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Prayer to St Dominic

Happy Feast of St Dominic!

During the our Novena to St Dominic (the 9 days leading up to his Feast Day on the 8th of August) we sing an English translation of the latin 'O Spem'; a prayer to St Dominic referring to his promise on his deathbed that he would continue to intercede for us in heaven.
Here is a short clip of us singing that prayer.

Novena to St Dominic - Day 3

Dominic on his deathbed bequeathed to his brethren, as their rightful inheritance, his last will and testament saying: “have charity, guard humility and possess voluntary poverty.” This was the path which led him to holiness and he was and is inviting us his sons and daughters to imitate him as he imitated his Saviour, Christ Jesus.

Novena to St Dominic - Day 2

After a long preaching tour in Northern Italy, brother Dominic falls gravely ill in Bologna. It is July 1221, and the town is so stifling, humid and hot that there is no hope of improvement for Dominic’s health. The decision is made to carry Dominic to a small Benedictine hermitage on the hillside outside Bologna.

As he feared being buried in the Benedictine monastery where he had stayed, he begged to be carried anew among his brethren. Once he was back in town and settled in one of the convent’s cells, he was asked whether he wished to be buried next to the relics of this or that saint. Dominic gave this superb answer: “God forbid that I be buried except under the feet of my brethren.”

Novena to St Dominic - Day 1

As Dominicans we treasure what few writings Dominic has left us and those words of his of which there is a record, especially his last words. As Nuns of the Order we hold dear his letter to the nuns in Madrid, but there are two words in particular which should be written on our hearts and woven into the very fabric of our beings and it is on these two words that I would like to reflect this evening.

St Oliver Plunkett and our Monastery

Today is the anniversary of the death of our first prioress - Mother Catherine Plunkett, a grand-niece of St Oliver Plunkett.

One hundred years ago last week, on the 28th June 1921, St Oliver’s head, which had been entrusted to the nuns of this community, was translated to its new home, the shrine in St Peter’s Church in Drogheda. The nuns were sorry to relinquish this precious relic, especially given the community’s close association with the beloved saint.

Feast of the Birth of St John the Baptist

St. Paul said, “Consider your own calling, brothers and sisters. Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God.”

The Feast of the Immaculate Heart of May

Blessed is she who believed (Lk 1:45)

In the parable of the sower, Saint Luke has left us these words of the Lord about the "good soil": "These are the ones who when they hear the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patient endurance" (Lk 8:15). In the context of Luke’s Gospel, this mention of an honest and good heart which hears and keeps the word is an implicit portrayal of the faith of the Virgin Mary.

The Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ

Gathering today to celebrate the Liturgy and receive the Body and Blood of Christ will literally be for many a feast. After such a long period of forced fasting and deprivation, to receive the Food to sustain our life in Christ is akin to providing nourishment to famine victims.
I was privileged during the past two years to listen to many people who were grieving deeply and feeling bereft because they could not attend Holy Mass and receive the Eucharist.

Novena to St Catherine - Day 7

I was wondering recently if there are Anam Cara’s in Heaven? Maybe! Why Not!
And if some of our prophets from the Old Testament may have already been drawn towards Meister Eckhart & Catherine of Siena and indeed to our modern day mystics----- a meeting of very different cultures ------different languages etc. And yet we know that heart language speaks louder than the spoken word.
Let us have a look at a quote from Meister Eckhart.
“We have within us a nameless transcendent depth which we call the ground of the Soul. The ground is a kind of hollow chamber, an empty space in which the Word can be spoken “

I think Eckhart would understand Catherine when she prays in her own inimitable way.

Novena to St Catherine - Day 6

When we reflect on the life of St. Catherine of Siena, we are struck by the depth of her contemplative prayer united with her unbelievable apostolic zeal amid her own personal spiritual and physical suffering. Having lived a solitary life of contemplation for some years, the Holy Spirit led Catherine to understand that the love of God cannot be separated from serving others. ...

Novena to St Catherine - Day 5

As we continue our novena in honour of St Catherine during this time of pandemic ask her to intercede for all the needs of our Church and our world at this present time. Indeed the state of the Church and world in Catherine’s day was no different – schism in the Church, the Black Death, factions among various states etc. Yet Catherine never lost sight of God’s infinite Mercy as is evident from the following passage from The Dialogue:

Sr Breda's Vocation Story

To mark this year's 'World Day for Consecrated Life' (2nd February), we decided to share this Vocation Story from one of our Sisters.

“There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised in the Gospel by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and speak to others of our friendship with Him.” Pope Benedict XVI.

One can say the same about a vocation to religious life and it is this which prompts me to share my own vocation story!

Christmas Eve Reflection

Having focused on the observance of silence during Advent with Mary as our model and example, I would like to reflect a little further on Our Lady, the Mother of Jesus, our Saviour, who will be born tonight.

Our most recent Apostolic Constitution on Contemplative life by Pope Francis – Vultum Dei quaerere, ( Seeking the face of God) states that:

“Mary was able to receive the Word because she was a woman of silence – no barren or empty silence, but rather one rich and overflowing. The silence of the Virgin Mother was also full of love, for love always prepares us to welcome the Other and others."

O King - 'O Antiphon' for the 22nd of December

O King whom all the peoples desire,
you are the cornerstone which makes all one.

Our 'O' Antiphon tonight is about a King who became an infant - not an infant who became a King. Here we hear echoes already of the Beatitudes - Blessed are the poor in spirit. As usual Jesus turns things upside down. He exposes the stupidity of pride and proves the wisdom of humility.

He could have assumed our nature in adult form and proceeded swiftly to His task, but He chose not to.

O Rising Sun - 'O Antiphon' for the 21st of December

O Rising Sun
You are the Splendour of Eternal Light
and the Sun of Justice
come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and
in the shadow of death.

A few day ago one of our Sisters showed me a photo of some Canadian square with a Christmas tree. We were shocked by the thousand of electrical lamps in that square, shining all around. I ponder if people seeking for light, does this light help them to find a real happiness? Today there is less faith in the world but more people seeking to switch-on lights.

O Root of Jesse - 'O Antiphon' for the 19th of December

O Root of Jesse set up as a sign to the peoples, come to save us and delay no more.

Yes, today we call upon God to save us and delay no more, this theme is prominent in all the Liturgy of this season. People through the ages right up to the present day either explicitly or implicitly have called upon God to save them – but the marvellous truth is that our loving Father in heaven wants it infinitely more than we could ever conceive in our finite minds and hearts. So much does He thirst for all peoples to be with Him for all eternity that He sent His only begotten Son into the world to be our Saviour and Redeemer.

O Adonai - 'O Antiphon' for the 18th of December

Was is St Thomas Aquinas who observed that the Law and the commandments laid down for the people of Israel, and even the new law of the Gospel, would kill, if it had not been for the grace and the mercy of God, revealed in and by Jesus?

The Gospel passage we heard this morning at Mass, of Joseph’s intention to quietly divorce Mary so as not to draw down scandal – and even death – upon her, seems to make this observation a startlingly real fact – it seems to manifest the logical consequence of transgressing the law, or of rigidly observing it.

O Wisdom - 'O Antiphon' for the 17th of December

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.

The Genealogy of St Matthew’s Gospel, which we read this morning at Mass, always evokes St Paul’s exclamation in his letter to the Romans: “O the depths of the wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable are his judgments, how inscrutable his ways! To Him be glory for ever, Amen.” (Rom 11:33). Which one of us would have chosen a harlot, a prostitute, a murderer and adulterer as fitting ancestors of the Eternal Son of God?
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