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"I wouldn't be who I am today without my experience with the Organic Prayer Program. That year of prayer, work, study, and rest provided opportunities to grow deeper in my faith and discern how I was being called to serve God, my fellow humans, and all of creation. The rhythms of Benedictine life and the witness of the Community of St. Mary continue to shape my ministry and relationship with God."

Nathan Bourne

First OPP Intern

The Sisters of St. Mary invites young people to experience a year alongside the Community, rooted in S.O.I.L (Sacramental, Organic, Intentional Living), sharing the rhythm and routine of daily prayer, working in the Convent and the garden, and representing the Community in the surrounding area as well as the world at large.


Our interns engage in a life structured by Benedictine values which includes time for prayer, work, study, rest and exercise; and is rooted in an intentional way of living that seeks harmony with the natural world and the greater Sewanee community.


Summer program: May 26 to August 3, 2024
Deadline to apply is March 19, 2024
Long term: August 15, 2024 to May 3, 2025
Deadline to apply is July 1, 2024
*Starting and end dates can be negotiated with the Prioress*

Two options:

1. The summer internship takes place mid-May to early August and is designed for undergraduate students or recent graduates.

2. The long-term internship takes place mid-August to early May and is designed for recent college graduates who are looking for a gap year to discern their next steps.


Mission of the program:

“Spiritual and personal growth and development, vocational discernment guided by the Benedictine model of prayer, work, study, and rest that is rooted in intentional, communal living in harmony with the natural world, the Community of St. Mary, and the greater Sewanee community.” – From the “Rule of Life” of the first group of OPP interns


Types of work/study:

The work will be largely agricultural but extends beyond this central focus to accommodate the unique interests, gifts, and abilities of incoming interns. They will work with the Sisters to create and design their own contemplative prayer service which combines a topic of care for creation with scripture, video clips, music, and readings. This topic will be the result of time set apart each week to study ecology.


Is this internship right for me?

  • Do you seek a rich prayer life with a balance of private and corporate prayer guided by the Benedictine tradition?
  • Are you committed to slowing down and taking time to discern your next steps?

  • Do you have a desire to experience with agricultural work, especially gardening?

  • Do you desire spiritual formation in the setting of an intentional community?

  • Want to cultivate a life of balance, rhythm, and routine and to demonstrate hospitality to others in the community?

  • Do you feel a call to service, both to individuals and communities?Are you interested in exploring ways in which your faith connects with communities, both natural and human, and how those connections can be deepened and strengthened?


Detailed information:

Interns will need to provide their own health insurance. They will be provided with housing, some meals, and a modest weekly stipend* to meet their personal needs.  Freedom to pursue a little alternative part-time work outside the Community of St. Mary in order to satisfy personal interest and/or need for extra money is also a possibility.

*Note that the stipend is only for long-term interns, short-term interns must provide their own stipend -

those interested can discuss options for securing this stipend with the Sisters upon application.

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