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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 […]

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, […]