4th Sunday of Lent Laetare Sunday Reflection

“If I forget you, Jerusalem, let my right hand wither. …”

“We are God’s work of art, created in Christ Jesus to live the good life, which from the beginning He had meant us to live it.”

“… but the man who lives by the truth comes out into the light,

so that it may be plainly seen that what he does is done in God.”

Our Lenten journey has arrived at its half-way point and today, we have been invited to rejoice.

To rejoice, obviously, in the Lord, Who is the source of all our good and of all the goodness around us.

To rejoice, possibly, in the fact that there are only three more weeks left of Lent – with St Patrick and St Joseph to look forward to, who will enable us to break the journey for a while, and thus help us to persevere … …

There may yet be something else in which we are invited to rejoice, possibly less obvious, maybe even unexpected.  But today’s readings, and indeed most of the liturgy we have been celebrating since Lent began, seem to be calling us to rejoice even in ourselves.

St Paul reminds us that “We are God’s work of art, created in Christ Jesus to live the good life, which from the beginning He had meant us to live it.”  And during the week we were commanded by Jesus Himself to love our neighbour as ourselves. …

It is easy to understand such a command to mean that we must love others as much as, or in the same way and to the same degree as we love ourselves.  But could it also dare us to love others as OURSELVES? – that is, is who we […]

Homily preached at Sr M Cathy’s Solemn Profession

   The following homily was preached by Fr John Harris OP at Sr M Cathy’s Solemn Profession:

In the old vocations booklet for the Irish province from the 1950s the photographs go through the various stages of the formation of novices and students. By the second last page one arrives at pictures of the priest’s ordination and first Mass, turning the page, the final picture on the last page was of the graveyard in Tallaght. As if to say once you were ordained then the next major moment in one’s life was the grave. I am not saying today is the last big day in the life of Sr. Mary Cathy and the next stop is the community graveyard on the Chord Road. Or am I? For today you will use those stark words: I promise obedience until death.

At the end of today’s Gospel, we read: When they had done everything the Law of the Lord required, they went back to their own town where the child grew to maturity and he was filled with wisdom: and God’s favour was with him.

And we hear nothing more of him for 30 years, except for the episode in the Temple when he was 12 –  the hidden years of prayer and silent work. We call them the hidden years but also from a human standpoint formative years, years in which in his sacred humanity he grew in maturity.

Today marks a phenomenal flowering, a maturing of Sr. Mary Cathy’s journey of faith. Today Sr. Cathy offers herself totally to Christ. This one sentence of eight words sums up the Thomistic understanding of solemn profession. Today Sr. Cathy offers herself totally to Christ. Today is the triumph of […]

Sr Mary Cathy’s Solemn Profession

On Friday last, 2nd February, although otherwise quite a cold Spring day, the sun shone all day in a beautiful blue sky – symbol of the Sun which was shining in Sr Mary Cathy’s heart and which was visible in her eyes and smile as the day of her Solemn Profession had at last dawned.  She had prepared and longed for this day for many months and now was the moment to make her final commitment as a Dominican Nun until death.


It was a day of joy and thanksgiving for our whole community, Sr M Cathy’s family and our Dominican Family in Ireland.  Fr Gerard Dunne OP, vicar of the Master of the Order for our monastery, officiated and Fr John Harris OP preached the homily, Fr Eamonn McCarthy director of Radio Maria Ireland (a close friend of Sr M Cathy’s) was one of the chief concelebrants at the Eucharist  with 16 other of our Dominican Brothers;  Sr M Cathy’s family participated in the Readings and Prayers of the Faithful, many of her friends attended – several of whom are members of the Legion of Mary.  Many of our local friends joined us for the Eucharist. The Dominican Sisters, Cabra Congregation were represented by Sr Marie Cunningham OP and our friends from the local community of Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal joined us.

Being the 2nd of February, Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple, the Eucharist began with the usual blessing of candles in the cloister and then the community and concelebrants processed to the church.

More Photos available at this link, with thanks to Fr Luuk Jansen OP for his services as a photographer.

The Dominican rite of Solemn Profession is quite simple – the sister […]

The great feast of Mary Mother of God -1st January 2018

The great feast of Mary Mother of God, the world day of peace, the first day of a New Year, New year resolutions, all these came together for me this morning when Father began his homily with this Scripture verse—Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.- I have no idea what he had to say after that. For these words reached me with great force and an immediate question. What things, events, situations, do I treasure and ponder in my heart and why do I do it. ? As I was quietly working in the kitchen I continued to reflect on this Word.  “Where your treasure is there also will your heart be.” What my heart has been most focused on during this past year will reveal to me what my treasure really is. What do my inner dialogues reveal? When I ponder the daily happenings in my life is it  to bring to bear the Word of God on these events, so that God’s  plan for my life may come to full fruition, as I gradually allow his light and truth to shine in my darkness.? Is my focus on listening to the voice of the Lord and as a result of that entering into His Peace. Do I treasure all the happenings of the day, both positive and negative because I know that each of them is a gift through which God is speaking to me if I have ears to hear? Do I believe that God is bringing about His plan both for my salvation and the salvation of the world as I willing assent and respond to His revelation to me moment by moment? I f […]

Christmas Eve Reflection during Vespers 2017


The theme of my reflection, on this Christmas Eve night, is ‘ Peace’. The Order has just established the month of December as the month designated for all its members to pray for world peace and each year the whole Order will focus on praying for peace in a particular area of the world. This year the focus is on Colombia, South America, -that the peace agreement signed in 2016 will become a reality there. Conscious also of the lack of inner peace in ourselves at times  and in people in general, I was led to ponder the title given to Jesus before his birth, that of Prince of Peace,  in the book of the prophet Isaiah, which will be read tonight at Mass:

For there is a child born for us,

a son given to us

and dominion is laid on his shoulders;

and this is the name they give him:

Wonder – Counsellor, Mighty –God,

Eternal- Father, Prince-of –Peace.

Wide is his dominion

In a peace that has no end.( Is. 9: 5-6 )

We long so much for this peace that ‘has no end’. We long for it for ourselves, our families, our communities, our friends and for the world at large. We want Isaiah’s prophecy, which says;

For all the footgear of battle,

every cloak rolled in blood,

is burnt,

and consumed by fire

– we want that to be realised now, without further delay. The Gospel tonight further reinforces this message of peace when it says:

And  suddenly with the angel there was a great throng of the heavenly host,

praising God and singing:

‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to

men who enjoy his favour’

This theme of peace abounds everywhere in the Christmas Liturgy tonight and tomorrow. In the entrance antiphon, Jesus is […]


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.

Distance learning Theology courses are also on offer from our Irish Dominicans

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

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 […]