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 […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 3

St Dominic & MosesIn his Libellus, Blessed Jordan tells us that “everywhere Dominic showed himself to be a man of the Gospel in word and in deed” – a man who brought good news and indeed like Christ, his Divine Exemplar, embodied in his own person the good news of the Gospel.No doubt Dominic’s apostolic zeal sprang from his deep interior relationship with God – we are told that he spent long hours, often the entire night, in prayer and always spoke only “to God or of God”. While reflecting on this aspect of Dominic’s life, the first reading at this morning’s Mass caught my attention.  There, we see Moses being enveloped in the cloud, symbol of God’s mysterious Presence and speaking to Him “face to face as a man speaks to his friend.” But this intimate relationship was not solely for the benefit of Moses himself – rather God wanted to use Moses for the work of leading his people from slavery to freedom. God reveals Himself as a “God of tenderness and compassion, slow to anger, rich in kindness and faithfulness, forgiving faults, yet letting nothing go unchecked.”  So Moses has the courage to invite God to accompany them on their journey, to forgive them their faults and sins and adopt them as His own heritage although he admits that “they are a headstrong people.”When we examine Blessed Jordan’s description of Dominic’s character we find similar traits as those of Moses which I have just mentioned.  As a young man he developed a passionate appetite for God’s word- we get the picture of him imbibing Sacred Scripture with eager longing and storing it in the deepest recesses of his mind but like […]

Novena to St Dominic – Day 2

St Dominic – God’s obedient SonRaymond of Capua, Catherine’s confessor and friend, records an extraordinary vision in which Catherin sees the Father begetting the Son. Then the Father speaks of Dominic:Dearest daughter, I am the Father of these two sons; of the One by natural generation; of the other, by loving and affectionate adoption … This Son who is mine by natural and eternal generation, was most perfectly obedient to me  in all things, even unto death, in the human nature which he assumed. So too, Dominic, this son of mine by adoption, shaped every act he did, from his infancy till the last day of his life, by obedience to my commandments. Never once did he disobey a command of mine … and he preached not only in his own person, but through others also; not only in his own lifetime, but through those who followed him. Through these followers the voice of Dominic’s preaching is heard today, and will continue to be heard. For just as my Son by nature sent his disciples to preach, so did Dominic, my adopted son, send out his friars … just as my Son by nature is my very Word, so this adopted son is the herald and bearer of my Word. And so my special gift to him and his friars is understanding of the words I have spoken, and the grace of never swerving from them.

Our New Roof

The work on our Chapel roof was completed during the week and the sisters are delighted to be able to resume praying the daily Office and Mass in the Chapel after two and a half weeks of being relegated to our Conference Room, which was a bit on the squashed side.


Our thanks to the workmen for getting the job done so quickly, and to God for the good weather during the last three weeks, which helped a lot.

This was something of a ‘rush job.’ We had quite a few leaks over the last year (which were manageable with cloths and buckets, and ‘patching’ of the roof) and were planning to re-do the roof in the autumn. Then the leaks got much worse, with a number appearing over the altar, which made the need to repair the roof rather urgent. Luckily the roofers were able to start work a few days after that and we now have a leak free roof.
As you can imagine this has been a costly undertaking so we would be grateful for any contribution, however small, to help offset the expense involved.

Vocation Discernment Weekend

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


We are a little late in putting up our Lenten reflections but we trust that they may still be helpful for those who read this blog.  We are united with the whole Church as we journey through this Lenten season towards Easter..It is that time again, LENT. Like anyone who is bothering to read this blog I am thinking about what I should do for Lent this year. The thought occurs to me that if I rephrase the question I might come up with a more fruitful answer. So I ask myself what do I want Lent to do for me? By the time Easter arrives what would I like to be different about me? How can I make that happen?The season of Lent is God’s gift to us to renew our lives in holiness. By the end of Lent I want to be more aware of God’s love for me and in response to that love to love God more and to reveal his love to others.The word Lent comes from an old English word lencten meaning ‘springtime’. Spring cleaning is a term we are all familiar with. Once the days begin to lengthen and get brighter we get an itch to empty cupboards and wash curtains, to get into corners where dust, grime and dirt may have gathered without our noticing it during the dark days of winter. This image might not be very vivid in our time when electricity provides us with light twenty four hours a day . But think back to a time of candle light and gas lamps. Light that focused on one area and left the rest in shadow and it becomes quite a powerful image for […]