How does a cloistered nun celebrate the new year? Well, for us December 31st is a day of fasting and penance in reparation for the sins (our own and those of the whole world) of the past year. We don't stay up until midnight (except for the sister who happens to have that hour of night guard!) but we do have a special little ceremony every January first that marks the new year.
After breakfast we all gather in the Chapter Hall for the drawing of patrons. A prie-deu is set before the Christ child in His crib and one by one the sisters are called up.
The three youngest sisters in the community are tasked with summoning each sister, announcing their new patron saint for the year, and reading off a short inspirational quote as well as the sister's new prayer intention.
This year the short quotations were taken from Bl. Humbert of Romans' treatise on the virtues (which Sr. Mary Martin is currently translating into English). The kneeling sister then kisses the feet of the Christ child and returns to her place. After everyone has received their patrons we sing the Magnificat antiphon from the Dominican Breviary for the Community's new patron saint (St. Agnes of Montepulciano this year!).
We end with the collect from the Saint's day and adjourn to the community room to wish each other a Happy New Year!