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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 鈥 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.聽 Who could believe that it should be God鈥檚 will to allow these two 鈥 Mary and Elizabeth 鈥 to be subjected to the scorn and derision of neighbours and community who may well have been scandalized at what had happened to them.聽 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.聽 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 鈥 so much so that even defined her.聽 It was a joy and a privilege for Saints Joachim and Anne to be her parents.聽 She was truly a gift to them from God.

And now this.

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

Behold, Elizabeth.

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

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 鈥榣et there be peace on earth and let it begin with me鈥. We have to be instruments of the peace we want to see reigning in our world. In the light of this morning鈥檚 Gospel Chapter 11 of St. Luke鈥檚 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 […]


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鈥檚 gift to us to renew our lives in holiness. By the end of Lent I want to be more aware of God鈥檚 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 鈥榮pringtime鈥. 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 […]

Dobbie and Star

Sometimes it is good to stand back and remember the high moments of a special occasion, say our Advent and Christmas Liturgies 鈥 but also to recall the homely and seemingly insignificant things that can speak so eloquently of the love God our Father, has for us, his children 鈥 He comes to us in so many ways to reveal the wonder of His Fatherhood, the wonder of Jesus鈥 life and death in order to save us sinners, the wonder of His creation,St. Francis is one of the saints who was very conscious of the beauty of Creation and we are told that it was he who created the first Christmas Crib.But Scripture too has much to tell us as have our poets.  Joseph Mary Plunket鈥檚 poem comes to mind:鈥淚 see His Blood upon the Rose and in the stars the glory of His eyes, His body gleams amid eternal snows, His tears fall from the skies鈥滱nd Isaiah speaks of the peace that will come to the animal world.鈥淭he wolf shall be the guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid.  The calf and the young lion shall browse together with a little child to lead them. Is.11.6.During Christmas week, our homely Lord revealed His wonderful love and care for me through Dobbie and Star who are two homeless cats that wandered into our garden several years ago and decided to make their home with us.  Mother, and we think son, are not noted for their great affection for each other so the following episode was a surprise.A basket had been left outside a door in a sheltered spot and one frosty morning Star was found sleeping peacefully in it.  […]

Happy Christmas

We wish all our readers a grace-filled and peaceful Christmas and we share with you  a Christmas reflection:Christmas Eve Reflection during Vespers  The theme of my reflection, on this Christmas Eve night, is 鈥 Peace鈥. Conscious of the lack of peace in Syria, Iraq, Africa,  the Holy Land and in various other countries of the world and bearing in mind especially the lack of inner peace in ourselves at times  and so prevalent 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 鈥 Counsellor, Mighty 鈥揋od,            Eternal- Father, Prince-of 鈥揚eace.            Wide is his dominion             In a peace that has no end.( Is. 9 )We long so much for this peace that 鈥榟as no end鈥. We long for it for ourselves, our families, our communities, our friends and for the world at large. We want Isaiah鈥檚 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: 鈥楪lory to God in the highest heaven, and peace to                         men who enjoy his favour鈥橳his theme of peace abounds everywhere in the Liturgy tonight and tomorrow. In the entrance antiphon, Jesus is personified […]

O Rising Sun – 21st December 2016

O Rising Sun, you are the splendour of Eternal Light and the Sun of Justice.O Come and enlighten those who sit in darkness; those who dwell in the shadow of death, Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus, come.As I read this very beautiful O Antiphon, a memory comes to mind of long summer evenings spent in the high field 鈥 the moinin ard as we called it 鈥 sitting under a haystack just watching the breathtaking sight of the sun going down beyond the woods and bog lands of our farm in the West.The silence was full, deep and quiet, except for the little birds on their way home to roost and the friendly crickets close by.  But as the last lights faded what a mystery it was to my child鈥檚 mind! Where, oh where had the sun gone?!No grown up鈥檚 explanations prepared me for what was always a fresh experience of another rising sun as it streamed through the trees 鈥 right into my room the next morning.  The chorus of birds as they flew again to the cornfields and the grass glittering with dew drops and diamonds to me.  Even then this scene had power to thrill me with anticipation of something I knew not what! – was it a foretaste of another Rising Sun still unknown to me?What or who is this 鈥楽plendour of Eternal Light鈥 coming to enlighten those of us who sit in darkness 鈥 lost in our own little worlds?  It is the Lord Himself, majestic and glorious 鈥渨rapped in light as in a robe.鈥滳ome then my Lord, my God, teach me where and how to find you 鈥 you who dwell in light inaccessible and I desire to come […]

