Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve

Every year on the morning of Christmas Eve about 6:30 we gather in the Chapter Hall, (a large room for solemn monastic occasions) . There is a special reflection, usually given by one of the younger Sisters. This year it was given by our Novice, Sister Mary Therese. It was very good and you can read it below the next photo.

Also, each year on Christmas Eve after Vespers (Evening Prayer), our chaplain comes in and blesses the Nativity Scenes in the Community Room and Refectory (dining room).


Solemn Chapter 2016

     This year, the Dominican Order celebrates the 800th anniversary of its founding. St. Dominic founded an Order 800 years ago dedicated to preaching the truth of the Gospel. Specifically, he wanted to preach the Gospel to the Cathars--heretics who believed in a dualistic reality in which matter and spirit were opposed to each other, with matter being evil and only spirit being good. Our Order was initially established to combat a heresy that the miracle of Christmas challenges.
     What is so special about Christmas? Why is Christianity the only religion that celebrates the birth of its founder, a birth that happened decades before Christs really "did" anything, things that identified Him as a religious leader such as preaching and performing miracles? Of course, the conception and birth of Christ is itself a miracle. The Virgin Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit and bore Jesus Christ, God made man.
     But the fact that God became a man at all is an even greater miracle. We Christians, 2000 years later, are accustomed to the idea of God becoming man. It is hard for us to understand how truly shocking this event was. Why did God come to earth as a baby? What would have happened if He had come to earth as a grown, powerful man, as one would expect a God to do it He came to earth at all? And why DID He come to earth as a man at all? Could He have saved us just as a divine, spiritual being? What's so important about our physical nature that God wanted to redeem that, too?
     God is spirit, with no physical nature, and thus it is tempting for us to dismiss the physical as "lesser," particularly as it is easier to see the flaws, brokenness, and messiness of the physical world. The spiritual world is exalted, esteemed, even mysterious, which makes it seem better and more important than the physical. But God created the physical world, and God created all things good. God Himself values the physical, natural world; He created it and wants it to exist and be saved.
     With the celebration of Christmas, we are reminded of the goodness of the world. God chose to come to earth as a human to redeem our humanity. He wanted to redeem not just our souls but our bodies as well. And He did that by living as a normal, physical human being, which includes coming into the world as a baby, just like everybody else does. From the day of His conception to the day of his crucifixion, Jesus endured all the suffering and messiness of a physical body in our fallen world. He chose to come to earth through a physical mother, instead of descending from on high in a glorified body. He lived nine months in Mary's womb and then was born, coming t\into the physical world the same way every other human being does. He then experienced childhood and all of the growing pains and scraped knees that every other child has. As an adult, He endured hunger and thirst and extreme discomfort during His mission of preaching and healing. And during His passion, He suffered unimaginable physical and emotional pain. And in experiencing a fully physical human life, Jesus redeemed humanity in both our bodies and our souls.
     Christmas is a celebration of the goodness of the physical world, because we celebrate God's great decision to incarnate as a physical human being in order to redeem the physical world. God created the natural world, and He created all things good. The natural world is now fallen, yes, but it is still fundamentally good and worthy of redemption. God created us as both body and soul; we are embodied souls. The "real me" includes both spiritual and physical natures, and we are not truly human without both. Even in the next life, we are promised a resurrection of our bodies, so that our physical and human natures will be forever united in the Kingdom of God.
     The miracle of Christmas proves that God loves us completely, both body and soul. He loves us more than we love ourselves. It is we humans who are tempted to reject the physical, in all its ugliness and pain. But God loves our entire humanity. He wants our spirit, but He also wants our body. At Christmas, we celebrate the incarnation, in which God embraces our human nature with complete love and acceptance, in all our frailness and woundedness. Christmas is a celebration not just of Jesus becoming human, but of all  of us being created in His great family of humanity, a family He joined to bring together as one body to redeem.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Emmanuel, Come!

(tune: O come, O come Emmanuel)

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel;
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel,
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

With each succeeding day, the O of our invocation, and the Veni of our supplication has grown more confident, more intense and, in a sense, more urgent.

