We wish everyone a blessed feast of our Holy Father St. Dominic, a most special celebration during this 800th Jubilee!
On the morning of January 25th, during this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, our postulant Sister Chelsea prostrated before Mother asking for “God’s mercy and yours.” This was gladly given as the ceremony of the Reception of the Dominican Habit unfolded. As she began her canonical Novitiate period, Sister also received her new name: Sister Mary Rose of the Pure Heart, a triple invocation of Our Lady, the Mystical Rose. Please keep her in your prayers as she continues to learn and be formed in the beauty of the Dominican life.
Archbishop Thomas Rodi presided over the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at our celebration of the 800th Jubilee of the Dominican Order on April 29th, Feast of St. Catherine of Siena. Bishop Emeritus David Foley of the Diocese of Birmingham, as well as many priests and friends joined us at Holy Mass and the reception afterwards. In his homily, the Archbishop spoke inspiringly of the mission of St. Dominic and St. Catherine to preach the truth being continued in the world today. In gratitude to God for the privilege of our Dominican life, we asked His blessing on all of you who have made our presence in Marbury possible.
One day last spring we received a visit from a retired Colonel who is active in the local community. As he was arranging a musical tour through history, he wondered if we could come and sing some Gregorian chant for his presentation. Sister explained that although we do sing our special Dominican variety of Gregorian chant, in Latin no less, we would not be able to perform for the students because we are cloistered nuns. However, all was not lost—we would be happy to make a recording for him!
June brought our Vocation Retreat, attended this year by eleven young women who travelled from states all across the country: Alabama, Louisiana and Georgia, Virginia and Tennessee, Ohio, Texas and California. Most of the girls had sung Gregorian chant before, and all were eager to grow closer to Our Lord and learn more about our life. Holy Mass, the Divine Office, the Rosary, and talks with the Nuns provided a glimpse of our charism, while the conferences by Fr. Gabriel Torretta, O.P highlighted the profound role of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary at the heart of the Dominican vocation.
Our Second Annual Talent Show on the Feast of Pentecost brought forth performances ranging from the sublime to the – well, “lighthearted,” and many stages in between. The Novitiate presented a skit from the life of St. Hyacinth depicting his miraculous escape from invading Tartars. The Saint was leaving the church with the Blessed Sacrament when Our Lady called to him from her statue beseeching him not to leave her behind. Mary made her statue light enough to carry, and even enabled Hyacinth and his brethren to walk dry shod on the water of the river in their escape. At this point in the narrative, the Sisters introduced a marvelous prop to represent the community of friars following Hyacinth – a coat rack from which a number of black Dominican copes hung!
We had to blink our eyes to realize that the young priest offering the Mass was the same young man whom we had “mothered” with our prayers and sacrifices from seminary days until now. Fr. Christopher Boutin, newly ordained for our Archdiocese, grew up in a town just down the highway, and has been a regular visitor to our chapel over breaks from seminary. Our joy continued to spill over as he gave each of us his first blessing. What a blessing indeed!