It was like a day made in heaven...and it was! On Saturday, May 12th our monastery celebrated the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Nuns of the Order of Preachers with a Mass of Thanksgiving. Our Ordinary, Archbishop John Myers presided with 12 priests concelebrating and over 225 of our friends joining us.
Since the comment we heard the most often was that the music was beautiful, we feel safe in saying, "The music was beautiful!" The Sisters outdid themselves.The processional was a hymn to St. Dominic written by our own Sr. Mary Rose Dominic. It was then followed by the In Medio Ecclesiae, the Introit of the Mass for the feast of St. Dominic from the Dominican Rite.
The ordinary of the Mass was the Missa Seignadou written by our Sr. Maria of the Cross for this jubilee year.
After the responsorial psalm the Sequence, In caelesti hierachia was sung with great gusto followed by a Dominican Chant Alleluia.
The Gospel was proclaimed by Fr. Peter Batts, OP and the archbishop preached the homily. You can listen to a clip of it in the slide show.
During the offertory, the chantresses sang the beautiful If ye love me by Thomas Tallis. This is the background music of the slide show. At Communion the community sang the Ave Verum by William Byrd. The Recessional hymn was another beautiful hymn to St. Dominic, Before a Word Was Spoken, by Fr. Andrew Hofer, OP, a Brother-friend of our monastery.
After the Mass we gathered with our guests in the cloister garden. It was joyous, relaxing affair. The weather was beautiful and the food, provided by our generous benefactors was delicious. Our guests enjoyed walking around the grounds and many commented on our beautiful "garden of Eden". For an enclosed contemplative community the garden has both a theological and psychological significance. We need beauty to nourish us and the garden with the Cross—the Tree of Life— at its center (for us in our cemetery), is a reminder to us of eternal life as described in the book of Revelation.
Our hearts are overflowing with joy and gratitude at all the blessings of this joyous day! We are so grateful to God for the gift of all our wonderful friends who support us lovingly and who treasure the gift of our contemplative life!
As the tent comes down and the tables and chairs are put away and the last of the left-overs eaten we go back to a deeper silence and recollection renewed in our vocation as Dominican Nuns! We had fun last night speculating as to what the 900th anniversary will be like. Our musician, Sr. Maria said, "I'll do the music! It will be out of this world!" All joking aside, it is an amazing thing to part of this long heritage of Sisterhood down through the centuries!