dominican-nuns

Graduation

For the past five years Sr Niamh and Sr M Teresa have participated in the distance learning programme from Maryvale University, Birmingham.  They have been studying theology very diligently while participating fully in our daily contemplative life.  So our whole community rejoiced with them when they recently graduated with first class honours in Bachelor of Divinity.  Here they are shown with their certificates which they received in the post as they did not go to Maryvale for the Graduation Ceremony on the 21st November –   Instead we  had our own community celebration!

Dobby one of our cats looks on approvingly from the roof top while the photo was being taken!

Study is an essential element in the life of Dominican Nuns – Our Constitutions encourage “a methodical study of sacred truth, according to the capacity of the individual, as a fruitful preparation for lectio divina and an aid to human maturity” – study also “nourishes contemplation” and helps us live our life with a more “enlightened fidelity”.

Being able to participate in a distance learning course is a greatly appreciated by us contemplatives who observe the law of enclosure. The sisters have found this study very beneficial. Maryvale also offer short courses for those who find 5 years too intimidating. www.maryvale.ac.uk

Distance learning Theology courses are also on offer from our Irish Dominicans www.prioryinstitute.com

Advent and Praying for Peace

As we sit here in this warm comfortable Chapel, feeling safe and secure as we pray, people elsewhere are dying, people are being persecuted, and people are being displaced. We could go on and on. Life is very different for so many. Acutely aware of the need for peace, Fr Bruno, the Master of our Order and the Commission for Justice and Peace have proposed that we make the season of Advent, as we await the coming of the Prince of Peace, a period of intense prayer for peace in our war torn world and of solidarity with our Dominican brothers and sisters involved in preaching in situations of injustice. This Advent our focus is on Columbia where there are Dominicans working to support the implementation of the Peace accord that was signed in 2016.We know that peace can come about, that agreements can work. We have seen it happen in Northern Ireland and in our lifetime we have seen the fall of the Iron Curtain. Persistent prayer works. The holy rosary is a mighty weapon against the forces of evil.But a hymn I learnt as a child in school echoes in my heart, challenging me. It goes ‘let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me’. We have to be instruments of the peace we want to see reigning in our world. In the light of this morning’s Gospel Chapter 11 of St. Luke’s gospel struck me with great force. Whatever house you enter first say peace be to this house. And if a person of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him, but if not, it shall return to you. Somehow we have to prove the earnestness […]

Rosary on the Coast for Life and Faith

Our Monastery will be joining with the Rosary on the Coast for Life and Faith, Ireland tomorrow (Sunday 26th) at 2.30p.m. (although we aren’t actually on the coast). Check out their website for details of other locations www.coastalrosaryireland.ie

Vocation Discernment Weekend – 17th to 19th November

In November we will be hosting a Vocation Discernment Weekend for young women interested in our life, or who wish to find out more about Monastic Contemplative Life.
(See Poster below)

Please feel free to download this poster and spread it around (pdf file available here).

Novena to St Dominic – Day 9

St Dominic’s Charity and HumilityOn this the final day of our Novena in honour of St. Dominic and as we are about to celebrate first Vespers of this special solemnity, I would like to focus this reflection on St Dominic as a man of prayer , with particular emphases on his humility and charity.Jordan of Saxony tells us in the Libellus that the conferences of Cassian figured amongst Dominic’s favourite reading. Cassian tells us that humility, simplicity and charity are the foundations of all prayer. St. Dominic practised all these to a heroic degree.Take for example humility: when the Bishop of Osma made him a canon regular in his church, we are told that “he was the lowliest of them all in his humility of heart, but he was their leader in holiness.” ( Libellus No. 12) His first and second Ways of Prayer, are based on humility of heart , as in his first Way of Prayer he “ bowed as low as possible before the altar, as though Christ, whom the altar represents  were present there really and personally” and in the second Way of Prayer,     “ throwing himself flat on the ground, face down, where he was moved to sorrow in his heart and reproved himself and on occasion came out so loud that that phrase of the Gospel, ‘ O God, be merciful to me a sinner’,  was heard to come from him”. At his final Chapter in Bologna, he did not want to be re-elected as Master of the Order but to be given the freedom to be an ordinary friar and to go and preach to the pagans in the East. He was neither ambitious nor power hungry […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 8

St Dominic, The Transfiguration, & TruthOn this feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord: a feast in which we celebrate the Light that Jesus is;  the Light He radiates on all who believe Him; the Light that He wants to shine on all humanity, even on those who do not yet know Him – it seems appropriate to consider St Dominic and one of the mottoes of the Order – possibly a lesser known one – that is Veritas, or Truth.The importance of such a motto in the early days of the foundation of the Order of Preachers is unquestionable.  Heresies which denied the goodness of the physical world and the intrinsic goodness and worth of the human person were increasingly popular, and are popular even now.  St Dominic – in seeking to combat these, together with his brethren and the support of the prayers of the nuns whom he had associated with their mission – was seeking to re-present the truth which Christ Himself had taught so long ago; the truth He had entrusted to the Church for all time.  It could be observed that in fact what St Dominic founded the Order for, was ‘nothing new.’  Yet, he must have had an extra-ordinary, single-minded faith and trust in God, to be able to establish his Order at the time he did; and to disperse the brethren in order to preach the Gospel, so soon after having gathered them together.Today, when we celebrate the mystery of the Transfiguration of the Lord, it is possible to see why St Dominic was so attracted to Jesus.  Dominic, like us, was a pilgrim throughout his life; constantly and tirelessly intent on living according to the truth, […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 7

