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The Dominican Nuns in Marbury, Alabama, have just released a video in which Sister Mary Jordan, O.P. describes her vocation journey to the cloistered convent. The video was filmed through the grill by Fr. Benedict Croell, O.P., Vocation Director for the St. Joseph Province, who first met Sister when she was in a high school youth group in a Dominican parish in Cincinnati.
What makes the story interesting is that Sister loved teaching yet she fell in love with the monastic life through reading the book A Right to Be Merry by Mother Mary Francis, PCC. Why would God put this love of teaching into her heart of she could not “use” it in a cloistered convent? Watch the video to find out about her understanding and embracing of spiritual motherhood!
Sister took the name “Mary Jordan” in honor of Bl. Jordan of Saxony, the second Minister General of the Dominican Order. It is probably not well known that St. Dominic founded the women’s branch of the Order before the men’s branch, demonstrating how much the preaching of the Dominicans is and was dependent upon the prayers of the nuns. A shining example of the complimentary relationship between the friars and the nuns is seen in the correspondence between Bl. Jordan and Bl. Diana, who professed her vow of virginity at the hands of St. Dominic himself!
Sister Mary Jordan discovered that her prayerful way of life was in no way incompatible with her desire to teach. For what is teaching but imparting true knowledge to the world? The nuns are the heart of the Dominican preaching apostolate and their prayers, penances, sacrifices, joy and total availability to God are inexhaustible sources of fruitfulness for the Dominican friars, active sisters and third order members. A Dominican friar told the nuns that their presence was a deciding factor in his decision to become a Dominican.
One of the mottoes of the Dominicans is to “give to others the fruits of contemplation.” The silent contemplation of the Nuns bears fruit as their lives become more conformed to Christ, who gave Himself completely for the salvation of souls.
Click here to go to website and watch the video.
Mr. John Tipperman of The Mary Cross Foundation believed that “if you rebuild it they will come again.” And come again they did as the newly renovated St. Felix Oratory in Huntington, Indiana, becomes a new home for the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.
On March 3, 2012, Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese said mass and blessed the newly renovated building where twenty of the sisters, who will soon be teaching in area Catholic schools, will reside.
Built in 1928, the monastery was a Capuchin novitiate named after St. Felix of Cantalice, Italy, who lived from 1515 to 1587. It’s most amazing treasure is the room where Ven. Solanus Casey lived from 1946 to 1956. The former friary was sold almost 30 years ago but even though the building left Catholic hands, the former owners kept Solanus’ room padlocked with his brown habit lying across his bed.
In 2010, the Province accepted its largest class of Novices in 44 years. This year they have 50 friars in formation! The Province of St. Albert the Great also had its largest class of novices in many years.
The Province of St. Joseph has a two hundred year legacy of service to the Church. Friars serve as pastors and parochial vicars in parishes in New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia, the District of Columbia, Ohio, and Kentucky; as teachers, campus ministers, and administrators in colleges, universities, and seminaries; as itinerant preachers, traveling to parishes and schools throughout the country; and as chaplains to monasteries and convents.
May St. Dominic continue to bless the Dominicans with vocations and may Our Lady of the Rosary inspire them with a deep love for God and His Church.
February, 2, 2012, the Feast of the Presentation, was extra special for Sr. Mary Amata, O.P., who professed solemn vows as Nun of the Order of Preachers with the Dominican Nuns of Summit, New Jersey. Placing her hands into those of Sr. Denise Marie her prioress, Sr. Mary Amata made profession of obedience until death.
It had been 62 years since a bishop presided at a profession at the monastery. Bishop Manuel Cruz was the main celebrant and assisted with the veiling but as one of the nuns said, “We have an idea that Bishop Cruz had no idea how many straight pins it takes to keep a nun together!”
During the veiling the beautifully haunting Amo Christum was sung. (You can hear it on the video.) The Dominicans of Summit are an IRL Affiliate Community. Their mission is to pray for the salvation of souls and to support the preaching mission of the Dominican friars.
May God bless Sister Mary Amata with many years of faithful service to her community and to her Jesus.
Recently at Patheos there was an article by Elizabeth Duffy on Mount de Sales Academy in Maryland, run by the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, more commonly known as the Nashville Dominicans, in which the faith is beautifully integrated into every aspect of the educational experience. Duffy writes:
“The Nashville Dominican Sisters have gained a national reputation for helping to facilitate this Catholic Identity wherever the sisters go. Many parents and administrators are wondering, how can we get the Nashville Dominicans to come into our schools and transform them? The Sisters shine a light on the potentialities of Catholic education, but they also point a way for the laity. Christ is the one who transforms us. If he is integral to our lives, he will be integral to our schools. Holiness, not hot air.”
