Welcome, Sr. Victoria!

Yesterday morning, on Divine Mercy Sunday, Victoria entered the enclosure and began her postulancy. The entrance ceremony is short and sweet; it begins with the Prioress welcoming the new postulant at the enclosure door in the sanctuary. She leads her into the chapter hall and they join the community in processing to choir while chanting Psalm 122.


After the new postulant has been shown to her choir stall, the Novice Mistress reads from Ephesians.

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullnes of God.

Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations,
for ever and ever. Amen”
Ephesians 3:14-21

The ceremony ends with the chanting of the Dominican Salve Regina. After the ceremony the new postulant is greeted informally in the community room. It is customary for the new sister’s veil to fall off at least once, and Sr. Victoria was no exception! It takes awhile to adjust to wearing a veil. Sometimes the community goes to the parlor after the ceremony to greet the new sister’s family and friends, but we had already had a lovely parlor visit with Sr. Victoria’s family the evening before. Sister’s parents, one of her sisters, brother, aunt and uncle traveled with her from their home in New Orleans, Louisiana. Thanks to our new wing we had enough room for everyone to stay with us. They were among the first to use the new guest quarters.

Yesterday was beautiful so after supper dishes the novitiate went outside for pictures.

Siena

Today is two months since we picked up our newest addition to the monastery: our golden retriever puppy, Siena! The pictures below were taken on February 25th, March 25th, and April 24th. She’s growing so fast! Pretty soon she’ll be too big for Sr. Mary Veronica to pick up!

Mandatuum
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The Mandatuum, the washing of the feet, takes place in our Chapter Hall right before Holy Thursday’s Mass. The Prioress, or a sister delegated by her, gives a sermon. This year Sr. Mary Martin read the sermon Sr. Mary Elizabeth gave sometime before 1967.

What I have done to you, you too should do. John 13:16

Dear Sisters,

             These words were spoken by Our Lord soon after He had washed the feet of His disciples. This was a courtesy of the host to his guests, but it was usually rendered by a slave. Here instead of the slave, we have Our Divine Savior stooping to the lowest and most menial task, giving us an example and teaching us the profoundest lesson of imitation in humility and charity—loving humility and humble charity. Jesus Himself has said: “You call me Master, and you are right—I have set you an example, so that what I have done to you, you too should do!” We are to imitate Him. We are to imitate Him in His humility, in His charity. We hunger to imitate Him in His sacred Passion—to suffer as He suffered physically, to be scourged and crowned and finally to be crucified; but do we hunger to suffer humiliations, to be scourged with contradictions, to be crowned with rebukes? Do we hunger to suffer the interior pains that He wants us to suffer—to be crucified to self? We are to imitate Him, His way!

             Our Divine Lord was humble throughout His entire life; humility was expressed in His every action from the lowness of the manger to the sublimity of the Cross. Humility is a composite of all the virtues, as is charity; therefore, if we are humble, we will be charitable; and if we are charitable, we will be humble and we will be practicing all the virtues in their fullness.

             In the washing of the feet, we have the perfect lesson of selflessness; and as Jesus said: “What I have done to you, you too should do.” To wash the feet of our sisters appears to be no difficult task, but to submit to them, to remain silent when opposed, to be kind when thoughtless words are uttered, yes, this is difficult. Our Lord permitted oppositions, remained silent and was humiliated beyond comprehension; why should we then become irritated and annoyed when given the opportunity to imitate Him?

             Our divine Teacher frequently spoke in parables, but here He illustrates for us personally what He wants of us. We know only too well how much more forceful is an act than mere words. The disciples were previously bickering about the earthly kingdom and who would be the greatest in it. The Master had to show them that His ways were not the ways of the world, but quite contrary to them. They were pleased when He worked miracles and spoke to throngs of people, but this act of His was so unbecoming, not a bit in keeping with His dignity—so they thought. But the Son of God was never so magnanimous as when He was humble. It takes a truly great person to be truly humble. Mary’s humility brought us a Redeemer!

             The charity of Christ was forever in the foreground. He had manifested His fraternal love for those simple fishermen in so many familiar ways. He never wearied from their weak-minded remarks and their slowness in belief and practice. He was patient to the utmost degree and ceased not to show them the way of the Father. Love is proved by sacrifice. The greatest proof of His love was yet to come, the perfect sacrifice—to die for each and every one of them as He has also done for us. Let us prove our love for Him and die also, dying so that only He may live and reign within our hearts.

            “Do you appreciate what I have just done to you?” asked Jesus after this heartfelt gesture. In all probability the apostles did not. For they did not understand Our Lord’s actions at this time. Like the apostles, do we understand our Savior’s actions at this time, here and now? Do we appreciate what He is doing for us every single second of the day? Oh yes, we say “thank you” for favors received, but how often do we say “thank you” for humiliations received? With St. Philip Neri we should say: “I thank Thee, O my God, that things are not going as I should like them to.” Here we would be imitating our divine Teacher in the best way—“Not my will, but Thine be done.”