Emmanuel. Is there a name sweeter or more tender? God-with-us. “Nothing in our difficulties, our misunderstandings, our sorrows, even in our agony, will find us alone. We will always have Someone with us, Someone present in our very heart to give the strength and light necessary in those moments.” (1964, Mother Marie des Douleurs Wrotnowska) Therefore, we never again need to be afraid or worry.

Be Emmanuel for us always. Never leave us, always with us.
Amen.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Come, O King of the Nations!

(tune: O come, O come Emmanuel)

O come, desire of nations, bind,
In one the hearts of all mankind.
Bid thou our sad divisions cease,
And be thyself our Prince of Peace.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel,
Shall come to thee, O Israel!


One translation of this antiphon says, Christ is the “cornerstone that binds two into one”. It also says, “Come, and bring wholeness to man.” In other words, Jesus as King of the universe, is the only One Who can truly bring peace among peoples and to each individual heart. We have been fashioned from the dust. So now, today, we ask to be refashioned, reshaped, reformed by Christ, the Word through whom all things were made. 

In His Church, Christ originally united Jew and Gentile, and now and until the end of time, every nationality and race can become one in His Mystical Body. Every time a human being seeks the splendor of the truth, the radiance of beauty, the purity of goodness, he seeks the Face of Christ, the “Desired of all nations.”

Come, Christ, make me over, change me,
reshape all that is misshapen in me.
Amen.





Wednesday, December 21, 2016

O Radiant Dawn!

(tune: O come, O come, Emmanuel)

O come, O Dayspring, come and cheer
Our spirits by thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death's dark shadows put  to flight.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

“Light from Light, true God from true God.” We recite these words every Sunday in the Creed. God is light. Light was the first thing He created according to Genesis 1. Most (though not all) creatures need light to live. Light is compared to truth; living in the light is also living in the truth.

Christ is the Light of the world, the “dawn from on high.” From earliest times, Christians have turned towards the East to pray. Christ is the Dayspring, the rising sun who dawns upon us from on high “to give light to those in darkness and in the shadow of death” (Luke 1:9). The eastward orientation of churches and altars is a way of expressing the great cry of every Eucharist: “Let us lift up our hearts. We lift them up to the Lord.”


Let us live with our gaze fixed on God
within the communion of saints.
Amen.



Tuesday, December 20, 2016

O Key of David!


(tune: O come, O come, Emmanuel)

O come, Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

The Lord offers to lead us out of the darkness of our narrow minds, if we will but desire it. We don’t have to make long speeches to God. One word is enough, “Yes.” The mystery of the Annunciation, which is the Gospel for today is essentially, that one word, “Yes,” fiat. As Dante would tell us, the Love that moves the sun and stars waits for our response of a loving, trusting “Yes.”

On the shoulder of Christ was placed the key of the Cross, the key that opens what no mortal can open, and that closes what no mortal can close. In the image of a great key placed on His shoulder, we recognize the figure of the Cross placed on the shoulder of Christ, the key by which heaven is opened and hell vanquished. The way of peace is the way opened before us by the Cross-bearing Christ. Christ, with the key of the Cross, opens the door before us.

Lord, we give you the key to our hearts.
Unite our hearts to Your Sacred Heart.
Amen.


Monday, December 19, 2016

O Root of Jesse, Come!


(tune: O come, O come, Emmanuel)

O come, O Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny,
From depths of hell thy people save,
And give them victory o'er the grave.

Rejoice! Rejoice! O Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel!

This is the Child whom kings long to see, and perhaps compare to themselves. He is as fragile as a tiny shoot growing toward the sun, yet no one is as powerful as He. His frailty and power flow from His love. This image comes from Isaiah 11:1 and the next 2 verses list for us the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Jesus and the Spirit are always One, together with the Father.

The frail shoot, root, stem, rod, will grow into a standard before which the world and kings tremble, but in which Christians find strength and comfort; for the standard/banner of Christ is the Cross. The Root of Jesse announces that the advent of the Son is focused on the mission of Redemption that He will accomplish on the Tree of the Cross. Jesus reigns over the universe from the throne of the Cross.

Come, Lord, grow in our hearts that we bow down in worship to You.

Amen.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

O Lord, Come!

