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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?

A Reflection for the 3rd Sunday of Advent

The third Sunday of Advent is traditionally known as Gaudate Sunday – Gaudate means Rejoice – taken from the entrance antiphon “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice. The Lord is near!”

One may ask if we can really rejoice this Advent/Christmas when our brothers and sisters all over the world are suffering so much as a result of the Pandemic which has left no one untouched. These words “rejoice in the Lord always” are taken from St Paul’s letter to the Philippines which he wrote while in prison.

A Reflection for the 2nd Sunday of Advent

During Advent the Church brings us back in time to the centuries before the coming of Christ – the readings allow us to identify with the sentiments, longings and hopes of the people of the Old Testament who awaited the Messiah. We see how God was at work in their lives, leading them to the truth about their relationship with Him and each other. Last Sunday the Prophet Isaiah presented us with the image of God as Father and the Potter who formed His people. In today’s first reading God is the Shepherd who gently leads His flock, feeding them and gathering the lambs in His arms, holding them against His breast.

A Reflection for the 1st Sunday of Advent

Advent does not mean ‘expectation’ as some may think. It is a translation of the Greek word ‘parousia’ which means ’presence’, or more accurately, ‘arrival’, the beginning of a presence.

His presence has already begun, and we, faithful, are the ones through whom He wishes to be present in the world.
‘The Christ child comes’ in a real sense whenever human beings act out of authentic love for the Lord.

The Feast of Christ the King

In 1925:
Albania became a republic.
Paul von Hindenburg became the first elected head of state of the Weimar Republic.
Hitler published ‘Mein Kampf.’
John Logie Baird performed the first test of a working television.
‘The Great Gatsby’ by F. Scott Fitzgerald; ‘Mrs Dalloway’ by Virginia Woolf; ‘The Everlasting Man’ by G. K. Chesterton; and ‘The ABC of Relativity’ by Bertrand Russell, were among many books to be published.
Marion Harris was singing ‘Tea for two’; and Gene Austin sang, ‘Yes, sir, that’s my baby.’
‘Ben Hur’ was released in cinemas.

And ... In an Encyclical Letter entitled, ‘Quas Primas,’ Pope Pius XI inserted into the Sacred Liturgy, the feast of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Pope St Paul VI would, during his pontificate, re-name the celebration and raise it to a Solemnity, but as another year draws to a close and as we have celebrated again this great feast, we offer some wisdom from Pope Pius XI’s encyclical – which seem to be as relevant today as they were at the time of his writing them.
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