O Key of David – 20th December 2016

O Key of David and sceptre of Israel, what you open no one else can close again, what you close no one can open, O come and lead the captive from prison; free those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.This 鈥極 Antiphon鈥 that the Church sings this evening at the Magnificat, has its roots like all the other Antiphons in sacred scripture, in this case in Isaiah chapter 22 and in Luke chapter I.Our Lord is addressed as Key of David 鈥 Jesus is Son of David through his foster father, St Joseph, who was of the house of David.  David was the most beloved and important King in Israel鈥檚 history 鈥 鈥渁 man after the Lord鈥檚 own heart鈥 as it says in the Acts of the Apostles.  So Jesus in his human ancestry is truly one of us as he is truly Son of God in his divine nature 鈥渃onceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary by the Holy spirit. (Mt Ch 1)A key is an indispensable instrument for opening and closing a door, so it is a very appropriate symbol with which to address our awaited Saviour. The Babe of Bethlehem, whom we await, did not die because he was born but He was born in order to die 鈥 the Crib and the Cross are closely associated.  By His obedience in suffering His Passion, death and Resurrection, Jesus opened the gates of heaven for the whole human race which our first parents had closed by their disobedience.  There is a lovely Icon called 鈥榯he harrowing of hell鈥 where Jesus on Holy Saturday is seen in His descent into hell and taking  both Adam and Eve by […]

O Root of Jesse – 19th December

Today, we pray the third of the seven 鈥極 Antiphons鈥 leading up to the celebration of the fathomless mystery of the birth of Jesus among us over 2000 years ago:O root of Jesse, set up a sign to the peoples, come to save us, and delay no more.On the first of these seven days, the Church placed on our lips, the plea 鈥榗ome and teach us the way of truth鈥 鈥 on the second day we are called upon to plead 鈥榗ome and save us with your outstretched arm (a truly beautiful concept ),  and now today, with still four more days to  go before Christmas Eve,  we are called to  echo the longing of the peoples over the ages, who suffered such anguish in their waiting for the Messiah 鈥 yes, we are called to this insistent prayer 鈥 鈥榗ome and save us and delay no more.This longing of the ages is expressed so well in one of the Advent hymns:鈥楲ong the ages rolled and slowly to the coming of the Word.  Fervent longings grew more fervent, undismayed by hopes deferred. Weaker spirits sighed and whispered, 鈥淐ould the Lord of all forget?鈥漌hile the prophets scanned the portents, And in patience said, 鈥淣ot yet鈥.So how do we in this day and age, prepare for this great joy of Jesus birth among us which occurred over 2000 years ago?In answer to this question , I would like to share a few thoughts from an article by one of our English Dominicans written many years ago.  He commences by quoting the Scripture text: 鈥淲hile all things were in quiet silence鈥hy almighty Word leapt down upon the earth鈥. Then he goes on to remind us 鈥 In the stillness of the […]

O Adonai – 18th December

O Adonai and leader of Israel, you appeared to Moses in a burning bush and you gave him the Law on Sinai, O come and save us with your mighty power.Our O Antiphon this evening invokes God as Adonai and Leader who appeared to Moses in the burning bush and gave him the Law on Sinai, as we read in the Book of Exodus.  God, the Lord of creation, intervened in the life of his people at a time when they were sorely oppressed and forsaken in Egypt 鈥 when their situation seemed humanly hopeless and Moses himself was fleeing for his life from Pharoah, having killed an Egyptian and buried him in the sand.When we look around us today our situation is no different 鈥 we see people in their millions fleeing for their lives from war and violence; people enslaved in so many ways by the glamour of riches and addictions of every kind; the problem of human trafficking and pornography 鈥 just to name a few.  There are so many people searching frantically for happiness which eludes them and lets them continually disappointed and depressed because they are searching in the wrong places.  Sometimes, like the Israelites in Egypt, we can feel that God has abandoned us or we even question if He really exists.  Yet it was He who took the initiative to reveal Himself to Moses as he went about his daily tasks of attending the flocks and told Moses that He, God, was well aware of the suffering of His people and that He intended to rescue them from their slavery and redeem them with 鈥榦utstretched arm鈥欌 and He gave them the Law, not to enslave them again […]

The Great ‘O Antiphons – O Wisdom – 17th Dec

O Wisdom, you come forth from the mouth of the Most High.  You fill the universe and hold all things together in a strong yet gentle manner.  O come to teach us the way of truth.We are immediately reminded of the wonderful passages in the Old Testament which speak of Wisdom.  There we read of Wisdom as proceeding from God, as being begotten by Him, as being the beloved who at the beginning stood beside Him, assisting at the creation 鈥 鈥榚ver at play in His presence and delighting to be with the children of men.鈥橳hese passages concerning Wisdom can be applied to the Word who in the fullness of time took on our human nature and pitched his tent among us.While in the Old Testament God鈥檚 Wisdom was manifested by His governance of the created universe in a strong yet gentle manner, being lenient and merciful to all because He loves all that exists 鈥 it is in the crucified Christ on the Cross that we experience the full revelation of divine Wisdom, of God鈥檚 infinite love and mercy for us human beings.  As St Paul tells us 鈥淕od鈥檚 folly is wiser than human wisdom and God鈥檚 weakness is stronger than human strength.  In Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge and of his fullness we have all received.  He has become our wisdom and our holiness.鈥 (1 Corinthians)O Eternal wisdom come and teach us the way of truth 鈥 He is Truth itself who leads us to all Truth 鈥 the truth about ourselves, about our world, about situations in which we find ourselves.In spite of whatever pain and contradictions we experience in our own lives and in our […]