(tune of O Come, O Come, Emmanuel)
O come, O come thou Lord of Might,
Who to thy Tribes, on Sinai’s height,
In ancient times didst give the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to the, O Israel!


Lord God, you appeared to Moses on Mount Sinai and gave him the Law to lead Your people into spiritual freedom. But they did not have the inner power of the Spirit to fulfill it. Lord, reveal Your Name to us that we may really know You in a deep and intimate way.

Come O Lord, and place Your law, Your will, Your Holy Spirit, within our hearts. Amen

Friday, December 16, 2016

O Wisdom, Come!

O SAPIENTIA (Wisdom)

(tune of O come, O come, Emmanuel)

O come, O Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily,
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to the, O Israel!


Jesus can truly be called the Wisdom of God. As the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, Christ, the God-Man, is also called the Word of God. As the Word of the Father, Jesus reveals to us the inner thoughts and will of the Father, and these thoughts and desires are divinely wise. To know Jesus is to know Wisdom. To grow close to Jesus is to grow in wisdom. The Gospel According to John emphasizes Christ as the Word, the Logos of God: In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God.

The Document on the Liturgy from Vatican Council II says that in the Liturgy, Christ is present in the ministers, the priest and deacon; He is present in the congregation, the assembled believers who make up the Body of Christ; He is present in the Word of God when it is proclaimed in the assembly. The Word of God—Scripture and Christ—bring us the Wisdom of God so that we might live holy lives. Jesus comes to us to show us the way to salvation, but during this Advent season He wants to reveal this saving way in greater and deeper detail. In the Liturgy, we partake of the Wisdom of the Word and of the Eucharist, Wisdom incarnate.

Come, Lord, open our hearts and minds to Your Wisdom. Amen.



The Last Days of Advent

We are coming to the end of Advent. Today we begin our special Christmas Novena for all our friends and benefactors (that includes all of you who read this post). In addition to our specially sung Masses, we have prayers throughout the day, concluding on Christmas Eve. May we all long and yearn for a deeper relationship with our Lord.



Tomorrow we begin the beloved and ancient O Antiphons which date back to the 7th century. The antiphons are sung at the Alleluia of the Mass and as the Antiphon for the Magnificat during Vespers. The are composed of ancient titles of the Messiah, rich in Scriptural meaning.
As Lent has Holy Week, so Advent has this last week of special prayers and readings that we might enter in more deeply into the mysteries of Christ's mission.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Sisters Out Of India

Today is the Feast of St. Francis Xavier, the great missionary to Asia. Together with St. Therese of Lisieux, he is co-patron of the missions. He devoted almost 3 years to preaching the Gospel to the people of southern India and Ceylon (today, Sri Lanka), converting and baptizing many. He built nearly 40 churches along the southwestern coast of India. While on his way to China, Francis Xavier died on an island on the southeastern coast of India.

We recently had some lovely and holy visitors from India, and the area St. Francis Xavier evangelized. The Sisters of the Destitute came to our Monastery to make their annual retreat.

The community was founded in 1927 by a young diocesan priest, Fr. Varghese Payapilly. "There were few organized charitable services in Kerala to care for the poor and the destitute, aged and infirm, unwanted and downtrodden ... abandoned in the streets or uncared for at home." Father Varghese, like Mother Teresa 20 years later, was deeply moved by Jesus' words, "As you did it to one of the least of my brethren, you did it to me." (Mt 25:40). He believed God was calling him to found a religious community to care for all these people; providentially, the Archbishop introduced him to five young women who wanted to enter religious life to care for the poor. And so, the Congregation began in 1927. It was first called the "Little Sisters of the Poor", but when they discovered there was already a group by that name, they changed theirs to the "Sisters of the Destitute". He passed on to his spiritual daughters his mystical experience of contemplating the face of Jesus in the destitute and offering loving service to the poor. Unfortunately, while taking care of typhoid patients two years later, he contracted the disease and died on October 5, 1929. He left this world encouraging the young community to seek always God's will. The Congregation has spread throughout the world with more than 1,500 Sisters; and Father Varghese's cause for sanctity has been opened and he is officially a "Servant of God". Most of their vocations have come from the state of Kerala which is very Christian, due perhaps to the presence of St. Francis Xavier and some say even, St. Thomas the Apostle.


