Recently, Father came to our monastery to fill in for our chaplain while he had to be away–and while he was here he gave us some very good courses on the virtue of hope. This is especially appropriate for Advent, when we wait in hope for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Of course, we had to have a parlor visit with him too!
Father John is working on his doctoral dissertation now, having finished his classes. We pray it will go smoothly for him, and he will finish up with some great work! It is always a pleasure to meet with one of our Dominican brothers, and especially to enjoy the fruits of their contemplative works. Thank you, Father John!
If you’ve been following this blog, you know that we always love to get visits from our fellow Dominicans! Recently, we were blessed with two visits–one from the novices of the Province of St. Martin de Porres (the Southern Province) and another from the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, who recently opened a new house in Waco. So here are the stories!
These four young men came with their novice master, Fr. Francis Orozco, O.P., one afternoon. We had a delightful time hearing their diverse and interesting vocation stories, and we told them ours, too.
Please pray for the perseverance of these novices, and for many more vocations to the Dominican way of life!
A little later, we had a visit from the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. They are teaching at a Catholic high school in Waco, TX (only about 2.5 hours from Lufkin).
You may have heard of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist–a dynamic young community of teaching sisters based in Ann Arbor, MI. We have always felt a special connection with them (in addition to the natural Dominican ties!) because Sr. Maximilian Marie went to college with our sub-prioress, Sr. Mary Rose.
Just as we did with the brothers, we shared vocations stories and other tales with the sisters. It’s always remarkable to see how closely we are related, despite our different places in the Order–preaching friars, teaching sisters, contemplative nuns. But that is part of what makes the Dominican Order so great! We keep our sisters in prayer, that they may teach well and have many vocations–and we hope both the friars and the sisters will pray for us to have vocations, too!
The feast of the Visitation has been called a day for religious sisters to get together and, well, visit. This year we had a little twist on this theme–a visit from our brothers, instead!
As you can see, we made quite a group! Most of our sisters were able to be present, and we had seven friars. Four are still in various stages of formation. Two of these four are novices–our own two novices from the province of St. Martin de Porres (aka the southern province)–and two student brothers, one from our province and one from the province of St. Albert the Great (aka the central province). They were accompanied by the novice master for our province and another priest, and our chaplain joined the fun.
And it was fun! We laughed and laughed at our brothers\’ stories, adventures, and incidents, all told with characteristically Dominican good humor.
We thank our brothers for honoring us with a visit, and only wish they could have stayed longer! But they could only pray Vespers with us and have a quick dinner before heading back to Irving, TX. Still, that was wonderful. We are praying for you all–and for all our Dominican brothers around the world! Y\’all come see us!
Today in the Dominican Order we celebrate the memorial of the Patronage of the Blessed Virgin over the Order of Preachers. As you can see, the traditional image for this patronage shows the Blessed Virgin Mary spreading her cloak protectively over the Dominican saints gathered below (which in this picture happen to be St. Dominic, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Rose of Lima, St. Martin de Porres, St. Pope Pius V, and, well, one young religious we\’re not sure about). This is a popular image among religious orders–we all want to feel that Mary is taking care of us in a special way. And it\’s especially appropriate during this year of pandemic, for one of the attributes of Mary\’s protection is the safeguard against plague. May Our Lady spare us all from the COVID-19 virus and keep us safe under her motherly patronage!
Mary is called \”Seat of Wisdom\” because she bore the Son of God, Who is eternal Wisdom. The Dominican Rhineland mystics of the 14th century (Johannes Tauler, Henry Suso, and Meister Eckhart) had a great devotion to Mary under this title, and also a devotion to Wisdom as personified in the book called Wisdom of Solomon–a book in the Bible that is considered canonical by Catholics and Orthodox believers. Henry Suso especially saw Wisdom as a high-born lady–the kind of lady a knight would want to fight for and praise in song.
\”O chosen Beloved of God, you beautiful golden Throne of eternal Wisdom, allow me, a poor sinner, to speak with you a bit about my shortcomings. My soul prostrates itself before you with modest eyes, with blushing countenance, and with eyes cast down. O Mother of all grace, I somehow feel that neither my soul nor any other sinful soul needs any permission or any intercessor with you. You are a direct intercessor for all sinners. The more sinful a soul is, the more rightfully it thinks that it may approach you. The more wrong it has done, the more rightfully it it crowds forward in front of you. And so, my soul, go forward freely. If your great wrongdoing drives you away, her boundless kindness invites you.\” –from Little Book of Eternal Wisdom by Blessed Henry Suso, OP
Mary, Seat of Wisdom, let us approach you without fear, no matter how much we have sinned. Let us turn to you for guidance and strength, that we may gain true wisdom of heart. Help us to fix our eyes on your only Son, to listen to His voice, and to follow His laws with loving joy.