Madonna and Child Triptych
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Somehow this picture of the Madonna and Child triptych at the back of our chapel didn’t get uploaded into the previous blog post.
Thanks to the generosity of the devotees of our Lady who frequent our chapel the triptych was restored about 15 years ago.

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Our chapel also has a copy of the Shroud of Turin which was made in 1624. You can read more about it HERE.

80th Anniversary of the Dedication of our Adoration Chapel

On September 15, 1939, feast of our Lady of Sorrows, our adoration chapel was solemnly dedicated by Most Rev. Thomas J. Walsh, Archbishop of Newark. The nuns had moved into the new monastery building after it was privately blessed on Trinity Sunday, June 4, 1939. For some reason. Archbishop Walsh did not want to consecrate the chapel and it took some persuading on the part of Mother Mary of Jesus Crucified to get him to come and solemnly dedicate the chapel. The high altar would be consecrated 5 years later as a jubilee gift in honor of the 25th anniversary of the founding of the monastery.

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The adoration chapel is unusually large for a monastery chapel. It is about the size of our parish church here in Summit, literally a stone’s throw away. The chapel seats about 350 people and the nuns’ choir seats 52 nuns although we have no idea where they would sleep at night! As we say, one of the mysteries of Rosary Shrine.

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From the time of the laying of the cornerstone in 1926 until its completion, the nuns probably thought that they would be left with a crypt chapel for ever. However, through the sacrifices of many, many people the chapel and monastery were finally completed although on a much smaller scale than first envisioned when the crypt of the chapel was built.

Although simple, the neo-Gothic chapel is quite beautiful. Light comes in from 15 stained glass windows, each dedicated to a mystery of the rosary. On the side which the nuns’ monastery is built, the lower windows are usually dark except for in the morning when lights are turned on behind the windows. These windows are dedicated to various saints that have particular importance to the nuns. The last window is dedicated to our Lady of the Rosary. Bl. Imelda is there because she was the patroness of our foundress, Mother Mary Imelda, OP. St. Ann is also there because it was on her feast day in 1938 that the community received the green light to resume building the monastery. The mystical marriage of St. Catherine and St. Dominic are the remaining 2 windows.

The cocktail lounge of the original Waldorf Astoria

The cocktail lounge of the original Waldorf Astoria

The original baldacchino was made of oak and was carved with adoring angels with 4 angels facing the 4 corners of the earth. It was seated on 4 marble columns which came from the cocktail lounge of the original Waldorf Astoria! The swinging doors in the back of the chapel were also from the Waldorf Astoria.

Sadly, this beautiful baldacchino was replaced in the late 1950’s with the one currently over the main altar. The grilles to the left and right of the main altar were also closed up at that time, resulting in a more beautiful nuns’ choir but affected the acoustics in the main chapel. As a whole the chapel has remained pretty much as it was when it was built in 1939. Just recently, we were offered a generous gift of a new rug for the sanctuary. We were told that the one we have goes back to the 1930’s.

The December, 1939 issue of the Rosary Pilgrim told readers (and we are most grateful that it did) that the 8 Gothic chandlers are made of alabaster glass from Turkey.

At the back of the chapel is a triptych of our Lady with the Child Jesus that is greatly loved by the people who come to our chapel. It was designed by Renwick, the architect of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York and executed by Emilio Angela.

The nuns’ choir stalls are beautifully carved. The artist who carved them thought that they would be seen by the people who come to the chapel. Instead, they remain a hidden offering to God. They certainly weren’t made for comfort! Just recently, one of the nuns noticed the carving on the wall of each side of the doors going into our choir, something most nuns had never noticed before. But more on that later!

The nuns’ choir shortly after they moved into the new monastery. Notice the 2 postulants at the novitiate window. Now, there are organ pipes on that back wall. Some of the woodwork was removed but the angels still hover over us as we chant the Divine Office. The lights, which gave little light, were removed in the 90’s and replaced with recessed ceiling lights and lights above the choir stalls. The choir stalls were made for tiny French Canadian nuns!

The nuns’ choir shortly after they moved into the new monastery. Notice the 2 postulants at the novitiate window. Now, there are organ pipes on that back wall. Some of the woodwork was removed but the angels still hover over us as we chant the Divine Office. The lights, which gave little light, were removed in the 90’s and replaced with recessed ceiling lights and lights above the choir stalls. The choir stalls were made for tiny French Canadian nuns!

