Australia Day....weekend!

Have you heard of Australia Day? According to AustraliaDay.org.au:

Australia Day, 26 January, is the day to reflect on what
it means to be Australian, to celebrate contemporary
Australia and to acknowledge our history.

Since our community is blessed to have an Aussie, postulant Sr. Lauren, we had to celebrate! This year Australia Day was observed on January 28th since the 26th fell on a Saturday…so we just had a whole Australia Day weekend!

On the 26th the Australian Flag was hung outside the kitchen in our main hallway. Sr. Lauren made Fairy Cake for the community, an Australian dessert new to most of us! At supper in the evening we enjoyed listening to a variety of Australian music, beginning with the National Anthem. Again, most of us had never heard Australian’s anthem before, and we paused our meal to stand as we heard it for the first time. Following the anthem were Waltzing Matilda and some of the music of the Aboriginal Australians.

On Monday, the day Australia was observing Australia Day this year, we had a good ole barbecue. Apparently this is the traditional way of celebrating in Australia, just as it is in America for Independence Day…..except that January is SUMMER in Australia while here Sr. Mary Magdalene braved the chilly, snowy weather to “nun” the grill. For dessert Sr. Mary Catharine made pavola. Australian meat pies were enjoyed a few days later, also made by Sr. Mary Catharine.

This past Sunday, Sr. Lauren gave the community a presentation on Australia during evening recreation. We learned that Australia is very close to the size of the USA, only about 830k sq mi less, but much of that is desert in the middle of the continent. Sr. Lauren hails from Adelaide which we learned is also known as “the most boring place in the universe,” “Australia’s retirement village,” and “serial killer capital of the world.”

We also learned that Australia was the first place in the world where women were allowed to vote and stand for Parliament…way back in 1895! Other interesting tidbits: not all Australians love Vegemite, and the real reason most people hate it is because they put way too much on their toast. Apparently a little goes a long ways! Thanks to Sr. Lauren’s explanations we finally understood what “Waltzing Matilda,” which we had listened to in the refectory, was about! We were also informed that Kangaroo Island would be a great place for a new Dominican monastery. Unfortunately the nuns are the only part of the Dominicans missing from the continent, and it is the only inhabited continent from which we are still absent!

Sr. Lauren is actually one of two sisters in our community who have dual citizenship, as she is also a citizen of South Africa. Sr. Maria Johanna is the other sister, having citizenship for both Canada and America.

Thank You!

Wow! Last Friday we wrote a blog post inviting all of our friends to help us finish the new wing by helping us to furnish it through our Amazon Wish List and Bed, Bath & Beyond Registry. What an amazing response! Package after package was delivered, and we are so thankful for your generosity! It looks like there is only one product left un-purchased on the Amazon wish list, but there are plenty more items on the BB&B registry including much needed bedding for the new guest rooms. We know not everyone is in a position to donate items to the new wing, but just as important are your prayers for the wing’s successful completion!

Last night Sr. Mary Catharine and Sr. Judith Miryam did a “show & tell” at our evening recreation, unboxing all of the items for the community to see and reading off the names of all of our friends who donated them! We are so grateful for your support; be assured you are in our prayers!

Want to Help Finish the New Wing?

You might recall that when the construction of the new wing was begun around this time last year we were given Christmas Eve (2018) as the ‘move in’ date. Well, things didn’t go exactly as planned. Unfortunately the crew endured the rainiest, muddiest construction site that they’ve ever experienced. If it wasn’t raining this past year it was snowing. This pushed the ‘move in’ date back….way back! Thankfully once the exterior was completed, as well as the new drainage system, progress picked up. The new wing no longer looks like a gingerbread house to passing cars, but a beautiful extension of our monastery. The inside is beginning to look ….well, why don’t we just show you?