The Sisters of the Destitute have two communities in the USA: Shreveport, LA (4 sisters) and Beaumont TX (3 sisters). So the two groups met half way in Lufkin TX! All the Sisters studying nursing, and currently help in Catholic Hospitals. Because there were 7 and we have only 1 small guest room, they spent the nights at the house of a friend; and the days and meals were here at the monastery. Our chaplain gave them a conference each day on the consecrated life. We were very impressed with their prayerfulness in chapel and walking up and down our main road.

Their last evening here was an opportunity for all of us to meet them and learn about their vocations and ministries. We all had a wonderful visit and will keep them in our prayers. Perhaps they'll be back for another retreat.











Thursday, November 24, 2016

A Very Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone!!


Today is Thanksgiving Day in the USA, and around the world where there are Americans. But we want to wish everyone, wherever you are, may you have a Blessed Day filled with Thanksgiving to God for all His blessings and graces.
At the Office of Readings today we had a beautiful refection from Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman. We include a portion for you below:

Let us look at all we have as God's gift, undeservedly give, and day by day continued to us, solely by His Mercy, in a spirit of total dependence upon His providence, thankfulness and a careful remembrance of all He has done for us.
He gave us all we have: life, health, strength, reason, enjoyment, conscience, whatever we have good and holy within us; whatever faith we have, whatever loved toward Him, whatever power over ourselves. He gave us relatives, friends, education, training, knowledge, the Bible, the Church, our home and family. All comes from Him.
Let us humbly and reverently attempt to trace His guiding hand in the years which He has allowed us to live. Let us thankfully commemorate the many mercies He has given to us in time past, the many sins He has not remembered, the many dangers He has averted, the many prayers He has answered. Let us dwell upon times and seasons, times of trouble, times of joy. How He has cherished us as His very own children. How He has kept our hearts faithful. He has been all things to us. He has brought us thus far, in order to bring us further, in order to bring us to the end. He will never leave us or forsake us; so that we may boldly say:
"The Lord is my helper; no evil will I fear."

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Bishop Comes for Dinner

Our Tyler Bishop, Joseph Strickland, has been to our monastery a number of times, but never for a lengthy visit. The big day finally arrived last week and he planned to be with us from 4-8 pm. After arriving, the prioress and sub-prioress drove him around outside in our golf cart to see our spacious grounds. He enjoyed this, having grown up on a large farm in northeastern Texas.

Then at 5:00 it was time to go to Chapel for Vespers (Evening Prayer). After that we went to the Refectory (dining area) to pick up our meal and take it to the Community Room where we could eat and talk more freely. After supper, all the Sisters formed a circle to ask the Bishop questions and get to know him on a more personal basis.

Bishop Strickland's birthday was on Halloween, so we presented him with a number of gifts for himself or places in the diocese. For example, we had a beautifully carved statue of St. Peter made from a tree trunk in Vietnam, which he wanted to put in the Chapel of Sts. Peter and Paul in Tyler. Our evening with the Bishop concluded right on time at 8 pm, when he drove back to Tyler and we went to Chapel to pray for his safety and Compline (Night Prayer).

Sunday, November 6, 2016

A Poetry Reading

We had an afternoon of culture with the visit of two Incarnate Word-Blessed Sacrament Sisters from Corpus Christi: Sr. Lou Ella Hickman and Sr. JoAnne. Sister Lou Ella has been writing and publishing poetry for a number of years and wanted to share with us her first book of poetry on women in the Bible. Although there are many books about women in the Bible, hers seems to be the first book of poetry on the subject.

She: robed and wordless contains 70 poems on women in the Old and New Testaments. Our prioress, Sister Maria Guadalupe, open our culture-gathering with a prayer and we were encouraged to name our favorite women in the Scriptures. It was amazing how many poems Sister Lou Ella had written about almost everyone we mentioned. Among the "crowd of witnesses" were Old Testament women such as Eve, of "the first love song", and Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel, "the epitome of a pray-er."
They mingled with women of the New Covenant such as two from the Gospel of Luke: Elizabeth recalling her son John the Baptist "dancing within her in like a curtain fluttering in the breeze" and old Anna in the Temple to see the new-born Messiah, speaking of herself and Simeon, as, "we like old books were there."

