Posts in Monastery Life
New Liturgical Musicians!

Beyond formation classes, another type of learning (no less vital) enjoys a privileged place in the novitiate, what we might term "on-the-job training." The novitiate sisters learn (or improve upon) various skills, from cooking to gardening, sewing, soap making, rosary making and even wood carving. As our Constitutions states, "the sisters are taught those crafts and technical skills which are best suited to the needs of the life in the monastery" (LCM 119; IV). Sr. Mary Cecilia practices the organ in our basement rec room.

Most of the skills are acquired in the time-honored monastic manner, by being taught and passed on by our sisters. A few are self-taught. Others may require the expertise of outside professionals, such as learning musical instruments, especially those used at the liturgy. At present, we are blessed to have two junior organists, Sr. Mary Veronica and Sr. Mary Cecilia, who take weekly lessons from a local teacher. Both alternate playing the organ at Terce (Mid-morning Prayer) and Sext (Midday Prayer). It is gratifying to see (and hear) them at the organ, whether they are playing or practicing. As any nun will tell you, organists are highly prized members of the community.

Stretch that pinky finger!

Sister makes a notation on her music ("I'm indicating what finger I should play the note on!").

With a look of intense interest (or is it intense boredom?), Sabina listens Sister's playing.

Sr. Mary Veronica plays a hymn from The Summit Choirbook at Sext (Midday Prayer).

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Sr. Mary Jacinta at her Vespers debut.

The other musical instrument used in our liturgical prayer is the autoharp (a chorded zither), which accompanies our chanting of the psalms at Lauds, Office of Readings and Vespers. We are pleased to announce that Sr. Mary Jacinta has recently joined the ranks of our autoharpists. Sr. Maria Teresa has helped Sister learn the instrument, which she plays with a certain Caribbean flair! Please pray for our young liturgical musicians, that the Lord may increase their skill and mastery!

 

Sr. Mary Jacinta takes notes as Sr. Maria Teresa goes over the psalm tones.

"The solemn celebration of the liturgy is the heart of our whole life and the chief source of its unity" (LCM 75). Visitors to our monastery (whether friars, nuns or laypeople) have always commented on the beauty and reverence of our liturgy. May the Lord grant that we may continue to sing His praises, making joyful music to Him with all our skill.

Another Year of Wisdom

It's hard to believe that another year has passed since our theology students were in Lufkin yet here they are getting ready to head out to the airport for their two-week stay at the Monastery of the Infant Jesus. (They drove in the car, not in the trunk!)

This year the Sisters will be studying Patristics and the Moral Vision of St. Thomas. Fr. David Meconi, SJ, who was here at Summit last year giving us some lectures was supposed to teach the Patristics' course but sadly had to find a substitute at the last minute because of his mother's final illness. Please pray for her! Mr. Noel Pretila, adjunct professor of Theological Studies at St. Louis University will be teaching for him. If Fr. Meconi's name seems familiar it is because he is the editor of the Homiletic and Pastoral Review.

Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, OP, a friar we have known since his first days in the Order will be doing the course on Moral Theology. Fr. Nicanor is an Associate Professor at Providence College where he teaches molecular microbiology and genetics.

In the afternoon sessions the sisters will be giving presentations on the psalms (last year's course) and some sisters took on the added challenge of translating one of St. Thomas' commentaries on a psalm of their choosing.

We already miss our sisters but know that these 4 years of theological study will benefit not just them but our community. The time together also forges bonds between the nuns of the different monasteries.

Celebrating the Professed Sisters Feast Day!

As our long-time readers know, every year the novitiate sisters cook up a special day of celebration for the Professed Sisters. By tradition this is the feast of St. Mary Magdalene, the great apostle to the Apostles but since her feast was on Sunday we decided to have the celebration on the feast of St. Anne. Her day is special for us because it was on her feast we received permission from the bishop to resume the building of our monastery after a 10-year hiatus due to the Depression. Sr. Denise Marie requested that, since the novitiate sisters have their cook or helper days anyway, to keep the cooking SIMPLE so that the sisters could relax a little as well. It seems that the novices idea of SIMPLE is a bit different, or else, they just got carried away in the creative process!

The "theme" somehow turned into Mexican although dinner was Sloppy-Joes, Mojo fries, Flame-seared corn, Ratatouille with Pecan Pie and Hokey-pokey cake. Supper, which is usually a light meal (but wasn't!) offered Empanada's, Mexican slaw, Guacamole, Avocado and Corn Salsa and black beans. Something for everyone! For afternoon snack, which is something we have only on big feasts, Sr. Mary Veronica made her S'mores cake. It was very tasty on a hot day.

In the morning the novitiate sisters presented their pinata for the professed to take a whack at which they all enjoyed and Sabina especially loved it when the pinata broke! At one point, one of the novices came into the kitchen and said, "I went into the community room and some of the professed are dancing!" We also heard that they were trying to see how many state songs they could sing! In other words, the sisters were enjoying themselves! The day ended with one of Sr. Maureen's fun quizzes and while all enjoyed themselves we were all grateful to return to our usual schedule and silence the next day!

Plus, there were leftover's to enjoy during the next few days!

Joys of Summer

We are all enjoying the welcome relief from the heat wave! The garden loved it, and with the day of a good soaking rain everything shot up 10 feet! Well, OK, maybe not 10 feet!

At dinner dishes Sr. Mary Jacinta said, "I ate 2 plums at meditation this morning! They were delicious! I'm going to pick more at recreation!" So, a group of sisters donned hats, Sr. Mary Magadene found the tallest ladder she could find and the eating, I mean, the picking, began in earnest!

Later, evening recreation was spent showing off each others growing project to each other.

This year the garden isn't that big but more sisters than usual decided to grow one or two things.

