Brethren in the background (l. to r.), Bro. Dominic, Bro. Jerome, Fr. Gabriel, Fr. Pier Giorgio, Fr. Walter, Bro. Austin, and Fr. Aquinas. "Sistern" in the foreground (back, l. to r.), Sr. Judith Miryam, Sr. Mary Daniel, Sr. Mary Elizabeth, Sr. Mary Martin, and Sr. Mary Catharine, and Sr. Virginia Mary; (front, l. to r.) Sr. Mary Rose Dominic, Sr. Greta, Sr. Maria Concepcion,and Sr. Denise Marie.

“Behold! How good and pleasant it is when brothers (and sisters!) dwell together in unity,” (cf. Ps 133, 1) best describes our joy at welcoming Fr. Walter Wagner and the novice brothers to our monastery (the first one visited in their winter travels). Their original plans to join us for our Community Rosary and Midday Prayer were snafued by the rainy weather and poor directions (they traveled here from the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC).

Fr. Gabriel undergoes his "interrogation" with grace
and finesse.

The brothers enjoyed lunch downstairs in St. Dominic’s Hall with our chaplain, Fr. Kieran Fergus. Our novitiate sisters had prepared the substantial spread of coldcuts, rolls, salad, soup, and, yes, those homemade chocolate chip cookies. Ever solicitous for the proper "intellectual formation" of their brothers, the sisters also prepared a few “Dominican trivia” questions for the novices (with the answers revealed later!).

After lunch, the brothers joined us in the parlor and underwent our usual sisterly "interrogations" followed by a sharing of our monastery’s history and our own stories. At the close of the visit, we were delighted to received a quadruple priestly blessing (this class has the distinction of having three priests in its ranks!).

The novices are now in New York City beginning a round of visits to our friars at St. Vincent Ferrer, St. Catherine of Siena, and St. Joseph Church (parish of our aspirant, Emily). They are also planning to see the Fra Angelico exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We recommended that they wear their habits (rather than their clerics) and use the opportunity for some “stealth evangelization,” not to mention some head-turning and double-takes!

True to Dominican tradition, our farewells were
prolonged and reluctant!

We continue to be impressed by (and grateful for) the young men who are responding to the Lord’s call to carry on St. Dominic’s work of the “Holy Preaching.” Please pray for their perseverance as they prepare to make their first profession on August 15.