dominican-nuns

The Visitation of Our Lady to St Elizabeth

 

Today is the Feastday of two of the most courageous women who have ever lived.

Today is the feast of the inviolable dignity of motherhood.

Today is a feast of the celebration of the beauty and the gift of womanhood – and all that it can be.

Today, in the Church, we rejoice and share in the joy of the whole host of heaven, at the visitation of Our Lady to St Elizabeth.

Picture it:

A young girl and an old woman: both of whom are offered and accept the gift of motherhood in the most extraordinary and incredible circumstances.  Who could believe that it should be God’s will to allow these two – Mary and Elizabeth – to be subjected to the scorn and derision of neighbours and community who may well have been scandalized at what had happened to them.  And all for the sake of His glory?

Behold, Mary.

Until this point in her life, she had been a precious and beloved child of her parents.  They trusted her implicitly; delighted in her goodness; were impressed by the depth of her faith and the way that her friendship with God guided all her actions – so much so that even defined her.  It was a joy and a privilege for Saints Joachim and Anne to be her parents.  She was truly a gift to them from God.

And now this.

A child – little more than a child – with a plan and a dream for her life, in an instant taken from her.  What will people say?  How they will talk!  And when they hear how it happened … … …

Behold, Elizabeth.

An old woman.  Her dream all her married life; her hope and that of Zechariah was that their […]

Through the window of a Dominican Monastery

Last month there was a little reflection on the beginning of our Constitutions.  A further word on it this month seems like a good idea and given the way the world is turning so rapidly from faith and from God – it seems even necessary to pose a question or two about the same article.

We are called to ‘live in harmony …’

The question is:           Do we in fact know how to live?

Do you know how to live?

Do you have a desire to actually live rather than merely exist?

Entering a monastery is a real ‘shock to the system’ – especially in today’s world (which sounds a bit like a cliché).  Nevertheless, so it is.  No iPhones, or smart-phones or ready access to social media … no radio or television except occasionally.

What are the benefits of that?  It’s a very relevant question for people who spend so many hours a day tuned into what people are saying ‘socially’ or ‘virtually.’

What do you discover when you turn off the noise; and stop filling your head with technological, non-stop communication?  What might happen?

Maybe … and in fact it is something that we here would all agree on.  TRUTH.  If there’s one thing you can be sure of, when you give yourself to the Lord in quiet and seeming emptiness (remember it actually isn’t emptiness) the truth bubbles up and speaks to you.

We are nuns of the Order of Truth – Veritas is our motto – so we bear witness in our silence and by our lives that TRUTH MATTERS.  More than that, it can be known and lived.  You can live the truth.  And the invitation is that you neither have to, nor are you expected to […]

A Window into Our Life

Welcome to a new ‘feature’ on our web-site …

 

We shall call it a ‘Window into the Life of a Dominican Nun,’ in a rather loose way.

 

Through this ‘window,’ we hope to give you an idea of what the life of a contemplative nun of the Order of Preachers consists in; to offer some food for thought; maybe also help you to encounter God in a more personal way; and to help any young women who might be discerning a vocation, to understand better who we are and whether how we live, is how they also seek to live, for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

 

The beginning of our Constitutions shows how we are so closely connected to our brothers and sisters in the Dominican Family:

“… the first reason for which we are gathered together in community

is to live in harmony, having one mind and heart in God.

This unity transcends the limits of the monastery and attains its fullness in

communion with the Order and with the whole Church of Christ.”

 

One mind and one heart in God.  It is a rare, rare gift, to live in a community where everyone is intent on loving the Lord with every fibre of their being, especially in a world in which He is for the most part ‘an inconvenience’ and unwelcome.  But here we are, with like-minded and like-hearted sisters, and we each share the same fundamental and consuming desire:

That the Lord may be loved; and that everyone on earth might come to know Him and the immensity of His love for them.

Preparing our Paschal Candle

The Paschal Candle: The Light of Christ

During the Easter Vigil, the Church reads the account of creation as a prophecy. In the resurrection, we see the most sublime fulfilment of what this text describes as the beginning of all things. God says once again: ‘Let there be light!’ The resurrection of Jesus is an eruption of light. Death is conquered, the tomb is thrown open. The Risen One himself is Light, the Light of the world. With the resurrection, the Lord’s day enters the nights of history. Beginning with the resurrection, God’s light spreads throughout the world and throughout history. Day dawns. This Light alone – Jesus Christ – is the true light, something more than the physical phenomenon of light. He is pure Light: God himself, who causes a new creation to be born in the midst of the old, transforming chaos into cosmos. (Pope Benedict XVI)

 

The Cross – “The cross was the first Christian altar, where the first sacrifice was made” (Pope Francis)

Christ yesterday and today; the Beginning and the End

Many of us today do not know God and cannot find him in the crucified Christ. Many are in search for a love, or a liberty, that excludes God. Let us open our hearts to him, Jesus is the truth that makes us free to love.

On the cross the Redeemer has restored to us the dignity that belonged to us, has made us adoptive sons and daughters of God whom he has created in his image and likeness.

 

 

Fear Not!

The Alpha and Omega

The paschal candle represents our Risen Lord.

The Greek letters Apha above the cross and Omega below – the first and the last letters of the greek alphabet – show […]

Saturday 24th March: Visit of the Master of the Order

Some photos from the recent visit of the Master of the Order, Fr. Bruno Cadoré, to our monastery during his visitation of the Irish Dominican Province. He was accompanied by Fr Alain Arnould OP and Fr Gerard Dunne OP, the vicar of the Master for our Monastery.

 

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 […]