Dedication and Open House of the New Wing

On January 20th of 2018 Cardinal Tobin presided at the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of our monastery’s new wing. This past Saturday, May 18th, Cardinal Tobin was back for the Dedication and Open House of the new wing. At the end of Mass Cardinal Tobin conferred the Apostolic Blessing with the plenary indulgence granted for this occasion by Pope Francis. Roughly 300 people attended the event with over a dozen priests concelebrating. After the Mass our prioress Sr. Mary Martin led Cardinal Tobin through the new wing for its’ blessing. Following this we invited all attendees to tour the wing. Sisters were stationed throughout to guide, explain, and answer questions.

One comment that came as a surprise was in regards to the picture of the young man hanging in our new exercise room. “Sisters, why do you have a hunk hanging on the wall?!” ….it is Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, a fellow Dominican! In fact, the exercise room is named after him.

At the end of the tour guests were invited into our backyard for refreshments and to see the grounds. As a cloistered monastery, the majority of the new wing and our backyard fall within Papal Enclosure, meaning that this area is reserved for the nuns and is off-limits except in very specific cases (such as maintenance of the facility and grounds). Many people who have been coming to the monastery for decades were so happy to be able to explore our grounds. The predominating theme of the comments: “We had no idea this was back here!”

Thank you to everyone who made this day such a splendid success and who made this new wing a reality! We couldn’t have done it without you! A special thank you to the “Knights of Rosary Shrine” who took charge of beautifying the yard for this event. This deserves a blog post of its own, so stay tuned!

Photo credit for above slideshow: Jeffrey Bruno with Aleteia

A Visit with "Our NEW Seminarians"

Last Friday “our seminarians” came by to visit and pray with us. This is mostly a new “batch” of seminarians, as the majority of “our seminarians” from the past few years have been ordained priests. Don’t worry, we still pray for our seminarians after they’ve been ordained! The seminarians shared with us a little about them and their vocation before having an opportunity to speak with ‘their’ nun. After our parlor visit we invited our seminarians to join us for rosary and Vespers.

Rosary Sunday

On Sunday we held our May Rosary Pilgrimage with guest preacher Fr. Timothy Danaher, O.P. Father is a Dominican friar of the St Joseph (Eastern) Province and currently serves as Parochial Vicar at St. Patrick’s parish in Philadelphia and as a volunteer chaplain at two hospitals in that area. After the Dominican rosary led by Vinny, Fr. Danaher gave a reflection on Mary and her role as mother in our lives.

The May Pilgrimage also always includes the crowning of Our Lady. This year Sr. Mary Magdalene’s niece, Isabella, flew in all the way from Kansas City, along with Sister’s mother, to crown Our Lady. She did a beautiful job!

After the Pilgrimage (which also included Benediction) most of our guests headed downstairs for refreshments while others browsed the gift shoppe or stopped by the new St. Thomas Aquinas parlor to say hello to the nuns.

If you missed this month's Pilgrimage, you will get another chance in October with another great guest preacher and the blessing of the roses! The Rosary Pilgrimages are (almost) always the first Sunday of May and October, mark your calendar so you don’t miss the next one!

Welcome, Sr. Victoria!

Yesterday morning, on Divine Mercy Sunday, Victoria entered the enclosure and began her postulancy. The entrance ceremony is short and sweet; it begins with the Prioress welcoming the new postulant at the enclosure door in the sanctuary. She leads her into the chapter hall and they join the community in processing to choir while chanting Psalm 122.

After the new postulant has been shown to her choir stall, the Novice Mistress reads from Ephesians.

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullnes of God.

Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations,
for ever and ever. Amen”
Ephesians 3:14-21

The ceremony ends with the chanting of the Dominican Salve Regina. After the ceremony the new postulant is greeted informally in the community room. It is customary for the new sister’s veil to fall off at least once, and Sr. Victoria was no exception! It takes awhile to adjust to wearing a veil. Sometimes the community goes to the parlor after the ceremony to greet the new sister’s family and friends, but we had already had a lovely parlor visit with Sr. Victoria’s family the evening before. Sister’s parents, one of her sisters, brother, aunt and uncle traveled with her from their home in New Orleans, Louisiana. Thanks to our new wing we had enough room for everyone to stay with us. They were among the first to use the new guest quarters.

Yesterday was beautiful so after supper dishes the novitiate went outside for pictures.


Today is two months since we picked up our newest addition to the monastery: our golden retriever puppy, Siena! The pictures below were taken on February 25th, March 25th, and April 24th. She’s growing so fast! Pretty soon she’ll be too big for Sr. Mary Veronica to pick up!