I forgot to write about a few things about convent life!
"My" sisters are "semi-cloistered". That means that portions of the house are off-limits to visitors. The refectory (dining room), the cells, the library, and the whole novitiate (among other rooms) were cloistered. There were also "places of silence": the chapel (obviously), the De Profundis hall (there were Stations of the Cross hung there, along with verses from the Bible about Jesus' sufferings. We also prayed prayers for the dead before supper there), the cells and the hallways that contained them, the stairwells, the bathrooms, and the refectory (that's all I can remember for now).
I can't believe I forgot to write about permissions and penances! If you recieved a gift in the mail from somebody (my family sent me a new journal, for example), you had to go to your superior as soon as possible to ask for permission to keep it. If you did something wrong (broke something, were late for prayers, etc.), you had to ask your superior for a penance. It was usually something like a decade of the rosary, a few Hail Marys, or a Divine Mercy Chaplet. I had to do this a lot. :( lol
The sisters had a lot of land, and throughout the woods there were little shrines! :) One was to Our Lady of Czestochowa (one of the foundresses is Polish, so the community has a great devotion to her), another to the Holy Trinity (it was a beautiful icon), one to Our Lady of Grace, and another we called Calvary, because we had to climb a hill to get to it. :)
Etiquette was very important to convent life, especially in the refectory. The postulants had to learn not to "hug your mug", the proper way to eat soup and cereal, the right way to hold a knife and fork, how to cut your meat, how to eat bread (break off a piece or two, and butter only those pieces), etc. We also had to learn to keep "custody of the eyes", which means during silent meals we had to keep our eyes on our own plate, so as to not distract our fellow sisters.
Ahh, I could go on and on! Tomorrow I'll post why I left the convent. :)