Sr. Mary Catharine's Silver Jubilee

This past Saturday we had the joy of celebrating Sr. Mary Catharine’s Silver Jubilee of Profession. A Silver Jubilee is the 25th anniversary of a sister’s First Profession; Sr. Mary Catharine professed her First Vows on Nov. 21, 1993. Even though the actual anniversary of Sister’s profession is not for another week or so, Jubilees aren’t limited to the actual day but often are celebrated as jubilee years. While Saturday’s celebration consisted of a public Mass and reception for Sister’s family and friends, on Sister’s actual anniversary the community will celebrate.

Expecting a larger crowd than St. Dominic’s hall has held before, a new table arrangement was tried; placing the food tables outside the room left plenty of space for more tables. In the days leading up to the celebration, the monastery humming with activity. There was food to make, tables to decorate and set, flowers to arrange, music to practice, and, for one very busy Jubilarian, cheese to make, altar linens to sew and embroider, etc.!

Sr. Mary Catharine invited Archbishop Hebda who, for a brief while, was Co-adjutor for our diocese, and we were grateful that he was able to come. The Mass was absolutely beautiful. Sr. Mary Catharine chanted the first reading, Sr. Mary Martin read the second, and our chaplain Fr. Gregory Salomone chanted the Gospel. Fr. Roger Landry gave a wonderful homily interspersed with quotations from different articles that Sister had written over the years about her vocation. Fr. Peter Stravinskas acted as Master of Ceremonies, flawlessly directing the celebrants. We are grateful that Fr. Stravinskas is always happy to perform this role. Con-celebrating were Fr. Jack Carmichael, Fr. John Vidmar, OP, Fr. Benedict Croell, OP, Fr. David Adiletta, OP, Fr. Patrick Seo, Fr. Douglas Milewski, and Fr. Tom Barry. Richard Sofie and Luis served the Mass.

After the Mass and obligatory pictures in the chapel, the guests headed down to St. Dominic’s hall for refreshments. As a privilege for her Silver Jubilee, Sr. Mary Catharine was given permission to leaven enclosure to mingle with her guests. Sr. Judith Miryam roamed with the camera, capturing the event.

It was an exciting and joyful day as we gave thanks for the gift of Sr. Mary Catharine’s yes” to her vocation these past 25 years as well as for Our Lord’s faithfulness to Sister, upholding her with His grace and enabling her to persevere in her vocation.

Phone Number Update
 
Old-Phone.jpg
 

The Monastery phone number (908-273-1228) is out of use. 
It has been "compromised by hijackers."

If you need to call the Monastery, please use the second number of 908-273-0861.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

Thank you!

 

Chapel Closed Sun-Tues

Our chapel will be closed to public access from

noon on Sunday up until Tuesday at 6 a.m.

This is to facilitate the paving of the new parking lot and drive. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and look forward to seeing you all back on Tuesday!

Lay Fraternity of St. Dominic Profession Mass

While most people know that the Order of Preachers (Dominican Order) is made up of Friars, and many people know that it is also made up of Nuns, few people are aware that there is a third component that makes up the Order: the members of the Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic (also known as the Dominican Laity). For awhile in time they were referred to as the “Third Order,” but this is terminology that was erroneously adopted from our Franciscan cousins. While the Franciscans can speak of having a First Order (the friars), a Second Order (the cloistered nuns), and a Third Order (the laity), the Dominicans really only have one Order which is comprised of the three groups with the Master of the Order (a friar) at the head (the third group also including the Priestly Fraternities of St. Dominic). The Dominican Family is even larger, encompassing also the many congregations of Dominican sisters as well as the Dominican Youth Movement and while these are not under the Master they do collaborate with the Order and share in our Dominican spirituality.

So what exactly is a Lay Dominican? The website for the Lay Fraternities describes it this way:

“Members of the Fraternities of St. Dominic are lay men and women who are fully incorporated members of the Order of Preachers and live out their Dominican vocation in the world. Lay Dominicans, who in the past have been called Third Order or Dominican Tertiaries, have existed almost as long as the Dominican Order itself. The Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic was founded with their own rule in 1285 and was officially recognized by the Church on the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas in 1286.

Lay Dominicans “are accordingly distinguished both by their own spirituality and by their service to God and neighbor in the Church. As members of the Order, they participate in its apostolic mission through prayer, study and preaching according to the state proper to the laity.” (The Rule of the Lay Fraternity #4).

Lay Dominicans come from every background, joining the Dominican charism to their state of life in the world. In this unique Dominican way, they live out their special vocation “to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God’s will.” (Lumen Gentium 31)”

Our monastery is blessed to have a chapter of the Dominican Laity, the Holy Rosary Chapter, that calls our monastery home. While the members do not live here, they meet monthly and make use of our chapel for their profession ceremonies and prayer. On Sunday, November 4th the Holy Rosary Chapter had their Profession Mass, and the nuns were privileged to attend. During Mass two members made their Final Profession, five made their Temporary Profession, and after Mass four were clothed and began their novitiate. (Unfortunately we didn’t get a picture of the clothing ceremony!)

The Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic are founded on Four Pillars: Prayer, Community, Study, and Apostolate. They follow the Rule of St. Augustine, the same Rule as the Friars and Nuns, as well as the Rule of the Lay Fraternities of Saint Dominic (just like the Friars and Nuns each have their own Constitutions).

The obligations of the friars, nuns, and laity are different for each group, according to their state in life. The obligations of the Laity are:

1) Daily praying of Lauds and Vespers
2) Daily 5 decades of the rosary
3) Daily Our Father, Hail Mary, and Eternal Rest for all Dominicans
4) Daily 15 minutes of mental prayer or Lectio Divina (prayerful reading of the Sacred Scriptures)
5) Daily Mass and communion is recommended
6) Confession at least monthly
7) Attendance at the monthly Chapter meeting
8) Yearly participation at 3 Masses for Dominicans
9) Fasting on the vigils of St. Dominic, St. Catherine of Siena, and Our Lady of the Rosary if possible.