Mount de Sales is living proof that rigorous academics and a vibrant Catholic identity need not be an either/or proposition for our Catholic schools.
The Institute on Religious Life is pleased to announce that it will host a regional conference in Southern California on the topic “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts: The Sacred Liturgy and Consecrated Life.”
The event will take place on Saturday, January 28, 2012 at Sts. Peter and Paul parish in Wilmington, California. Speakers include Fr. Brian Mullady, O.P. and Rt. Rev. Eugene Hayes, O. Praem., abbot of St. Michael’s Abbey in Silverado, California.
As the Church embraces the revised edition of the Roman Missal, it is good to be reminded that “an indispensable means of effectively sustaining communion with Christ is assuredly the Sacred Liturgy” (Bl. John Paul II, Vita Consecrata, no. 95).
This year’s regional meeting will offer reflections on the vital importance of the Sacred Liturgy in the Church’s life and mission, with special emphasis on how Divine Worship relates to the consecrated life in the living out of the evangelical counsels and serving the needs of others.
Everyone—clergy, religious and laity—is welcome to attend this day of spiritual renewal, reflection and affirmation of the consecrated life.
For more information or to register, click here.
Today is the feast of St. Martin de Porres, one of the most beloved saints in the history of the Church. I thought I would share with readers the following excerpt from the homily of Blessed John XXIII on the occasion of St. Martin’s canonization in 1962, taken from the Office of Readings for today:
The example of Martin’s life is ample evidence that we can strive for holiness and salvation as Christ Jesus has shown us: first, by loving God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind; and second, by loving your neighbor as yourself.”
When Martin had come to realize that Christ Jesus suffered for us and that he carried our sins on his body to the cross, he would meditate with remarkable ardor and affection about Christ on the cross. Whenever he would contemplate Christ’s terrible torture he would be reduced to tears. He had an exceptional love for the great sacrament of the Eucharist and often spent long hours in prayer before the blessed sacrament. His desire was to receive the sacrament in communion as often as he could.
Saint Martin, always obedient and inspired by his divine teacher, dealt with his brothers with that profound love which comes from pure faith and humility of spirit. He loved men because he honestly looked on them as God’s children and as his own brothers and sisters. Such was his humility that he loved them even more than himself and considered them to be better and more righteous than he was.
He excused the faults of others. He forgave the bitterest injuries, convinced that he deserved much severer punishments on account of his own sins. He tried with all his might to redeem the guilty; lovingly he comforted the sick; he provided food, clothing and medicine for the poor; he helped, as best he could, farm laborers and Negroes, as well as mulattoes, who were looked upon at that time as akin to slaves: thus he deserved to be called by the name the people gave him: ‘Martin of Charity.’”
The virtuous example and even the conversation of this saintly man exerted a powerful influence in drawing men to religion. It is remarkable how even today his influence can still come us toward the things of heaven. Sad to say, not all of us understand these spiritual values as well as we should, nor do we give them a proper place in our lives. Many of us, in fact, strongly attracted by sin, may look upon these values as of little moment, even something of a nuisance, or we ignore them altogether. It is deeply rewarding for men striving for salvation to follow in Christ’s footsteps and to obey God’s commandments. If only everyone could learn this lesson from the example that Martin gave us.
St. Martin de Porres was born in Lima, Peru in 1579 as the illegitimate son of a Panamanian mother and a Spanish father. Having inherited the dark color of his mother, he was rejected by his father and was therefore raised in poverty. He entered the Dominicans and became renowned for his countless works of charity. St. Martin was the friend of another great Dominican Saint from Peru, St. Rose of Lima, and his bishop for a time was St. Turibius of Mogrovejo.
While I ordinarily would discourage people from reading the National Catholic Reporter, which has been a notorious instrument of dissent for decades, I just came across this Catholic News Service story at their website and encourage our readers to check it out.
The story is about Dominican Sister Mary Diana Dreger, a primary care physician at St. Thomas Family Health Center South in Nashville. Sister Mary Diana continues the legacy of Catholic health care that has been firmly rooted in Middle Tennessee since the Daughters of Charity founded St. Thomas Hospital in 1898.
