Visit from the South!

Earlier this week we enjoyed a visit from three friars from the Southern Dominican Province (St. Martin de Porres): Brother Herman Johnson, O.P., Fr. Jeffery Ott, O.P. and Fr. Peter Damian Marie Harris, O.P. Br. Herman was a guest speaker at the General Assembly last fall and spoke about the cooperator brothers (these friars are perpetual 'brothers', they never receive holy orders but have a specific vocation and place in the Order). Our Sr. Mary Catharine, who attended the assembly, invited Brother Herman to stop by since we are just a short train ride from New York City. Happily he took her up on the invitation...and  brought two friars with him!

 Br. Herman served as president of the Religious Brothers Conference for 4 years and is currently a professor at Xavier University. Fr. Jeffery Ott is pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes in Atlanta, Georgia. He's also Promoter of Social Justice and Peace for the Southern Dominican Province. Fr. Peter Damian Harris is parochial vicar at St. Dominic's Parish in New Orleans, Louisiana.

We had a joyful time visiting with the brothers and hope it won't be the last time.



Gone Fishing

You may remember that we built a goldfish pond/water garden 3 years ago in our back garden area with gifts from Sr. Maria Teresa's Solemn Profession.

The handful of goldfish have turned into dozens and it was time to reduce the fish load a little bit. It is harder than you'd think to catch fish (minus fishing pole!) and sisters would take a turn with the net whenever they were out there.

We had an aspirant recently who was adept at the skill of fish catching and caught one on her first try! This lucky fish went home with her as a gift for one of her siblings. But while the fish temporarily resided in the novitiate, the novices got attached to the little fellow and were sad to see him go. Luckily for them they have an understanding novice mistress who said they could keep another one as a novitiate pet if they could catch it.

Try as they might no fish ended up in that net! The fish were getting smart and staying towards the bottom. Even the professed were taking a turn and trying to catch them a fish. Finally Sr. Mary Magdalene succeeded! They've named their new friend Carmel since it was the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (or would have been if it wasn't a Sunday). Absent a proper fish tank, the sisters found the largest clear flower vase...which makes a decent fish bowl! (The fish is about 2.5 to 3 inches long, to give you an idea of how big this vase is.)

Carmel's new home is just a little bit smaller than her old home but she has a new lease on life since her fate, if the novitiate hadn't taken her in, would have been to return to the potency of matter. 

Exciting news!

We have exciting news! Our novice Sr. Maria Johanna has been accepted for First Profession. She will be making her First Profession (also called Temporary Vows) on August 8th at 10:30. It seems like only yesterday that she entered the monastery. It's now been almost 2 years since she was clothed in the habit and began her novitiate. 

Please join us in praying for her as she prepares for this great event!

Independence Day

We may be cloistered, but we are still American (...well..most of us!) and so we celebrate Independence Day along with the rest of America. We are dispensed from silence and work in the morning and afternoon and have a cook out/picnic for dinner and supper. It is often the case that the 4th of July is a little too hot and humid for our traditional picnic on the cloister...but not this year! We had wonderful weather which not only permitted the picnic, but was perfect for a croquet match before dinner. 

Recreation in the evening consisted of patriotic songs and ended with the national anthem as our two youngest held the American flag. After Compline some of the younger sisters headed for the roof to watch Summit's firework display.

Novitiate Field Trip

Earlier this week the novitiate went on a 'field trip' of sorts for their Dominican History class. Sr. Maria Agnes, our archivist, gave the sisters a tour of our archives. Sr. Mary Veronica was also invited since she missed the last tour in 2010. So much history of our house is packed into this little area! There are binders full of calligraphy by the sisters, old disciplines, Pope Pius XII's zucchetto, three nails that are the exact replicas of the ones used to hang our Lord on the Cross and were touched to the ones at S. Croce in Rome, copies of the music made by the sisters, etc. There's also a file cabinet where the archivist keeps a folder on each sister. Any important items about that sister (profession announcements, publications, etc.) are kept there.

The archives are housed in what used to be the quarters for the extern sisters. This is a section in the basement which was originally outside of the enclosure. There is a little window with a grille where Mother Prioress would come to speak or recreate with the externs. That little parlor now houses our foreign language books, but the grille remains. 

At the end of the field trip the novitiate headed back, arms full of  photo albums and our monastery's old customs book to take back to the novitiate for leisurely reading/perusing.