You may purchase She: robed and wordless at Catholic gift stores or from amazon.com.

After the formal meeting we had a little photo-op. The first photo below has one of our own Corpus Christi Sisters, Sister Mary Gabriel; the second photo shows some of our poetry aficionados.


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Sister Mary Anne of Jesus, OP


Our dear Sister Mary Anne died on Oct 15 at the age of 89. We were all gathered around her praying and singing the Salve Regina, a tradition going back to the early days of the Order. Sister entered the Dominican Monastery of the Blessed Sacrament in Detroit MI in 1944, and 6-months later came now to found our Monastery of the Infant Jesus in the pineywoods of deep East Texas. She was just a white-veiled novice. Sister loved beauty and was a talented artist, craftsman and seamstress, making vestments and habits. She also served as a Novice Directress and Chantress.



Sister Mary Anne had a very deep devotion to God the Father throughout the years and always kept a drawing of God the Father on her wall. In addition to her consecration to Jesus, Sister had a devotion to the Carmelite mystic, St. Teresa of Jesus (of Avila). She constantly read her books, underlining passages until they were almost in technicolor. Thus, it was most fitting that Sister Mary Anne returned to her loving and merciful God on the Feast of St. Teresa, October 15. May Sister rest in peace.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary

This morning at Mass our chaplain, Fr. Marcos Ramos, OP, gave a lovely homily about the Rosary. You can read it on the Dominican Friars' Southern Province site here. Father Marcos described Murillo's famous painting of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary and then spoke of the importance of the Rosary in his personal life. Father also brought a large, full-length reproduction of the painting which we could admire throughout the Liturgy


We also had the official induction of the new officers of our local Dominican Laity Chapter of St. Thomas Aquinas. So it was a very special celebration, indeed.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Angelic Life

 Today is the Feast of the Great Archangels. It is so important to pray for their help, intercession and protection during these days of world conflict and turmoil. Saint Michael is a special patron for the spiritual warfare that is taking place in our world. Let us pray...
          St. Michael the Archangel, 
          defend us in battle. 
          Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. 
          May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, 
          and do thou, 
          O Prince of the heavenly hosts, 
          by the power of God, 
          thrust into hell Satan, 
          and all the evil spirits, 
          who prowl about the world 
          seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

 The consecrated life is often called the"Angelic Life". It is not because we are perfect spirits or something different than other human beings. It is because the consecrated, and especially the monastic, life is focused completely upon God. The life of the angels is one of worship and praise of God. We join them at every Sunday Mass when we say or sing, "Holy, holy, holy..." The monastic life is one adoration, worship, praise, intercession and reparation. In this way we share in the angelic life.
Whether we are at home in our monastery chapel or away on business, as the nuns above in the photo at the Motherhouse of the Nashville Dominican Sisters chapel, we are always going about the Opus Dei, the Liturgy of the Hours or Divine Office. In this picture we are praying the Hour of Morning Prayer, but we return to chapel seven times throughout the entire day, every day to sing God's praises.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Returning Home

Our three travelers to the Association Assembly in Nashville TN returned home safely on Friday evening after a 12 hour drive. Everyone was celebrating, even the car!
Now that we have more time, we will try to put up pictures of all the Nuns at the Assembly. First, from Lufkin: Sister Mary Rose, novice directress; Sister Maria Guadalupe, prioress; Sister Mary Jeremiah.
The other southern monastery in Marbury AL was represented by Sister Mary of the Sacred Heart and Sister Mary Jordan.
     Now, swinging over to the west coast, we have two Dominican monasteries. One is in Los Angeles, located under the famous "Hollywood" sign. There was one participant, Sister Mary Angela, the novice directress.
    Then, heading north, is the monastery at Menlo Park. On the right is Sister Maria Christine, our Association President, and then Sister Joseph Marie, novices directress.
Heading back toward the east coast, Farmington Hills MI is the home of our founding monastery. They sent four participants to the Assembly: Sister Mary Thomas; Sister Faustina Marie; Sister Rani, novice directress; and Sister Mary of the Sacred Heart, prioress.