Sr. Mary Veronica has a beet patch, Sr. Maria Teresa loving cares for her basil which she is growing for pesto! Sr. Joseph Maria has her garden box with all sorts of vegetables. Sr. Mary Cecilia, Sr. Mary Jacinta and Sr. Mary Martin are growing tomatoes, beans and parsley. Sr. Mary Magdalene has a large squash and zucchini patch the fruits of which have even made itinto Fr. Gregory's morning homilies. Like anyone who grows zucchini, Sr. Mary Magdalene has found that no matter how much you give away or freeze there is still more! Sr. Mary Catharine nurtures the small vineyard and has a small garden of green and salmon colored zinnias and large white marigolds (supposedly!). As she is busy "growing" novices she doesn't have much time for much more than that and she tells us that, "I like to grow zinnias and marigolds."

"They're glorified weeds! You can count on them to grow, they produce lots of flowers that make people happy and the nice neatly weeded rows give me delusions of control!"

The vineyard is producing a small crop of grapes. Fortunately, it seems we have the black rot under control. What isn't under control are the birds who know just the right moment to eat every single grape.

Last year, Sr. Mary Catharine decided to wait one more day before harvesting. You guessed it! The next morning nary a grape was on the vines!

By the way, yes we know that the layout of this post is especially awful. If you have any tricks as to how the post you are producing can look the same as the published post please email us at vocation@summitdominicans.org. Thank you!

 

The Dominicans are at it again!

What are we up to now? Well, really, nothing we haven't been doing...praying! But this time Dominicans all over the world received the invitation we have been waiting for: to pray for the success of the full reconciliation of the Society of Pius X with Rome. If you read the interview of our brother, Archbishop DiNoia, OP you might have missed the last question and answer:

Are you optimistic or pessimistic about reconciliation?

I’m neither; I just don’t know. I think it will be an act of grace.

In fact, I’m going to ask the Dominicans to start praying. I hope it’ll happen. The Pope doesn’t want this to continue — another sect, another division.

So, it wasn't much of a surprise when we received a communication from the Archbishop via the Provincial's office to pray the Litany of Dominican Saints and Blesseds especially this week when the SSPX is having their Chapter. We were encouraged to pray it in the months ahead!

The Dominican Litany is long and it gets longer every year! It was much shorter when it was first prayed in 1254! It continues to be a powerful prayer, as we ask the intercession of our brothers and sisters in heaven!

The lay Dominicans have this on their site:

Innocent IV (born around 1200 and Pope from June 25, 1243) became a foe of the Order when the Dominican community in Genoa, the Pope's home town, would not give him their Priory and its land for a castle he wanted to build there to protect his relatives from his enemies. Angered by what he considered to be Dominican ingratitude in the face of favors he had granted the Order, Innocent now acceded to the long standing demands of some of the secular clergy who were upset by the Friars' popularity in the pastoral ministry, in preaching, and in university teaching.

Thus on May 10, 1254, the Pope placed some restrictions on the apostolate of the Dominicans in the French town of Saint-Quentin, and then began limiting the activities of the Other French Priories. On June 4 he in effect expelled the Dominican professors from the University of Paris. This new animosity on the part of the Supreme Pontiff frightened the Friars, who began to say the Litany of the Saints for a deliverance from what they saw as the impending suppression of the whole Order.

On Nov. 21, 1254, Innocent IV signed a decree rescinding all the privileges of the Order of Preachers, and instead forbidding all Dominicans to receive any lay person in their churches on Sundays and Holidays, to preach in their churches on other days before the Solemn Mass in the local diocesan parish church, to preach in an episcopal town if the bishop was to preach there that day, and to hear anyone's confession without the permission of the penitent's pastor. A Cardinal who supported the Pope in this affair had even further restriction to suggest to Innocent.

On the day the latter signed the aforementioned decree, the said Cardinal tumbled down some stairs and shortly thereafter died of the injuries. The Pope himself, on that very same day, Nov. 21, 1254, after signing the decree, suffered a stroke which left him paralyzed. Sixteen days later, On Dec. 7, 1254, Pope Innocent IV died. The new Pope, Alexander IV, restored all its privileges to the Order on Dec. 22, 1254, thirty-one days after their suppression and on the 38th anniversary of the Order's approval by Honorius III on Dec. 22, 1216.

As a result of the foregoing, the saying arose, "Beware the Litanies of the Dominicans."

This Litany is therefore recommended as a Novena in especially critical circumstances.

If you would like to join us in praying for this intention you can download a pdf file of the Litany HERE.

It's missing a few new blesseds but they will understand!

Seignadou Soap Department...we're moving in!

Friday was the big day! We began moving into our newly renovated St. Margaret of Hungary soap Department. (If you are wondering why we choose St. Margaret of Hungary let's just say that now that she is in Eternal Glory she understands that soap is a good thing!)

With the extra space gained from the weaving equipment moved to its own space in another part of the monastery we gained much needed space for the soap department. So it wasn't just a matter of putting everything back to where it was before but a new layout of operations. As Sr. Mary Magdalene said summing up the discussions, "Problem is, there are 7 of us and 25 opinions and those change every 5 minutes!"

Throughout Saturday Sr. Mary Catharine was coming up to the novitiate sisters saying, "I've been thinking, now if we move THAT table over there...." The "last" furniture move Saturday night seems to be the last.

Friday afternoon Fr. John Paul Walker, OP, who preached our retreat blessed the room, "Is this a factory or a shop?" he asked as he leafed through the blessing book!
We're nearly all in and hope to begin production again on Monday and get back-orders filled and inventory built up! We're so happy to have our wonderful, bright, colorful new space!

Blessed be God and His gifts!