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At the center of our chapel is the Blessed Sacrament solemnly enthroned so that both the Nuns in the cloister and the people in the chapel can adore Jesus. Jesus is literally the center of the monastery and of course, the center and reason for our life here at the monastery. We give thanks and praise for the privilege of joining with the angels who fill our chapel in praising God. We thank Him for the gift to be able to adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and to receive Him each day in Holy Communion. We are honored to be Mary’s Guard of Honor, contemplating Jesus through the eyes of Mary in the prayer of the Rosary. We are truly humbled to be blessed with such a beautiful chapel where anyone can come and be with the Lord in silence and prayer. The gift of our chapel is our great gift in return to all who come here.

A New Novice for Our Lady's Birthday!

In the world you were known as Lauren Rene Potter….

In the Order you will be known as:

Sister Maria Rose of the Crown of Thorns

 
 
 
Brick by Brick

Chapel Stair repair.

If you visited the monastery lately and pulled into the driveway, you have probably wondered if we were building again! The new wing is happily all finished but now we are giving attention to the urgent repairs that were put on hold until the building was finished. First on the critical list was the rebuilding of the chapel stairs. If you come to our chapel you know how badly they were in need of repair.

JR Prisco sent over masons who, in the summer’s heat, jack hammered the stairs to the “foundations”. We all breathed a sigh of relief to be told that all was tight and dry as there had been concern of leaky pipes. Now, the stairs are rebuilt and enhanced by side “walls” with planters. Not only will these enhance the beauty of the monastery but they will prevent any visitors (or nuns) from puncturing their car tires on the corner of the bottom step. Obviously, we’ve had experience!

Sr. Judith Miryam gives Jay a piece of her famous carrot cake. It’s his favorite!

Sr. Judith Miryam gives Jay a piece of her famous carrot cake. It’s his favorite!

While this was going on, our faithful friend, Frank Korfmann sent over Jay to renovate the old sewing room area and temporary gift shop in the basement of the old building. Frank and Jay renovated our kitchen and refectory 10 years ago. Now we have a second hall for receptions which should give everyone a little more elbow room. We’ve named the new room St. Albert the Great Hall. Chairs and tables arrived this week in time for the festivities for our centennial celebration on October 2nd.

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Over the last few months sisters have been surprised by puddles of water on their cell (bedroom) floors. At first we thought it was an overflow of rain spilling over from the windowsills but in fact it was coming from above the lintels of the windows. So, one day JR Prisco dropped off (if you can say that) a large boom in the driveway so that Adrian could go up and repair the crumbling bricks. After all, the monastery is 80 years old. In fact, the basement area is almost 100 years old! The damage was more extensive than originally thought but providentially we have a lot of extra brick from the new wing that can be used. The repair brought with it a lot of fine dust which managed to come in even with the windows closed. However, it is a small price to pay to have our monastery all tight as a bug in a rug for the coming winter.

Meanwhile, this morning, workmen are replacing the fans in the chapel and choir.

As rewarding as it is to complete these repair projects what we are all really excited about is the Vestition Ceremony for Sr. Lauren on Sunday, September 8th, Our Lady’s Birthday. Sister will receive the longed-for Dominican habit and a new name. At this point your guess is as good as ours so if you’d like to give a guess put it in the comments. If you guessed correctly, you’ll receive a rosary made by Sister-What-Will-Her-Name be herself!

One hundred years of photos

October 2, 2019 our monastery will be celebrating the milestone of the 100th anniversary of the founding of our monastery by Mother Mary Imelda, OP and 13 nuns from the Monastery of the Perpetual Rosary in Union City, NJ. Much has happened in these last 100 years….and we have the pictures to prove it!

Twenty-five years ago on the occasion of our 75th anniversary, Sr. Mary Catharine and Sr. Judith Miryam, who were then in the novitiate, went through shoe boxes of photos to create a display in St. Dominic’s Hall for the anniversary celebration. Since then, the photos have been cataloged and put in albums thanks to the hard work of Sr. Maria Agnes. More recently, we’ve been digitizing them which will not only preserve them (we hope!) but also gives us the advantage of being able to zoom in on them and see things we never saw before!

Monastery Picnic. Mother Mary (wearing sun hat) with choir nuns and lay sisters.

Monastery Picnic. Mother Mary (wearing sun hat) with choir nuns and lay sisters.

We have posted a gallery on our History page for your enjoyment. There are few photos from the early days in the temporary monastery at 63 New England Avenue and none of the chapel in that house. 63 New England Ave remains part of the monastery property although the house is long gone.

We hope you will enjoy these photos. Please scroll down the page to find the gallery.

St. Dominic's Day

We had a joyous celebration on our Founder’s feast day: St. Dominic’s Day. Here’s some pictures of the fun!

Making donuts the day before for a delicious breakfast treat.

Feast day activities!