Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Saint Augustine

It's Sunday, so we are not observing the feast of St. Augustine of Hippo liturgically today as we usually do, but we do want to remember him in a special way.

One of the questions frequently asked by women inquiring about our life is, "What rule do you follow?" Dominican nuns, like the friars, follow the Rule of St. Augustine. In 1215, Dominic traveled to Rome to meet with Pope Innocent III concerning the foundation of a new order dedicated to preaching. The Pope was interested, but asked St. Dominic to choose an existing rule for his order (instead of writing his own). For Dominic, this was easy. He had spent most of his life following the Rule of St. Augustine as a canon of the diocese of Osma in Spain. The Dominican Order with the Rule of St. Augustine were confirmed by Pope Honorius III on December 22, 1216. A portion of this rule is read aloud at the beginning of the noon meal in our monastery. After a few years of hearing these pieces of the rule, you practically have it memorized! And it's an excellent text to keep close to your heart:
  • "Let all of you then live together in oneness of mind and heart, mutually honoring God in yourselves, whose temples you have become." (n.9)
  • "Charity, as it is written, 'is not self-seeking,' meaning that it places the common good before its own, not its own before the common good. So whenever you show greater concern for the common good than for your own, you may know that you are growing in charity. Thus, let the abiding virtue of charity prevail in all things..." (n.31)
  • "The Lord grant that you may observe all these precepts in a spirit of charity as lovers of spiritual beauty, giving forth the good odor of Christ in the holiness of your lives; not as slaves living under the law but as women living in freedom under grace." (n.48)
"Lift up your hearts to heaven! You ask: How can I do it? What ropes are needed? What machinery, what ladders? The steps are your affections, your will is the way. You ascend by loving, by neglect you descend. If you love God you are in heaven while standing upon the earth, for the heart is not raised as the body is raised. When the body is raised it changes its place: when the heart is raised it changes its desire."--St. Augustine, Exposition on the Psalms 85.6

Monday, August 22, 2011

Welcome, Father Paul Philibert OP!

Fr. Paul Philibert, OP is our new chaplain here at the monastery. He's been in residence since the last part of June--we've been meaning to mention his arrival and welcome presence for some time!

Fr. Paul is a native of Baltimore, MD. He was ordained in 1963, and has spent most of his ministry as a teacher of theology. In keeping with this tradition, he has been teaching some classes in the novitiate.  He is a writer and has recently published translations of works by Cardinal Yves Congar, OP. If all that were not enough, he is also an excellent musician and a gifted preacher. We are delighted to have you as our chaplain, Fr. Paul!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Patron Saint of Texas

Most of us think of Franciscan saints, like St. Anthony of Padua (San Antonio) when we think of Texas--after all, the Franciscans were a big part of Texas history. But lest we forget--the battle which concluded the war for independence that Texas fought with Mexico took place near the river named San Jacinto--and that is Spanish for Saint Hyacinth, or Jacek, as he is known in his native Poland. A Dominican saint!

St. Hyacinth brought the Dominican Order to Poland and eastern Europe in the 13th century. One day when the Tartars were attacking, he removed the Blessed Sacrament from the church to prevent it from being desecrated. As he was doing this, he heard the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary speak to him, asking Hyacinth to take her along, as well. Although the statue was very heavy, Hyacinth was able to carry both the statue and the monstrance to safety, which is why he is usually portrayed holding these two items.

It's possible that this river near where the battle of San Jacinto was fought--and which gives the battle its name--was discovered on or around St. Hyacinth's feast day, August 17--this is how some places in Texas got their names (think of the city of Corpus Christi). Anyway, the battle of San Jacinto (fought on April 21, 1836) was of enormous importance not only to the state of Texas but to all of what we now call the United States. As the inscription on the San Jacinto Monument reads: 

"Measured by its results, San Jacinto was one of the decisive battles of the world. The freedom of Texas from Mexico won here led to annexation and to the Mexican War, resulting in the acquisition by the United States of the States of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah, and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma. Almost one-third of the present area of the American nation, nearly a million square miles of territory, changed sovereignty."

 The Battle of San Jacinto

Check out our post on Texas history from a Catholic point of view here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

"The august Mother of God, mysterious united from all eternity with Jesus Christ in one and the same decree of predestination, immaculate in her conception, a virgin inviolate in her divine motherhood, the wholehearted companion of the divine Redeemer who won complete victory over sin and its consequences, gained at last the supreme crown of her privileges--to be preserved immune from the corruption of the tomb, and, like her Son, when death had been conquered, to be carried up body and soul to the exalted glory of heaven, there to sit in splendor at the right hand of her Son, the immortal King of the ages." --Pope Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus (1950)

See our 2010 post on this feast here.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Welcome to the Dominican Family!

We are delighted to share that our employee of over 20 years, David Bomer, made his final promises today as a member of the Dominican Laity! David has been a "jack of all trades" around our house, fixing almost everything that gets broken or worn out, supervising other employees, and being available to us night and day in case of emergency. We have always thought of him as part of our family, and now our ties are strengthened!

Fr. Scott O'Brien, OP celebrated the Mass and preached an excellent homily. 

David kneels in front of the chapter moderator, Amy Haney, OP while the Litany is sung. Deborah Charanza, OP looks on. 

 Everyone is thrilled that David is now officially David Bomer, OP!

A large group of our Dominican Laity chapter. We are so blessed to have them as a part of our Dominican family!

We pray that many more will feel called by God to join the Dominican family--whether as friars, sisters, laity, or--if you are a single woman--perhaps you may consider the cloistered Dominican life? Please think about it!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Remembering Dominic

"All these people, and many others from Fanjeaux, asserted to a man that they had never seen anyone so holy and so good." -- Process of the Canonization of St. Dominic, Toulouse, n.19

On August 8 we celebrate the solemnity of our holy father St. Dominic, a man of prayer, a preacher, a joyful friar. We remember how he traveled from town to town on his preaching missions, singing the Ave maris stella, speaking with God or about God. We remember the many people he brought back to the Church, not least of which were the women he settled at Prouilhe as the first Dominican nuns. 

We remember his love for those who came to follow him, and his compassion for all people expressed in his cry: "Lord, have mercy on your people! What will become of poor sinners?" He spent his nights in prayer and his days in preaching the word of God. 

We remember some of his last words to the brethren who wept while he lay dying: "I will be of more help to you where I am going than I have been here."  

We remember Dominic because we are his daughters in Christ, and we strive to follow in his way. Holy Father St. Dominic, pray for us!

Check out our 2010 post for the feast of St. Dominic here.
Also see our post on the translation of St. Dominic, here.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Transfiguration of Our Lord

Today we celebrate the great feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord. Scripture tells us that Jesus took his disciples Peter, James and John up Mt. Tabor with Him, and there He was transfigured before them--in other words, He appeared to them in all His glory and majesty. Moses (giver of the Law) and Elijah (the great prophet) are seen speaking with him about what will soon take place in Jerusalem (that is, His crucifixion and death, and resurrection). In Fra Angelico's portrayal, however, we see two additional figures: St. Dominic and Mary, the Mother of God. They were not present at the Transfiguration when it actually happened! But Fra Angelico (good Dominican that he was) makes the point here that we too can enter into the mysteries of salvation through prayer and lectio divina. With Peter, we can say, "Lord, it is good for us to be here!" and with Peter also we can hear the Lord saying in response, "This is My beloved Son, listen to Him." Let us strive to listen to the voice of the Lord and follow Him in all we do, so that like the disciples, we may always see Jesus before us.