2016 – Sr M Breidge receives the Habit of the Order on the Feast of the Transfiguration
Our joy in celebrating the feast of St Dominic during this Jubilee year was enhanced by the addition of a new Novice to our community.
We share below the homily preached by our Prioress Sr Mairead at the Reception Ceremony.
On this special feast day of the Transfiguration of the Lord, Breidge will receive the habit, adding immensely to the joy of this day.
I realise that instead of trying to speak about this great and beautiful Mystery of the Transfiguration, one would gain much more by entering into the mystery through prayer, and in silence and solitude, allowing IT, on the contrary, to speak to us in the depths of our hearts.
However, as a few words are probably expected, I will attempt to be brief and focus mainly on the importance of prayer in the life of Jesus and its transformative power in our lives as contemplatives.
Luke says that the aspect of Jesus’ face changed and his clothing became as brilliant as lightning, while Jesus was at prayer. Prayer– this intimate personal relationship with Jesus leading to union with Him and communion with the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is in fact the goal of everyone’s life, though sadly, so few are truly aware of it.
Prayer, communion with the Blessed Trinity is given great emphasis in our own constitutions. As early as number 1 in the Fundamental Constitutions ( 1:IV) of the Nuns, bearing witness as it does to the transforming power of prayer, and reminding us at the same time, of the transfiguration of the Lord, it says:
“ Persevering in prayer with Mary the Mother of Jesus, the nuns ardently long for the fullness of the Holy Spirit, so that with unveiled face they may reflect the glory of the Lord and be transformed into his image from splendour to splendour by the Spirit of the Lord (cf 2 Cor. 3:18).”
This scripture quotation( 2 Cor:3:18) is in fact one of the Readings in the minor hours of the Office for this feast.
Gregory Palamas ( 1296 -1359), one of the Fathers of the Church said that it was in prayer that Jesus shone like this, in the company of Elijah and Moses, to show that that blessed vision was the fruit of prayer. The essential events of Jesus’ activity proceeded from the core of his personality and this core was his dialogue with the Father, in other words his prayer.
The Church arises out of participation in the prayer of Jesus (LK 9:18-20; Mt 16; 13 -20). The mountain is always the realm of prayer, of being with the Father. The Transfiguration only renders visible what is actually taking place in Jesus’ prayer; he is sharing in God the Father’s radiance, he is in communion with his Father. When Jesus revealed his glory, giving the disciples a small glimpse of his divine nature- he let them see God dwelling within Him- in order to strengthen them for the forthcoming scandal of the cross.
We may ask have we an example of this transformation/transfiguration through prayer in our own day?I believe we have one in a young Italian teenager, named Chiara Luce ( for light) Badano, who died in 1990 at the age of 18, and who was beatified in 2010.She had been a member of Focolare, and heroically accepted her cancer suffering for love of Jesus forsaken, refusing to take morphine during her last days. Her dedication to prayer and her relationship with Jesus grew progressively stronger and stronger during the two years of her illness, giving her a radiance, remarked on by all who came in contact with her. Everyone loved to be in her company because she radiated peace, joy, and love.She radiated the presence of Jesus within her. Chiara Lubick, founder of Focolare gave her the name ‘Luce’( light) because she was always radiant. She told her that her luminous face showed her love for Jesus.
We pray every grace and blessing on you Breidge as you begin your novitiate and may you radiate peace, joy and love through the grace of the Blessed Trinity dwelling within you. Amen.
2016 – Jubilee of the foundation of the Order of Preachers
Since Advent of 2006 the Dominican Family worldwide has been preparing to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the confirmation of the Order of Preachers, which will happen in 2016. We began this grace-filled pilgrimage by commemorating the founding of the first Dominican community in Prouilhe – the birth place of the Holy Preaching.
