Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Going Bananas

It's often said, "When life hands you lemons, make lemonade." But what do you do when life hands you bananas?

We recently received several cases of bananas from a generous benefactor--and then we received still another case from ANOTHER generous benefactor! We all like bananas, but there's only so many you can eat before they start to get, what to do? Fortunately our head cook, Sr. Marie Augustine, is an expert on bananas. Whenever we receive large quantities of bananas, we dry them! It's easy to do, healthier than banana bread or muffins, and the sisters love them. 

First, of course, you peel the bananas!

Then you slice them, first across the width, then in half down the middle of the banana, so you have four pieces, as you can see here!

Be sure to place the bananas seed side up--they get very sticky on the bottom otherwise. We dry our bananas on baking sheets on top of the stove. It usually takes a few days. You can probably do it faster with a drying machine but we prefer this method because we can do a lot of bananas at once. 

Dried bananas are naturally sweet, and make a great addition to breakfast! When we started drying bananas, we learned that not only our African sisters (like Sr. Marie Augustine, who is from Tanzania), but also our Vietnamese sisters were familiar with dried bananas and liked them. We are fortunate to have a wide mixture of cultures and backgrounds in our community, and we welcome any more that would like to join us! In the meantime, we're enjoying our bananas--and we're so grateful to ALL our benefactors who make our life possible!

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Holy Name of Mary

 "Blessed be the name of Mary, virgin and mother..." (from the Divine Praises)

St. Bernard of Clairvaux once wrote, "In danger, in difficulties, in doubts, think of Mary. Call upon Mary! Never let her name be absent from your lips or absent from your heart." As Dominican nuns, we each take a form of this name as part of our religious name. It can be Mary, as in Sr. Mary Agnes; or Marie, as in Sr. Marie Augustine; or Maria, as in Sr. Maria Rosario, or even Miriam, as in Sr. Miriam. The possibilities are numerous, but the intention is the same: to honor Mary and her holy name. May we all have renewed respect for the names of Jesus and Mary today and every day!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Armchair Pilgrimage to the Lands of Dominic

April, says Chaucer, is the month to go on pilgrimage, but for Dominican cloistered nuns, any time is a good time! From September 7-10, we enjoyed a unique pilgrimage--taken without ever leaving home. Our guides were Sr. Ann Willits, OP and Fr. Matt Walsh, OP and our destination was Europe--specifically, the lands where Dominic lived, went around preaching the Gospel, and eventually died.

St. Dominic began his life and journeys in Spain, but traveled as far as northern Germany and into France and Italy over the course of his lifetime.

Our pilgrimage with Sr. Ann and Fr. Matt was in many ways a journey into the heart of Dominican life, as we explored not only the physical world of St. Dominic through slides and lectures but also the interior world of St. Dominic through reflections on many aspects of Dominican life. Sr. Ann's thought-provoking lectures and Fr. Matt's wonderful homilies and talks gave us much to contemplate! We are so grateful to them for their insights and for giving us a renewed sense of belonging to the Dominican family.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

"Our Lady is the culmination of that long process of selection, of choosing here and rejecting there a human instrument suited to his purpose. which is so characteristic of God's dealings with his ancient people...God's grace and man's free will corresponding with it--that ancient mystery is illustrated at every turn of the Old Testament story, until at last we turn over the page into the New Testament and find its ideal illustration in the life of our Lady herself...She is the culmination of all that process; for in her human nature reached to its highest dignity, to greet the divine condescension of the Incarnate. In her, as nowhere else, God had found the human instrument suited to his purpose; the worthy receptacle of a grace that had not dwelt on earth since Adam lost his paradise. The work of selection is consummated; mankind stands ready for its Redeemer." --Msgr. Ronald Knox

Today we celebrate the birthday of the Virgin Mary. We don't know a whole lot about Mary's birth or childhood because these things aren't mentioned in the Gospels--but there are a lot of apocryphal stories about her floating around, which is where we get the names of her parents, Joachim and Anne, for example. Still, we are happy today to celebrate our Blessed Mother's birthday! As Fr. Peter John Cameron, O.P. writes, "Mary's is a birthday to remember because the answer to our sorrow, misery, malice, loneliness, inability, and strife is to be born of Mary." Happy birthday, dear Mary!