal, a chance to reflect on the morning’s lessons and share stories with each other. After lunch, the pre-novices take a much-needed nap, recharging their bodies and spirits for the rest of the day.

At 2:30pm, the pre-novices come together for evening prayer, a time to renew their commitment to God and to each other. Ater prayer, they may choose to study on their own or do their personal things or housework.

At 4:30pm on Tuesday and Friday, the pre-novices join together to clean the whole house, a time to work as a team and to reflect on the joys and challenges of community life. On Wednesday and Saturday, they play soccer, laughing and competing with each other, learning important lessons about teamwork, perseverance, and humility.

At 6:00pm, the pre-novices gather for a bit of recreation, sharing snacks and drinks, and laughing with each other. Dinner is a time of thanksgiving, a chance to reflect on the blessings of the day and to express gratitude for their lives together.

As the night draws to a close, the pre-novices gather for night prayer at 9:00pm, a time of reflection and devotion, depending on the day, they pray the Rosary, Lectio Divina, or Eucharistic Benediction and Exposition. On Saturday nights, they take a communal prayer off to enjoy a movie night together or a time-out for milk tea, a time to unwind and have fun.

Finally, at 10:30pm, the pre-novices retire to their rooms, each one filled with peace and contentment, ready to start a new day in the Carmelite Convent of the Pre-Novices. Their journey continues, each day bringing new opportunities for growth, love, and service to others.

Through their daily routine, the pre-novices cultivate a close-knit community, grounded in a shared love of God and their Carmelite faith. They support each other on their spiritual journeys and grow in their understanding of the Carmelite Charism and Spirituality.

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