November Is For Feast Days!
Today the Dominican Order celebrates its own All Souls Day, remembering all our deceased brothers and sisters. Yesterday, we had our All Saints Day as we joyously remembered and asked the intercession of our saintly brothers and sisters, some of whom we have lived. Since the time of St. Dominic, the Order has revered its saints but hasn't been much into canonization processes. Most of our saints are blesseds who are listed in the calendar as "his/her cult was confirmed by Pope such-and-such" meaning that there is no active canonization process going on.
And the day before we celebrated our prioress' feast day! Sr. Mary Martin has as her feast day the feast of St. Martin de Porres but we almost never celebrate it on the 3rd and this year it fell on Monday, which is laundry day and laundry day is, well, almost a holy day of obligation!
The prioress' feast follows a traditional format. We "open" at recreation the evening before with a greeting song, usually written by Sr. Mary Rose Dominic and then all the sisters in order of the profession greet Sr. Mary Martin and receive a little gift. This year the novices made up little gift bags of milk and honey soaps using a special mold that had a honey bee engraved on it. Each sister is also invited to take a piece of chocolate from a special box saved for the feast. This year's box was all dark chocolate much to the delight of the dark chocolate aficionados of which Sr. Mary Martin is one of them!
We then had ice cream and cookies and chatted. Sr. Maureen from our monastery in Buffalo, NY had just arrived a few hours earlier to spend a few weeks with us so we were anxious to hear "how are the sisters in Buffalo?"
The next day we had special recreations during the usual work time. Our aspirant, Janlyn, voiced what is the reaction of most new sisters, "This is exhausting!" We're not used to talking all day so we are all pretty tired by the end of the day!
In the morning the novitiate sisters along with honorary novice, Sr. Maria of the Cross, did a Swedish "laundry dance" which may seem simple but does take quite a lot of coordination. After all, they had to not only dance but pantomime the actions as well! It was fun to watch and we enjoyed the colorful costumes that they resurrected from the closet.
In the afternoon, Janlyn brought us half a world over to China via a slide show. This summer she was privileged to be part of a lay missionary team that spent 3 weeks in China. It was encouraging to hear the work of Catholics in China who are amazing in how they hold onto the Faith, catechize and to quote the Acts of Apostles, "more and more were added to their number!" We felt a special part of this trip as we accompanied Janlyn and her mission team with our prayer.
Because Janlyn wasn't able to finish in the afternoon we continued during evening recreation. This spring Janlyn also went to Rome and Bologna and she was smart to bring along her photos most of which were of Dominican places such as S. Sabina and Bologna where St. Dominic is buried.
We had a most enjoyable day. But we must admit that we enjoyed Friday just as much (if not more!) with the return of our regular life and more silence.