             And finally Jesus said to His disciples: “If you bear this lesson in mind, happy are you if you put it into practice.” Therefore, if we imitate Him in all ways, especially in His humility and charity, we will be happy. How can we not be happy, if we have no desires, no wishes, none save His? If we are concerned about pleasing Him, we won’t have time to be concerned with pleasing ourselves. Therefore, whatever would happen, we would know He planned it as such and would be happy in accepting it.

             Let us take heed then, dear Sisters, to these most forceful and meaningful words of God, Our Lord: “What I have done to you, you too should do,” and let us put them to profitable use.

Palm Sunday

“What do you think? That he will not come to the feast?” These are the last words of yesterday’s Gospel, and they act as a sort of cliffhanger as we enter into Holy Week. All last week we saw the tension between Jesus and the Jewish officials rise. On Friday Jesus declared openly that He is the Son of God, and so the Jews picked up rocks to stone Him for blasphemy. On Saturday the Sanhedrin began to plot His death, and so He could no longer walk about openly. The time of Passover was drawing near and the people wondered what would happen. Could He, would He go up to Jerusalem for the feast? And if He did…what then?

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In today’s first Gospel the answer comes; Jesus does go up to Jerusalem, not only openly but in victorious procession! The tension has snapped, this is it! This is what the people have been waiting for as they’ve watched and wondered these past few years. He is the Messiah, the promised Son of David, the anointed King! He’s going to claim the throne!

King Solomon claims his father’s throne

King Solomon claims his father’s throne

Jesus rides into Jerusalem seated on a colt as the people spread their cloaks upon the road and shout for joy. They proclaim, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” Why the colt? This was how King David passed his kingship on to his son Solomon; having gone to Gihon to be anointed king, Solomon entered Jerusalem riding on David’s mule as the people cried, “Long live King Solomon!” When he had entered Jerusalem, Solomon took his place on the throne to reign in David’s place.

Did the people really understand what was happening? Did they understand this triumphal entry as a proclamation of His kingship? Look what they did; they spread their cloaks upon the ground in front of Him. What a strange thing that would seem to be, except that it is exactly what happened when Jehu was abruptly anointed king. It is the only other time such an event is mentioned in the Bible. When King Jehu told his master’s servants that he had been anointed and proclaimed king by the prophet Elisha’s servant, “at once each took his garment, spreading it under Jehu on the bare steps, blew the trumpet, and cried out, ‘Jehu is king!’” (2 Kings 9:13)

There was no ambiguity about this entrance. In fact, when some of the Pharisees told Jesus to rebuke His disciples he replied, “I tell you, if they keep silent, the stones will cry out!”

Just when Israel is expecting Jesus to muster troops to free the nation from Rome’s domination…the readings suddenly shift. Jesus is betrayed by one of the Twelve in the nighttime and is taken before the Sanhedrin before anyone realizes what is happening. His disciples scatter, Peter denies even knowing Him. Finally, instead of mounting a throne Jesus mounts the cross.

What happened? How did the cries of “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord” become cries of “Crucify him! Crucify him!” What went wrong?

Nothing went wrong. It wasn’t that Jesus didn’t fulfill the people’s expectations, it was that their expectations were too small! Jesus is the King, but He was concerned with bigger enemies than Rome. He didn’t come to free Israel from Rome’s oppression; He came to free all people from sin and everlasting death. His weapons weren’t swords and spears but steadfast and persevering obedience, obedience even to death on the cross.

Palm Sunday’s liturgy is an preview for the coming week. It shows us the trajectory we’re about to embark upon as we enter the holiest week of the year.

Holy Week Schedule

Sacred Triduum Schedule

Palm Sunday Usual monastery schedule

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Holy Thursday

  • Matins-Lauds —6:50 AM

  • Rosary & Sext—11:30 AM

  • Mass of the Lord's Supper—5:00PM Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament inside the nuns' monastery. No Compline.

Good Friday

  • Matins-Lauds—6:50 AM

  • Rosary & Sext—11:30 AM

  • None—2:40 PM

  • Celebration of the Passion of the Lord—3:00 PM No Vespers

  • Compline—8:15 PM

Holy Saturday

  • Matins-Lauds—6:50 AM

  • Rosary & Sext—11:30 AM

  • None—3:00 PM

  • Vespers—5:30 PM

Easter Vigil is private. Closed to the public.

Easter Sunday

  • Lauds—6:40 AM

  • Holy Mass—8:00 AM

  • Sext—12:00 PM

  • None & Rosary—3:10 PM

  • Vespers—5:30 PM Compline, closed to the public.