The brothers and sisters who minister in the General Curia at Santa Sabina in Rome, in an attempt to give these ten years of Jubilee Pilgrimage a central focus, have decided to group the entire decade of Jubilee years under one general guiding theme, «Woe to us if we do not preach the gospel!» (cf. 1 Cor 9:16). These words of St. Paul, which could be said to be at the heart of our Dominican vocation, will be the guiding light that enlightens our steps as we journey to the Jubilee celebration of 2016. The sub-theme provided for each year offers us the opportunity to focus on a particular dimension of our Dominican life and ministry.
Advent 2006 until Epiphany 2008 was proclaimed as a special jubilee year marking the foundation of the nuns. As each monastery was a place of pilgrimage during this year all the members of the Dominican family were invited to join with the nuns in “giving thanks to God for our Dominican vocation to Praise, to Bless and to Preach God with the Church, in the Church and for the Church”
This past year Advent 2007 to Advent 2008 we remembered the important place that the Holy Rosary has played in the history and tradition of our Order.
As it is the figure of St. Dominic that unites us during these important years, during this year Advent 2008 to Advent 2009, we are invited to pause and focus on the theme: «In the beginning was the Word: Dominic, Preacher of Grace». During this year we the nuns are encouraged to focus in a particular way on Lectio Divina and to study the documents related to the recent Synod of Bishops on “the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church”.
Eucharistic Congress Bell
On Tuesday the 29th of March we had the privilege of welcoming the Eucharistic Congress Bell during its tour of Armagh Diocese in preparation for the International Eucharistic Congress 2012.
Dominican Social Life
On Thursday the 3rd of February 2011 we had the great pleasure of entertaining our Dominican brothers for the afternoon, or rather I should say we had the pleasure of being entertained by them. Nine of the student brothers from St Saviours, Dublin, came to visit, together with their Student Master Fr Dineen, and provided us with an afternoon of music, drama and song. A highlight of the afternoon was their singing “Consider yourself one of the family” (from the musical ‘Oliver’) to welcome/congratulate Sr Mary Cathy who had received the habit the previous day. (We suspect they deferred their customary Christmas visit until the 3rd so as to be able to congratulate Sr Mary Cathy). It was a wonderful afternoon and ended with their joining us for Vespers.
Our New Novice
Wednesday the 2nd of February 2011, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord and world day of prayer for Consecrated Life, was a wonderful day of celebration for our community as Sr Mary Cathy became a novice and received the habit of a Domincan nun. During the next two years she will participate more fully in our community life as she discerns if the Lord is calling her to profession.
Dominican Calendar for 2011 Published
As part of the ongoing effort of the vocations promoters of the Dominican Family in Ireland (friars, sisters, contemplative nuns and lay) to promote a greater awareness of the Dominican charism, we have published a Dominican Family Calendar for 2011 – which will be available in our Dominican priories throughout Ireland.
There are many Dominican Symbols: the habit, the shield, the dog at Dominic’s feet with the torch in its mouth. However, there is only one distinctive mark, a sort of genetic code, for the members of the Order, for the Dominican Family. It is preaching for the salvation of humanity, the ministry of the Word, the mission of evangelisation. The General Chapter, celebrated in Rome wished to remind the whole Dominican Family, Nuns, Friars, Apostolic Sisters and the Lay Dominicans, of this sign of our identity as we approach the Jubilee of 2016. The nuns who dedicate themselves preferentially to prayer participate in the preaching ministry by listening to the Word, celebrating it and proclaiming the Gospel through the example of their lives. Similarly, co-operator brothers join in the preaching ministry through the faithful living out of their profession in the Order.
Prologue: Acts of the General Chapter, Rome, 2010
New Master of the Order
On Sunday, 5th September 2010, the General Chapter of the Order of Preachers elected frère Bruno Cadoré as new Master of the Order. He will lead us during the coming nine years as we continue our pilgrim journey towards the 800th Anniversary of the Confirmation of the Order in 2016.
Since the 2007 Jubilee Year of the foundation of the Holy Preaching of Prouilhe and the first Monastery of Nuns, the Order is engaged in a Nine Year Novena of Renewal under the theme ‘Woe to us if we do not preach the Gospel’ in preparation for the 2016 Jubilee. The theme for 2011 is ‘Preaching and Culture/Community Preaching’.
