On Monday we had the privilege of meeting Reverend Monsignor Robert S. Meyer, the new pastor for St. Teresa of Avila parish, Summit. Monsignor Meyer made it a point to put a visit with us at the top of his agenda, and we are so glad he did! We got to know each other over cookies and cocoa. Msgr. Meyer, or Father Bob, is not only a civil lawyer but a canon lawyer as well. We told him we'd be coming to him with all of our canon law questions! The list of his academic and pastoral accomplishments is impressive, and we're grateful to Cardinal Tobin for sending such a dedicated priest to serve at St. Teresa's. Like Pope Francis, Msgr. Meyer flipped the table on us and asked us to pray for him at the end of the visit when usually the priest prays over us! Sr. Mary Martin led a prayer asking God to bless and prosper Msgr. Meyer's work at the parish, and afterwards Msgr. gave us his blessing.
Yesterday was the 100th anniversary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima. In honor of this anniversary the Archdiocese of Newark's Office of Evangelization held an Evening of Prayer at our monastery. Where better to celebrate the Lady of the Rosary than at Our Lady of the Rosary monastery?
The evening consisted of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, a talk on the Miracle of the Sun and the message of Our Lady of Fatima, meditative praying of the rosary with periods of silence, and finally a candlelit procession to St. Teresa of Avila Church with the statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Afterwards the participants were invited to a reception at the Church and to Compline (Night Prayer) at the monastery.
We were so happy to see so many people come to honor Our Lady and pray her rosary; it was almost standing room only! There might have been a little disagreement in the sanctuary about "how" to pray the rosary (the Dominican rosary is prayed a little differently) but all in good fun.
At the conclusion of the evening some of the sisters headed up to the roof to take pictures of the candlelight procession back to St. Teresa's. The participants sang the Ave Maria as they processed.
A big thank you to the Archdiocese of Newark for asking us to host this event!
If ever there were a Green Thumb Sr. Joseph Maria is it! We joke that she could plant a dead stick and have it growing in no time. This year, although not the best year for our gardens, sister brought in heaps of vegetables and herbs for our kitchen: rosemary, string beans, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, okra, squash, cucumbers, and more!
This past Saturday was our monastery's patronal feast: Our Lady of the Rosary. In the morning we enjoyed snacks while Sr. Mary Catharine gave us a demonstration of the new cash register for our new (and temporary) gift shop. This is a big upgrade and also a complicated one, at least as we learn how to use it! Sr. Mary Jacinta came to the monastery with a lot of experience with cash registers, so she helped sister and us figure things out as the demonstration went along.
In the afternoon we had a virtual visit with Sr. Mary Magdalene who is at Our Lady of Peace Monastery in Canada helping them out for three months. Sister shared with us some of her adventures as well as her day to day life there while we enjoyed sorbet and cookies. It was so good to 'visit' with sister!
In the evening it was time to sing, twice! Sr. Maria Johanna celebrated her birthday the day before, but as we were on a silent Triduum we were unable to sing to her on the actual day. Sr. Mary Jacinta celebrates her feast day on Our Lady of the Rosary, so we had a round of singing for her as well! And yes, we passed the chocolate box twice!
Some of the sisters have become serious puzzle-masters as of late. They've found a way to continue working on the puzzle even when not at the actual puzzle table by bringing sections of pieces over in reused yogurt containers.
That evening was also Sr. Mary Ana's violin debut as she preformed for the community! Sister has been taking lessons and is doing great. Actually, all of our novitiate sisters are in the process of learning new instruments, so hopefully there will be more debuts soon!
We capped off the evening with Sr. Mary Martin's reading of the poem The Battle of Lepanto. It was the first time some of our sisters had ever heard it.
Last summer we received a donation of milk which we froze as it was more than we could use at once. Defrosted frozen milk isn't exactly something you want to pour into a glass so Sr. Mary Catharine went to trusty Google and researched what to do with extra milk! Thus she was introduced to the world of cheese making! A little lemon juice or vinegar added to heated up milk and voila! you have cheese!
Of course it didn't stop there! Then she found out about 30 minute mozzarella. And then she began reading up on making cheese and thanks to the cheese making school of YouTube, particularly Gavin Webber, the self-proclaimed cheese nerd who makes cheese making look not only possible but fun, Sr. Mary Catharine was on her way to all sorts of new cheeses!
There are a few cheeses you can make without a cheese press or an aging "cave". Cheese presses are quite pricey. They aren't exactly the thing most people are lining outside the store to buy! So, after Sr. Mary Catharine got beyond the gallon jug press she began researching the possibility of either making one (nope!) or finding someone who made one that would be affordable. Through Ebay Sister met Sherry and Frank who generously gave us the gift of one of their cheese presses!
So, Thursday afternoon Sr. Mary Catharine made a Queso Fresco with chives from our garden to serve on our patronal feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary. We are so grateful to Sherry and Frank for such kindness to our community and we ask God, through our Lady's intercession to bless them for such goodness! And if you are looking for a cheese press buy one from them!
Who knows what cheese Sr. Mary Catharine will be making next! She has a wheel of Bel Paese in the fridge that has been aging for 4 weeks and we have to wait yet another week to try it. Perhaps we'll need to start thinking about getting a cow!
The Mary Higgins Clark Brunch is fast approaching; have you reserved your seat yet?
The Brunch is on October 24th at 10:30am at the Grand Summit Hotel. Over the past month we've been busy stuffing envelopes for invitations to the event, but you don't need to have received a paper invitation to attend! Everyone is invited, just click the link above or go to summitdominicans.org/brunch to purchase a ticket.