We had a comment recently asking whether our Masses are open to the public. They certainly are! We welcome guests both at Mass and at our daily celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours throughout the year. We have Mass every weekday (that is, Monday-Saturday) at 7:20 AM, and Sunday Mass at 7:00 AM. We sing the Liturgy of the Hours every day throughout the day; the times for each Office can be found on our "Monastery Schedule" page. On rare occasions we have Mass at a different time and when this happens we always put a notice in the outside chapel so people will be aware. Christmas and Easter, for example, are always later in the morning, and sometimes we have a special event (such as Sr. Bernadette Marie's first profession on February 2) when Mass is at a later time. You are welcome to check the outside chapel for details about our schedule, or you can call or email us for details if you are not sure. We invite you to come and share in our praise, adoration and worship!
Monday, January 28, 2013
What did St. Thomas look like? There are many descriptions, most of them focusing on his size! We prefer to think he was a big guy like a football player, not necessarily hugely fat--after all, he walked all over Europe preaching and teaching! One writer tells us that when he was walking the roads people would come out of the fields to stare at him because of his "beauty and corpulence". Well, at least he was considered handsome! Since they say a picture is worth a thousand words, let's look at a few old and new renditions of this saint.
We're not sure who painted these pictures (some look like icons so they were written, not painted), but we are grateful for their work. Each brings out a different aspect of what St. Thomas must have been like. Of course the best way to get to know St. Thomas is by reading his works...but it's kind of fun to see what he may have looked like. We are often asked, "How do I start reading St. Thomas Aquinas?" One way is to choose a question from the Summa theologiae, perhaps some theological topic you are interested in, and read it over carefully, noting the arguments and the conclusions Thomas comes to. Keep in mind that in the Summa theologiae Thomas begins with objections to what he wants to say first! He then refutes the objections, saying, "On the contrary..." and then gives his opinion, saying, "I answer that..." St. Thomas also wrote numerous other works--commentaries on Scripture, homilies, answers to questions, and so on and so on. Many are available on the Internet or as e-books as well. Today, consider reading and praying over something by St. Thomas, and then pass on the fruits of your contemplation to others!
Friday, January 25, 2013
Today ends the week of prayer for Christian unity--appropriately, today is the feast of the conversion of St. Paul. In a sense we are all converts, because we are all continually returning to the Lord after straying from Him in various ways. Paul's story also reminds us that it is vitally important to seek the Lord's guidance in everything that we do--otherwise, we may find ourselves working against His plan, even with the best of intentions! Today we pray for the humility to accept God's word in our lives--even when it turns our lives upside down!
And we are also praying in a special way today for Sr. Bernadette Marie, who has begun her retreat in preparation for her first profession on February 2. Please keep her in your prayers as well!
Friday, January 18, 2013
Today, the feast day of St. Margaret of Hungary, we begin a week of prayer dedicated to Christian unity.
St. Margaret of Hungary was a Dominican nun of the 13th century. Her royal parents offered her to God in thanksgiving for victory over their invading enemies. The only connection between Margaret and church unity is that her feast happens to begin the week of prayer for this intention; still, we can't resist mentioning her as she is one of the few Dominican nuns who have been canonized!
But another nun, a Cistercian from Italy, is invoked in a particular way this week for special prayers. Her name is Blessed Gabriella and she is the patroness of church unity. She offered her life for this intention and we pray that she will continue to intercede for unity among the churches today. "Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one." (John 17:11)
Saturday, January 12, 2013
This beautiful feast of Christ's baptism marks the official end of the Christmas season. A lot of people don't realize how long the Christmas season really lasts in the Church, and as a result are surprised to hear us singing Christmas carols at Mass in January! This is also a wonderful day to reflect on our own baptism. Maybe you were baptized as an infant or small child, and have no memories (or very confused ones)....maybe you were baptized at an older age and remember it vividly. Maybe you have pictures to commemorate the occasion, or other memorabilia. The amazing thing is that when you were baptized, you became a part of Christ's Holy Church and a member of his family. That is a gift that can never be taken away from you. Things may have changed since the day of your baptism. You may have tried to stop your ears against the sound of God's voice, but today, listen for his quiet whisper, inviting you back to him. Jesus stands waiting to extend his mercy to you. All you need to do is accept this grace.
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Sr. Bernadette Marie is all smiles these days...because in less than a month, on February 2, 2013, she will make her first profession of vows! This is a big milestone in the life of a Dominican nun. In addition to professing her temporary (for three years) vow of obedience, she will also receive the black veil--a dramatic change in a novice's appearance. We will be bringing you these new pictures as soon as possible after the big day!
And we also want to show you a couple of pictures from our New Year's drawing of patrons...
Everyone had a wonderful time drawing their patrons, which were printed on lovely holy cards designed by one of our own sisters. We look forward to a blessed and holy New Year 2013--and wish all happiness and blessing for you as well!