The St. Thomas Aquinas Chapter has prepared this wonderful booklet for people interested in becoming Lay Dominicans. If you think you might be interested in finding out more about your local chapter, you can find a list of Chapters and their contact information HERE.

For more information about the Holy Rosary Chapter at our monastery, you can contact Mr. Richard Sofie, OP at frognolia@comcast.net .

Congratulations to Sharon and Gerry on their Final Profession, as well as those who made Temporary Profession and were clothed with the habit (scapular) of the Order!!

All Saints' & Prioress's Feast Day

This year we celebrated the feast day of our prioress, Sr. Mary Martin, on All Saints’ because her actual feast day, St. Martin de Porres, fell on a Saturday (our laundry/cleaning/etc. day). The decorations were a bit creative this year: lots of pumpkins! Having opened the celebration the night before, we celebrated on Thursday with a ‘10 & 4’ day. At 10am the bell rings for all the sisters to gather in the community for snacks, recreation, and sometimes games.

This year Sr. Denise Marie came up with a cup game where two sisters raced to re-stack their cups. Dinner and Supper were talking meals in the community room and there was ice cream and a wonderful skit and song by the novitiate at 4. The skit was the story of St. Juan Diego and the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe. They ended with a hymn in 3-part harmony accompanied by Sr. Lucia Marie on the guitar. Unfortunately our camera battery died at the very beginning of the skit!

In the evening we had our traditional bingo game. Our postulant, Sr. Lauren, won ended the day with the most prizes: a beautiful pen from Sr. Mary Magdalene’s St Joseph Workshop for winning the cup game, a stuffed teddy bear for winning the door prize, a lovely gold cross necklace for winning at bingo…plus the beautiful journals that were set out for each sister!

Do nuns celebrate Halloween?

Of course! Just like other big feasts, the Solemnity of All Saints begins the evening before with Vespers. That’s in fact where Halloween get’s its name: All Hallows Eve. Halloween is a Catholic holiday. It does not have origins in paganism, the occult, or Satanism—a common misconception with no basis in historical fact. However, it has been commercialized much in the same way that Christmas and Easter have been. The misappropriation of a Catholic holiday by secular society is no reason to shun it; however, like with Christmas and Easter we should make sure that we are celebrating in a Catholic way.

How important is it to celebrate All Saints? Important enough that it is a Holy Day of Obligation in America. Halloween is also connected with the day following All Saints, that is All Souls Day. Taken together these three days are sometimes called the “Days of the Dead” and are a special time for the Church Militant (that’s those of us who haven’t died yet) to honor and celebrate the Church Triumphant (those in heaven) and pray for the Church Suffering (those in the process of purification in purgatory).

It is a time of increased awareness of the communion of saints as well as the reality of heaven and hell, angels and demons, the saints and the damned. A common Halloween decoration, the skeleton, is a perfect reminder of our mortality and the importance of the four last things. It isn’t morbid or sad, because Christ’s resurrection from the dead has taken the sting out of death; we look forward in hope to the future resurrection of our bodies.

Where else will you see skeletons used as decorations? In the Sedlec Ossuary beneath the Church of All Saints, an old Cistercian monastery as well as the Capuchin crypts of Santa Maria della Concezione. Our skeleton decorations may be fake, but they still serve their purpose as a reminder of our mortality while at the same time strengthening our hope in the future resurrection of our bodies.

It is the custom in our monastery to have a Halloween (or All Saints, if you prefer) party at evening recreation on the vigil of All Saints. This used to be held like our other festivities in the Community Room, but one Halloween some years ago the power was out due to a freak snowstorm and the party was moved to the refectory as it was warmer and easier to light with candles. It created such a cozy atmosphere that we decided to hold the party there every year.

Most years at least some of the sisters dress up as Saints or other creative characters, and the novitiate has been turning out not only some fantastic costumes but some expertly carved pumpkins as well! The pumpkins this year were all home-grown in Sr. Mary Ana’s pumpkin patch. There were enough for even some professed sisters to get in on the pumpkin carving. The carvings: Sr. Lauren did the dog with a torch, Sr. Joseph Maria did the mouse that went with Sr. Maria Johanna’s amazing St. Martin de Porres, Sr. Mary Ana did the Eucharist in the monastrance, and Sr. Lucia Marie did a dominican nun. Sr. Mary Magdalene and Sr. Mary Veronica worked together on a carved image of the monastery with its new wing!

We didn’t have quite as many Saints visiting our party this year, but there was no lack of creativity! Sr. Lucia Marie came as a Christian rapper, Sr. Lauren came as a ‘Summit Postulant’ stained glass window, Sr. Mary Ana came as Moses (and not just any Moses, but Moses from the Transfiguration!), Sr. Maria Johanna continued her theme of apparitions of the Blessed Mother by coming as Our Lady of Guadalupe, Sr. Joseph Maria came as St. Juan Diego, and Sr. Mary Magdalene came as the Dominican St. Louis Bertrand.

Not only was this Halloween, it was also the opening of the celebration of our prioress’s feast day! Sr. Mary Martin’s actual feast day falls on Saturday, so it was moved to Thursday, coinciding with All Saints’ Day. As we usually do to open this celebration, we greeted sister with a song. Then it was time to enjoy the delicious treats and recreate! This year Sr. Mary Catharine had made sour-cream glazed donuts and caramels, while Sr. Lauren created pumpkin frosted snicker-doodle cookies.