Today we celebrate our Lady's patronage over the Dominican Order. The painting above is a miniature from Dominican Rite Mass Cards that were painted by our Sr. Mary Magdalen long ago.
In his homily at Mass, Fr. Kieran, our chaplain, reminded us of why Mary is so powerfully our patron. He first mentioned that while other Orders may honor our Lady in a more spectacular way, ours is more quiet and more reflects Mary's role in the life of Jesus. Since the Order was founded specifically for preaching the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus, Mary is most especially our patron because she wants nothing more than that Jesus be given to each person. "Show to us the blessed Fruit of thy womb, Jesus" we sing every night at the Salve when we particularly honor or as our Mother of Mercy.
Father also highlighted that while our Lady gave the scapular to Carmel in 1570 to St. Simon Stock, we received it from her hands when she appeared to Blessed Reginald in 1220 and gave the scapular to him. In fact, the scapular is the only part of the habit that is blessed.
Then Father Kieran paused and said, "Wait a minute, don't I bless your veils, too?" To which we all shook our heads up and down!
The veil is not technically a part of the habit although it is prescribed for the nuns as a sign of our spousal consecration to Christ and the ecclesial dimension of our vocation. According to the Roman Rite of religious profession the veils of the contemplative nuns are blessed.
Later, before the post communion prayer, Fr. Kieran paused and said, "I forgot something in my homily. I forgot to mention that our Lady especially protects the life of our nuns because St. Dominic founded them before the friars to be a powerhouse of prayer for the preaching of the Gospel." Then Father led us in the prayer of Consecration of the Order of Preachers to Mary: "Virgin Mother Mary, with trust we approach you, We. your preachers, fly to you who believed in the words sent from heaven and pondered them in your heart. We stand close around you, who are always present to the gathering of the apostles....Do you, Mother, give us strength and preserve the harmony of our family, so that what was begun by our Profession may be brought to completion by our love for one another, for the salvation of the world and to the praise and glory of God. Amen.