Sr. Maria Teresa presents her Philosophy paper. We all ask, "What is Sr. Joseph Maria thinking????" Or maybe it's just that she needs another cup of coffee!
There's Sr. Mary Amata next to Sr. Mary Dominic and Sr. Mary Rose!
We miss our Sisters (as does Sabina!) but we are happy they are able to have this wonderful opportunity!
Why do cloistered nuns engage in such study? Well, first it is because we are Dominicans and the study of Sacred Truth is part of our charism and necessary for our growing in the knowledge and love of God! Second, our study programs are a response to the directives of the Directives on Formation In Religious Institutes which says that Contemplative nuns should also be formed philosophically and theologically.
The study of the word of God, of the tradition of the Fathers, of the documents of the Church's magisterium, and systematic theological reflection cannot be held in low esteem where individuals have chosen to direct their whole life toward the primary, if not exclusive, search for God. These religious, who are totally dedicated to contemplation, learn from Scripture that God does not cease to search for his creatures in order to become united with them, and that in return, the whole life of a person cannot be anything but an unceasing search for God. They patiently undertake this search. At the same time God renders his creatures able to become enamored with him, despite the burden of their limitations and their gropings. There is consequently the task of helping these religious approach the mystery of God without neglecting the critical exigencies of the human mind. The certainties given by revelation on the mystery of God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit must also be brought out, while ever remaining humble before the quest that will never be completed until we shall see God face to face for what he is. The main concern of these contemplatives is not, and cannot be, the acquisition of extensive knowledge, nor the gaining of academic degrees. It is, and must be, that of strengthening their faith, "the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that are not seen."(161) In faith are to be found the roots and premises of an authentic contemplation. It is occupied with certainties on paths that are unknown: "Abraham left, not knowing where he was to go;"(162) faith enables one to remain steadfast during the time of trial, as if one saw him who is unseen.(163) Faith heals, deepens, and expands the efforts of a mind which seeks and contemplates what now is attained only "through a mirror, in a dark manner."(164)