Every year on the Epiphany (or thereabouts) we have a party. What is special about this party is that it is held in the novitiate community room, a place completely off-limits for the professed community the other 364 days and 23 hours a year. Due to the novel setting, the party is often called the Novitiate Open House. The novitiate decorates their community room just as the professed decorates their own community room--the only difference is that while the professed decorations tend to stay the same every year, a constantly changing group of novices means the decorations in the novitiate are often set up in new ways. It is always fun to see what each year's batch of novices has come up with.
At breakfast on Epiphany a special 'sweet bread' is made with three almonds hidden inside. The lucky sisters who find an almond in their breakfast are crowned King at the evening party! Not only do they get crowned while the community serenades them with the song We Three Kings, they also have a Mass said for their shared intentions.
Towards the end of the party the music sheets come out and one of our talented musicians strikes up an instrument. This year Sr. Maria Agnes accompanied us on the novitiate's keyboard as we all sang our favorite Christmas carols (it is still Christmas, by the way!), finishing up, as always, with Good King Wenceslas.