Sr Niamh’s Solemn Profession
Monday the 31st May 2010, the feast of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth, was a wonderful day of celebration for our community and indeed for the whole Dominican family in Ireland, as Sr Niamh Muireann made her solemn profession as a Domincan nun. She was joined by her parents, family, relatives and friends – many of whom travelled a long distance to be with her. Fr Larry Collins OP, vicar of the Master of the Order for our community, presided at the celebration and fourteen other priests (12 Domincans 2 Carmelites from Sr Niamh’s home parish and 1 Benedictine Monk, Rostrevor) concelebrated the Eucharist – Fr Terence Crotty OP preached the homily. We were also happy that some of the Domincan students from St Saviour’s, Dublin and novices from St Mary’s, Cork, and a Benedictine brother could join with us. Many of the local lay Dominicans were also present.
Our New Postulant
Our celebration of the feast of St Catherine is always a very joyful occasion for our community but this year our joy was even greater than usual – on the eve of the feast we welcomed Cathy into our community as a postulant. The postulants participate in the common life of the community and the novitiate and are gradually introduced to our monastic contemplative way of life.
Cathy received much of her spiritual formation from the Legion of Mary – a lay apostolic organisation founded in Dublin by Frank Duff – while as a member of the Legion she generously dovoted much of her free time to aposolic work. Her many friends in the Legion supported and encouraged her in her decision to embrace the way of life of a Dominican Nun. It is interesting that many of our sisters were members of the Legion of Mary before we entered the monastery. While no longer actively engaged in apostolic work we dovote ourselves totally to God while, following the example of our father Dominic, we bear in our hearts the joys and hopes of all people – especially the poor, lonely, the down-trodden and afflicted.
While we give thanks to God for Cathy’s presence among us we pray that she will have companion postulants in the near future.
Dominican Novices visit us
On Saturday the 2nd of January 2010 we had the great pleasure of a surprise visit from 12 of the 13 Dominican novices from Pope’s Quay Priory, Cork, with their novice master Fr Philip McShane OP. Unfortunately Br Conor had another engagement and was unable to come.
Over the past year or two we had met most of these young men when Fr Gerard Dunne, vocations director, brought them to visit us during their vocation discernment weekends. Indeed we have been remembering them all in prayer – so it was wonderful to meet them all again, clothed the the Dominican habit – now we are able to put names on faces and no doubt will double our prayer for them! At the end of the afternoon they joined us in praying Vespers.
Dominican Calendar for 2010 Published
As part of the ongoing effort of the vocations promoters of the Dominican Family in Ireland (friars, sisters, contemplative nuns and lay) to promote a greater awareness of the Dominican charism, we have published a Dominican Family Calendar for 2010 – which will be available in our Dominican priories throughout Ireland.
Visit of the Meath Harp Ensemble
On Wednesday the 28th of October 2009, Dearbhail Finnegan (Sr Niamh’s Harp Teacher)and her pupils of the Meath Harp Ensemble treated us to a wonderful harp recital.www.meathharpacademy.com
We thank them for a most enjoyable afternoon.
On Friday the 24th April 2009 we rejoiced and celebrated with Sr Clare Marie, giving thanks to God for 50 years of religious profession. While we know that all her large family and extended family were united with her in spirit on this special day, Sister decided on a quiet celebration with the community.
Fifty years ago Sr Clare Marie made religious profession as a Mercy sister and engaged in a very fruitful apostolate as a primary and later secondary school teacher. However in her mid 30’s, once again the Lord called and she generously responded to follow His guiding Hand which led her to our community. At no little cost to herself and her beloved Mercy Congregation she dedicated herself to our Dominican contemplative way of life, making solemn profession in our community on the 1st of January 1978.
When we celebrate anniversaries of professions all of us are led to reflect on the meaning of our own profession. Celebrating 50 years of fidelity of a sister in her vocation encourages us all to serve the Lord with renewed enthusiasm, with joy and thanksgiving.