The "newest" monastery in Springfield IL which moved from Elmira NY sent two nuns: Sister Anna Marie, novices directress; and Sister Miriam, prioress.












Finally, we reach the east coast and find several monasteries. Sister Mary Veronica, prioress, came from the Dominican monastery in Lancaster, PA.



We had four nuns from the monastery in Summit, NJ: Sister Mary Catharine, novices directress; Sister Mary Martin, prioress; Sister Denise Marie; and Sister Mary Magdalene, Assembly news and media person.
Going across the Hudson River we find the only contemplative monastery in Manhattan, the Dominican nuns in the Bronx, with Sister Mary of the Sacred Heart, prioress, and Sister Marie Grace.










As a finale, the Canadian Dominicans Nuns--


 in Quebec, Canada, represented by Sister Julie, prioress.







As well as the west, in Squamish, British Columbia: Sister Mary Magdalen; Sister Marie Tersidis, prioress; and the inset, Sister Mary Columba.




Thursday, September 22, 2016

Elections


 On Tuesday, September 20, the Assembly held its election for the New Council members for the next four years. Below is the new Council:

Left to right: Sr. Mary Rose (1st Councilor and Secretary, Lufkin TX); Sr. Marie Tersidis (2nd Councilor, B.C., Canada); Sr. Mary Jeremiah (3rd Councilor, Lufkin TX); Fr. Walter Wagner (Priest-Assistant, Manhattan NY); Sr. Maria Christine (President, Menlo Park CA); Sister Mary Catharine (Vice-President, Summit NJ).

On Wednesday, September 21, the Assembly members had a "field trip" to the Dominican Sisters Retreat House a little over a hour away. There they had a tour, walked in the forest, celebrated Mass, ate a picnic lunch, rested, some went swimming in the large pond, etc.



 

Monday, September 19, 2016

JOY Joy joy




Saturday evening many of the Nashville Sisters cam to recreate and personally meet the nuns. It was a wonderful experience to put name to faces and discover where people came from. In fact, one of the nun found out she was related to one of the Nashville Dominican Sisters! The President of the Nuns' Association gave the hosting community a beautiful new Marian chasuble (with matching, stole, chalice veil and burse). There are about 12 different panels beginning with St. Luke and illustrating the joyful mysteries of the Rosary. In the photo below, Mother Ann Marie, the Prioress General of the Congregation, is starting to hold it up for all the Sisters to see.

  

Today the Nuns had several sessions with Fr. John Paul Walker, OP, pastor at St. Mary Church in New Haven CT. He spoke on Joy and the New Evangelization and used stories from the Lives of the Brethren, a book about the early Dominicans.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Statutes, Directory, laws, texts, votes, ....


Today we worked very hard on numerous proposals to our Association Statutes and Directory.

Father Walter Wagner, OP, our Assistant, kept us on track and we actually finished the work proposed for the day. Tomorrow there will be another guest speaker--Fr. John Paul Walker, OP.
 See you then!

The above photograph is of the Assembly representatives with FrCésar Valero Bajo, OP, the Promoter General for the Dominican Nuns throughout the world.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The JOY of a Co-Operator Brother Vocation

The theme of the Assembly is The Joy of St. Dominic, and today the guest speaker was Brother Herman Johnson, OP of the Southern Province of St. Martin de Porres. Brother Herman lives in New Orleans LA. He is the first co-operator to be elected the Prior at the St. Anthony of Padua Priory; usually Rome required the prior to be a priest, but St. Dominic himself thought the Brothers would be good superiors. Brother Herman has taught Spanish for many years at Xavier University founded by St. Katherine Drexel.
Brother Herman shared with the nuns the history and life of a Co-operator Brother. It is the vocation for men who want the religious life but not ordination. He also revealed his deep love and admiration for our "greatest" Brother, St. Martin de Porres of Lima Peru, by giving a 13-minute presentation as if he were St. Martin himself. All the nuns were truly inspired.


A Day of Dialogue

Today was dedicated to discussing Pope Francis' Apostolic Constitution on the Contemplative Life with our General Promoter of the Dominican Nuns throughout the world, Fr. César Valero Bajo, OP.  He will be returning to Rome tomorrow. It has been a very special grace to have him with us. We were so involved that we decided to have an extra hour session.