Welcome, Sr. Lauren!

There was an extra special gift this year for Our Blessed Mother's birthday...a new postulant!

Lauren Potter entered the enclosure to begin her year of postulancy shortly before Vespers. Sr. Lauren is originally from South Africa, but was living and working in Australia when she began discerning a Dominican contemplative vocation.

Unfortunately, neither South Africa nor Australia currently have a monastery of Dominican Nuns! While there had been a Dominican monastery in Senekal, South Africa for 28 years, it relocated in 2013 to Zambia due to a lack of vocations. The Dominicans have been slowly increasing their presence in Australia, and while there are now both Friars and Sisters, a monastery of Nuns has not yet been possible.

Sr. Lauren has entered at an exciting time for contemplative nuns as we begin to implement the changes mandated by the new instruction Cor Orans. One of the areas of change is in the initial formation of nuns, and one of these changes is the length of postulancy. So instead of our usual 9 months, postulancy will now be a full 12 months.

Below is a slideshow from Sister's entrance.



Visit with Archbishop Cardone

Last week we had the joy of welcoming Archbishop Christopher Cardone, OP for a visit. Archbishop Cardone is a good friend of our community, and is Archbishop of Honiara in the Solomon Islands where he's been a missionary for the past thirty years. It is such a blessing to hear him speak of the wonderful things happening in the Islands, of the many young people taking an active part in their local churches, the native vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and the joy the people take in their faith. Amidst all the scandals rocking the Church in America, it is refreshing to hear of how the faith is thriving in the Solomon Islands. 

While he was here, Archbishop Cardone blessed the 'corner'stone for our new wing (which Sr. Mary Magdalene helped the masons install a few days later). Of course, we had to give him a tour of the new wing as well! 

Recreation in the Gift Shop!

One day last week a note went  up on the white board inviting the community to the gift shop at evening recreation for "free browsing" and refreshments. We spent an enjoyable time looking through the different books we sell as well as all the other wonderful items. Sr. Lucia Marie and Sr. Mary Ana found the chapel veils, while Sr. Mary Martin looked for her book (In This Sign), Sr. Joseph Maria found a new book for her spiritual reading, Sr. Judith Miryam paged through a children's book on George Washington, Sr. Denise Marie checked out the wide array of mugs, and Sr. Mary Catharine showed us (when asked) her favorite item that we sell. We are currently selling homemade pickles as well as zucchini bread! Yum!

Construction has been moving along despite the massive amount of rain we've had this summer. The back portion is almost entirely bricked, the roof is almost finished, and the inside is a labyrinth of wall framing, coils, wires, ducts, etc.

Lending a Hand

For weeks we've been watching the masons brick the (back) exterior of our new wing. Some of the sisters asked the project manager if we could try our hand at it, and he said yes! So last Thursday, we were given an opportunity to each lay a brick! At 10 am all the sisters interested and able (they had to climb a ladder up onto the "Fraco" scaffolding!) assembled at the construction site for a quick class in the art of brick laying. Adrien, the mason foreman, showed the sisters how to lay the mortar and place the brick. One by one the sisters took turns laying their bricks. It was a wonderful opportunity to actually 'help' build the new wing.  You can find more pictures and videos of the sisters laying their bricks on our Centennial Campaign Facebook page.

Construction on the wing is a little behind because of the incredibly rainy weather we've had, but we are still excited with the progress! A good portion of the "slate" roof has been constructed and they are getting close to finishing the bricking of the back half of the building. Inside most of the rooms have been framed and duct work, wires, plumbing, and who knows what else is sprawling all over the interior. The elevator has arrived, and is currently sitting in pieces in the new exercise room until it is time to install it. 

Solemnity of Our Holy Father Dominic

The Solemnity of Our Holy Father Dominic fell on Wednesday this year. The morning started out with an unexpected treat! Fr. John Vidmar, OP, a Dominican priest who teaches at Providence College and a good friend of our community, happened to be passing through and so celebrated Mass for us and preached a wonderful homily on St Dominic.

St. Dominic's Day is always what we call a 10 & 4 day. It is a recreation or party day where the community gathers in the community room during what is usually our work hours to enjoy each others company and some delicious snacks. At 10am the kitchen sisters created a beautiful spread of cheese & crackers, mangoes, strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, and a delicious "whatever's in the fridge" punch! Sabina stationed herself, as usual, underneath the snack table, the better to quickly get any morsel that might fall.

This year the morning was spent playing games. Our usual recreation period is too short to finish most games, so these festive days are a wonderful opportunity to be able not only to play but to finish a game! One group of sisters played Kings in the Corner, while a second group played Settlers of Catan and a third played a new community favorite, Dominion. A special thanks to the family of Sr. Lucia Marie who gifted both Settlers of Catan and Dominion to the community! 

At a quarter to twelve we returned to Choir to sing God's praises and thank Him for the gift of our Holy Founder without whom we wouldn't be living the Dominican life we treasure! For dinner we were dispensed from silence and gathered in the Community Room for the rare treat of conversation during our meals. Normally our meals our eaten in the refectory in silence while listening to taped lectures at noon and reading by one of the sisters at the evening meal. This year one of our benefactors, Billy, generously provided a delicious Italian dinner and Sr. Judith Miryam surprised us with a beautiful homemade Tres Leches cake for dessert!

At 3pm we gathered again in Choir for the Office of Readings and None. During the Office of Readings an excerpt from St. Dominic's Nine Ways of Prayer was read. Have you ever heard of the Nine Ways of Prayer? You can read all about it over at the website of our Central Province Dominican Friars!

After our period of meditation we again gathered in the community room for the "4" part of a 10 & 4 day: Ice cream and cookies! Thanks to another generous benefactor we enjoyed the best ice cream there is: Summit's own Magic Fountain

Where would we be without our generous benefactors? A kind lady had called recently offering to provide us with lunch...so we were gifted sandwiches for supper for St. Dominic's!  (Supper is our lighter meal...much more like lunch.)

We ended the day the best way you can...singing Compline in choir, ending as we do every night with singing the Salve Regina to Our Blessed Mother and the O Lumen to our Holy Father Dominic. 

Professed Feast Day

This year the Professed Feast Day, St. Mary Magdalene, fell on a Sunday. So we held our community celebration on the following Thursday. Traditionally on St. Mary Magdalene the novitiate takes over the kitchen and provides the meals and snacks for the day. This year the novitiate really out did themselves! The celebration officially begins at 10am, when the bell rings and the community assembles in the Community Room for the '10' part of '10 & 4.' This year the novitiate not only served delicious snacks consisting of chips and dip, they had created a bit of entertainment as well—a homemade Piñata!

For dinner we had a 'talking meal' in the community room and enjoyed delicious tacos cooked up by the novitiate with homemade cream cheese flan for dessert. Yum! At 4pm, we gathered again for the '4' part of the '10 & 4' day. This time the novitiate had made chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla smoothies to enjoy alongside some fresh fruit and ice cream. While the professed recreated in the community room the novitiate was busy in the kitchen making quesadillas for supper!

In the evening everyone pulled out their Bingo cards. We've gone through a number of cards through the years, so some sisters played two! We use a variety of objects to mark the cards including buttons and...m&ms?! (Well, it was a candy day and one sister found herself lacking the usual buttons or cardboard dots!) Sr. Maureen, Sr. Lucia Marie, and Sr. Mary Catharine each won a round.