On the morning of Christmas Eve, immediately after our Eucharistic Thanksgiving we gather in our Chapter Hall for the proclamation of the CHRISTMAS MARTROLOGY.

Sr. Maria of the Cross chanting the martyrology last year.

It is chanted solemnly by one of the chantress:

In the five thousand one hundred and ninety-ninth year of the creation of the world from the time when God in the beginning created the heavens and the earth;
the two thousand nine hundred and fifty-seventh year after the flood;
the two thousand and fifteenth year from the birth of Abraham;
the one thousand five hundred and tenth year from Moses and the going forth of the people of Israel from Egypt;
the one thousand and thirty-second year from David's being anointed king; in the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel;
in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;
the seven hundred and fifty-second year from the foundation of the city of Rome;
the forty second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus;
the whole world being at peace,
in the sixth age of the world, Jesus Christ the eternal God and Son of the eternal Father, desiring to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming, being conceived by the Holy Spirit, and nine months having passed since his conception, was born in Bethlehem of Judea of the Virgin Mary, being made flesh.

At the end, after she sings, "The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh"

all the sisters fall down prostrate on the floor making what Dominicans call the venia—a prostration made on one's right side.

Then, the Prioress, or a sister delegated by her, gives a homily, reflecting on the coming feast of Christmas and its meaning for our community at this time. The Prioress concludes the Chapter with, "Our help is in the name of the Lord," to which the nuns respond, "who made Heaven and earth." The rest of the day is spent doing the thousand and one things that need doing before I Vespers. Top on the list is decorating the choir, sanctuary and chapel.

Door bells are pretty much ringing all day as our faithful family, friends and benefactors stop in to wish us a merry Christmas and leave many wonderful and sometimes surprising gifts! The phones are busy, too. Most people are calling to find out if it's true that we really have Mass AT MIDNIGHT!


If you are in the area our schedule is as follows:

  • I Vespers of Christmas: 5:30 PM
  • Chapel doors open at 11:30 PM
  • Concert beginning with Christmas Carols played by our chaplain, Fr. Kieran Fergus on sax, oboe and flute in the sanctuary followed by carols sung by the nuns inside the Choir. (Or as Father says, "I play the carols everyone knows, you sing the carols no one knows!"
  • Holy Mass of Christmas: 1200AM
  • Lauds: 6:35 AM
  • Holy Mass: 8:00 AM
  • Office of Sext 12:00 PM
  • Rosary and the Office of None 3:30 PM
  • Vespers of Christmas: 5:30 PM

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