In addition to working at the St. Thomas clinic since 2007, Sister runs a Saturday clinic at the Dominican motherhouse, and naturally serves as the primary-care physician for about 75 Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia.
Sister Mary Diana strives to put her patients at ease, providing a solidly Catholic witness while dispensing sound health care, not lectures on morality. Even though she is the only sister in Nashville who is also a medical doctor, “I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how welcome I’ve been wearing a habit,” she said.
Contrary to what some may believe, she has found that wearing a habit inspires more trust than skepticism among patients. “Patients are comfortable talking about just about anything with me,” she said.
The congress has as its title “‘Virgo digna Coelo” (“Virgin worthy of Heaven).
Fr. Bernard Ardura, president of the Pontifical Committee of Historical Sciences, explained in a Vatican press conference that “the figure of St. Catherine extends far beyond her own earthly existence and takes on a powerful symbolic value” for the Church today.
In his Oct. 21 announcement, Fr. Ardura said the study of St. Catherine “serves to remind us of the unshakable faith which she possessed and which made her spiritual mother to so many Christians.”
Her example is especially important, he said, as the Church prepares for the 2012-2013 “Year of Faith” announced Oct. 16.
Fr. Ardura went on to explain that the forthcoming congress will be divided into four sessions “to facilitate a more profound examination of the life and influence of the saint” who, he said, “also enjoyed great recognition among theologians, to the point that on October 4, 1970, Pope Paul VI declared her a Doctor of the Church, for her exalted theology and her influence in the renewal of that discipline.”
The first session of the congress will see a contribution from Cardinal Angelo Amato S.D.B, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The second session will be dedicated to the cause of canonization of St. Catherine, including an examination of its documents and a review of models of female sanctity between 1300 and 1400. The third session will focus on the relationship between St. Catherine and the religious orders of her day. “In the fourth session,” Fr. Ardura continued, “we will see how it is possible to study and celebrate St. Catherine today, because her memory has remained alive among Christians and her influence has never ceased to enrich the Church, mainly though hagiographies and literary culture, and in particular thanks to her magnificent Letters.”
On its last day the congress will move to Siena for the inauguration of an exhibition entitled “Catherine of Siena and the process of canonization.” It will also hold its last session there, dedicated to “St. Catherine in art.” Professor Utro explained that the session will take place in the chapter house of the convent of St. Dominic in Siena, and will be presided by Paolo Nardi, prior general of the International St. Catherine Association and curator of the exhibition. Other art historians will also participate, including Diega Giunta, the leading specialist on artistic representations of St. Catherine.
Courtesy of the Vatican Press Office and Catholic News Agency.
There was an interesting interview published in the National Catholic Register earlier this month with Sr. Mary Catharine Perry, O.P., the novice mistress of The Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary in Summit, New Jersey.
What struck me is the way she distinguished her community of contemplative nuns from the Dominican sisters that one more typically finds staffing Catholic schools:
Most of us know Dominican sisters as teachers. Maybe we had them in school. How do you fit into the whole Dominican picture?
The nuns are the “firstborn” of St. Dominic. In 1206 in Prouilhe, France, he gathered together nine women who had been converted from the Albigensian heresy, and they became the first monastery. You might say that they were “Dominican” before they were the Order of Preachers. It was 10 years before the friars came together.
From the very beginning, St. Dominic understood the nuns as integral to the preaching mission of the order. The nuns not only pray for the success of the holy preaching, but our life in community is itself a preaching because we witness to what the brethren preach . . . the reconciliation of all things in Christ.
The nuns ponder the Word, so that, as the prophet Isaiah says, “The word of God may not return empty but may still bear fruit.” Our role in the order is very feminine. We receive the Word, and the Word becomes mysteriously fruitful.
You’re a real, live nun. We usually call religious sisters “nuns” who really aren’t. Why is the distinction important to those of us on the outside of the convent?
Strictly speaking, nuns (moniales) are those who are cloistered. Sisters are those who are in the active life. Until the Code of Canon Law in 1917 only moniales were considered religious.
In the Order of Preachers–the Dominicans–the distinction is important because the nuns have both a spiritual and juridical bond with the friars, and together they are the Order of Preachers. There is no such thing as first and second order like with the Franciscans and Poor Clares. We profess obedience to the master of the order just as the friars do. The sisters, however, while belonging to the Dominican family, have a different relationship. It’s not that they are less Dominican; it’s just the relationship is different.
For more information on the Dominican nuns, or to help support their community, click here.