Exterior of the New Wing

Interior of the New Wing

You can find a plethora of pictures on the Centennial Campaign’s Instagram and Facebook pages. As close as the wing looks to completion, there is still a lot to do, and we need your help! We are still short of the final cost for the construction of the wing; you can help by donating to our Capital Campaign HERE. As the wing nears completion we also need to start procuring the necessary furnishings. If you’d like to help furnish the wing, we’d love for you to visit our Amazon Wish List or our Bed Bath & Beyond Registry to see if there is anything you’d like to contribute!

We’re looking forward to the opening of the new wing, and we hope you are too because you are invited to the Dedication Mass and Open House of the New Wing on May 18th at 10am! Come celebrate with us and see what your donations and prayers have accomplished!

Thank you for all of your help in making this dream a reality!

Feast Day of St. Margaret of Hungary

Today is the Feast of St. Margaret of Hungary, the Hungarian princess turned Dominican nun. Her father, King Bela IV of Hungary promised to give his daughter to the praise and worship of God in the Dominican monastery if God would protect the country from the Tartar invasions. God did indeed protect Hungary, and King Bela did place his little daughter in the monastery….before later trying to remove her for the purpose of marrying her off to secure peace. To avoid such a fate Margaret received the consecration of virgins; this is the only time ever mentioned in the annals of the Order that nuns received the consecration of virgins.

Our monastery has a great love for St. Margaret. Known for her ascetic abstinence from washing/hygiene, our soap department took St. Margaret as its patron. St. Margaret’s had a very interesting, although short, life, dying at the age of 28 from an 8 day illness. You can read more about her life in Margaret: Princess of Hungary, written by S.M.C. of the English Stone Dominicans and re-published by our publishing house, DNS Publications a few years ago.

DSC_9069.JPG

Usually we listen to a recorded lecture/conference/etc. at our noon meal, while at our evening meal we listen as one of the sisters reads. In honor of St. Margaret’s feast day we did things a little differently today. Recently Sr. Mary Martin was able to obtain the Latin annals of Margaret’s process of canonization and has been working on translating them into English. At dinner, Sister read from her notebook part of her translation of the testimony of one of Margaret’s fellow nuns. It is very interesting, and we look forward to hearing/reading the rest!

Solemnity of the Mother of God

It’s been awhile since we updated the blog, which means a lot has been going on! We rang in the New Year as usual with the drawing of patrons in our Chapter Hall after breakfast. The three youngest sisters (this year an aspirant, Sr. Lauren, and Sr. Lucia Marie) stand at the top of the Chapter Hall and call out each sister’s name (along with a few extras: Father chaplain, the community, the novitiate) . When her name is called each sister goes up to kneel before the baby Jesus in His crib and her patron “Saint” for the year, her quotation, and her prayer intention are read. Saint is in quotation marks because not all of the patrons are canonized Saints, for example, this year the patron “Saint” of the community is Christ the King! Once you’ve received your patron, etc. you kiss the baby Jesus and return to your place.

New Years Day is also the Solemnity of the Mother of God and thus a day with extra recreation, talking meals, and candy! Our benefactors and friends always give us delicious treats for Christmas so the little candy table gets quite a few visits! Since the morning (as well as the afternoon) were free recreation some of the sisters took advantage of the extra time to play one of our favorite games: Settlers of Catan. Since you can only play with 6 people and a few sisters had to come in and out due to their rosary times or kitchen duties we had a few teams so more sisters were able to play.

In the evening there was a performance by the Band of Beginners (aka the novitiate). The members and instruments may change, but the band remains! This time we had Sr. Maria Johanna on Clarinet, our aspirant on Classical Guitar, Sr. Lucia Marie on Piano, Sr. Lauren on flute, and Sr. Mary Ana on the Violin. They were very nervous! Some of the sisters are new to their instruments and some are teaching themselves to play. They did a lovely job preforming O Holy Night. Especially considering that the flute Sr. Lauren was playing (which is probably older than she is) is broken, the end piece being held on (crookedly) by a rubber band or two. She had taken it back apart to put away when the community called for an encore. Out came the purple rubber bands to put the flute back together!