St Dominic and PrayerAs we continue our Novena to St Dominic, I would like to reflect on St. Dominic’s  Prayer.So deeply was Dominic moved by the LOVE of Jesus Christ Crucified that he strove in all things to imitate Christ, passing the day in apostolic work and the night in prayer.Prayer was the breath of St Dominic’s Life and the light on his pilgrim path. He prayed always and He won more souls by his prayer than by preaching or miracles.Fervent and humble prayer was the sling and stone with which he overthrew the Goliath of Heresy.St Dominic’s methods of prayer known as “The Nine Ways of Prayer” were various. He made abundant use of gestures, genuflections, prostrations and other postures where his soul in prayer used the different parts (members) of his body to foster its own loving ascent to God.In his Seventh posture of prayer, St Dominic was often found standing erect stretching his whole body upwards with his hands joined and raised towards heaven, often he would open his hands as though in receipt of something from heaven.  And it is believed that at such times he received an increase of Grace, obtaining from God the gifts of the Holy Spirit for himself and his brethren.In all labours and disquiets, in hunger, thirst, fatigue, his heart turned always to God.The Friars would hear him praying aloud reciting Psalm 27: V1-2“HEAR O GOD, THE VOICE OF MY PLEADING AS I CALL FOR HELPAS I LEFT UP MY HANDS IN PRAYER TO YOUR HOLY PLACE”By word and example he taught the brethren always to pray like this, using verses from the psalms. (For example the PS 133 VERSE 1-2 ,the  PS 140 VERSE […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 6

St Dominic and the Rosary the easiest means for helping him to pray.It was for this reason that the devotion of the rosary found in him its keenest apostle. His own way of prayer, consisting … of vocal expression of love and adoration, was intermingled with silences; it passed from speech to contemplation as it fixed itself on to the character of our Lord. All these elements are united in the rosary. It was contemplative and vocal. It comprised the saying of Our Fathers and Hail Marys which were checked and noted by a string of beads, a contrivance, of course, older even than Christianity, and already widespread over Europe before his time. St Dominic did not invent these things, though it would seem that he popularised them. To him, however, a papal tradition points as the originator of the division into decades or groups of ten, separated by larger beads called ‘Paternosters.’ Under the influence of the Order these chaplets, at this date, spread widely over Christendom, and are to be found carven on tombs, and are from St Dominic’s time increasingly alluded to in devotional literature.But the mere recitation of prayers would be of no use unless these could be accompanied by a consciousness of God’s presence and of that converse with him that alone gives them a value and makes them efficacious. Hence it was necessary to add the idea of some sort of mystery, some act or scene of our Lord’s life, […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 5

St Dominic’s passion for the salvation of All set himself to win all the souls he could for Christ. His heart was full of an extraordinary, almost incredible yearning for the salvation of everyone.Jordan also tells us:He had a special prayer that God would grant him true charity, which would be effective in caring for and winning the salvation of all; he thought he would only really be a member of Christ’s Body when he would spend himself utterly with all his strength in the winning of souls.Dominic never achieved his ambition to be a missionary to the non-Christian world but he directed the Order to this path. At the Chapter of 1221 it was decided to send bands of Dominicans to three different territories beyond the frontiers of Christendom. Those who were sent with Paul of Hungary asked to go […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 4

St Dominic and St FrancisAt almost the same time that Dominic, in the Church of Our Lady of Prouille at the foot of the Pyrenees, laid the foundations of his Order, Francis was preparing his at the Church of Our Lady of the Angels, at the foot of the Apennines. An ancient sanctuary of the Blessed Virgin Mother of God was for each the humble and sweet cornerstone of their edifice. Dominic cherished Our Lady of Prouille above all other places; Francis reserved for the small plot of land sheltering Our Lady of the Angels a special affection, within the immensity of a heart detached from all visible things. Each began his public life with a pilgrimage to Rome; each returned there to beg the sovereign pontiff’s approbation for his Order. Innocent III at first rebuffed them both, and the same vision persuaded him to grant them both a verbal and provisional approbation. Dominic, like Francis, included within the austere flexibility of his Rule men and women religious and laymen, making of three Orders a single power to fight for Jesus Christ with all the weapons of nature and grace; only Dominic began with women, Francis with men. The same sovereign Pontiff, Honorius III, confirmed their institutions by apostolic bulls; Gregory IX canonized them both. Finally, the two greatest doctors of all centuries have done honour to their memories, St. Thomas for St. Dominic, St. Bonaventure for St. Francis.Yet these two men, whose destinies created such admirable harmonies for both worlds, heaven and earth, never knew each other. Both were in Rome during the Lent when the Fourth Lateran Council […]