Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Southern Star - Autumn Issue now available online!

"Do what you have to do with joy and a loving heart." 

For those of a more poetic bent, the smell of wood fires and the cheerful hum of the fireplace might betoken the warm hearth by which the Sisters gather daily - the Heart of Christ, burning furnace of charity whereby we draw graces to live truly in unity "of one mind and of one heart", as the Holy Rule of St Augustine says.

As the days grow shorter and the light glows softer each passing day of the season, let us keep our minds fixed ever on the splendor lucis aeternae, the splendour of that eternal light Who is the Son of God Himself, Who lights the lamps of heaven even while pointing our feet ever homeward to our eternal home.

Our 2nd issue of The Southern Star is now available for download. In it you will find snippets of news - of life in Rosary Convent and also in St Dominic's in Wanganui, as well as an update on our Motherhouse Building Project.

The newsletter is also available for e-subscription. If you would like to subscribe, simply drop us an email at and we will be happy to add you to our mailing list.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sponsor a Sister for Study - and you might win a prize!

Dear Friends,
To meet our financial needs for the upcoming Semester, the Sisters at Tynong are organising a Raffle to raise the AUD 40,000 that we need to pay for tuition.

Do help us spread the word about our Dominican Raffle, which runs from now till the Feast of St Rose of Lima, 30th August 2015. On that day, three winners will be drawn from the pool of tickets at 2pm in Rosary Convent.

Each ticket costs only AUD 10. Every little bit will help us immensely - most of the young Sisters are still pursuing degrees at both the undergraduate and post-graduate levels, all as part of the process of attaining full registration to teach in our Catholic schools.

Please click on the link on the left, which will pull up a little advertisement with the details of the Raffle and how you can help us.

Thank you and may God bless you for your generosity!

Adoro Te Devote

The Feast of Corpus Christi can never be separated from St Thomas Aquinas, who is remembered with pride and joy by Dominicans as the author of the Office and Liturgy of the Feast of the Most Precious Body and Blood of Christ. The tender and childlike devotion shining through each strophe of verse is matched only by the totality of the gift that God bestows upon those who approach this Sacred Banquet.

The days following Trinity Sunday call particularly to mind the wonderful things of God – O res mirabilis – as the Panis Angelicus hymns so sublimely. Here in Tynong, the Sisters have had the extraordinary privilege of having the Feast of Corpus Christi celebrated in a grand way: a Solemn High Mass and Procession of the Blessed Sacrament across the whole span of St Thomas Aquinas College grounds was celebrated; the parish church of Corpus Christi had the 40 Hours Devotion and its attendant liturgies and devotions crowned by the First Holy Communions of 26 Year 2 boys and girls on Sunday, followed by a procession from the Church to the Convent.

For the Sisters too, Corpus Christi was a day of rejoicing – we welcomed our newest postulant, Miss Catherine Ryan, who hails from New South Wales, to our growing family. This brings the number of Sisters currently residing in Rosary Convent to the very nice prime number of 19. More Sisters may mean less room in our already very cramped Refectory and Chapel, but it also means more hands lifted up to Heaven to draw down graces from the throne of God.

Christ is to us, as He was to the disciples at Emmaus, the companion of our journey, God with us. For Dominicans especially, devotion to the Holy Eucharist is part of the very fabric of Dominican life and spirituality. Scarcely has the day begun before the bell calls us to prayer in the chapel, where we beg God’s blessing for the day while we cast ourselves upon our knees in adoration and throw, as it were, both body and soul into the worship of Uncreated Beauty.

O Sacrum Convivium… O Sacred Banquet, in which Christ is received, the memory of His Passion renewed… these are the words that spring from our lips each time we assemble in choir to offer to the Triune Godhead the sacrifice of praise, the Divine Office. Thus gathered before His Presence, we incline ourselves profoundly in adoration of the Sacred Mysteries wrought by God, acknowledging the greatness and the goodness of He Who loves us, uniting our voices with that of the angelic chorus that cry Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus unceasingly before the throne of the Divine Majesty.

Before the Tabernacle, let us enter into that darkness of Faith and into the sacred silence of the Eucharistic mystery. The little door of the Tabernacle opens into the Infinite, and the life that pulsates in the Host is that of the Heart of Jesus Christ, in Whom every prayer and work of ours both begins and ends, the sum and term of our Christian life upon this earth. The Lord of Hosts, Verbum supernum prodiens – the Word of God proceeding forth – tiny and Immaculate, descending lightly into the hands of His priest.

Adoro Te…! Such the cry of the soul who approaches the altar to receive her Lord and God, whose very marrow revolves around and is sustained by the Bread of Life Himself. Let us then go before the Golden Door – the door of the Tabernacle – and say to Him Who dwells within, “In Thee I put my trust.”

(More pictures to come soon... stay tuned!)

Friday, May 22, 2015

A Rose Garden for Our Lady

There is a well-loved story from the Lives of the Brethren that offers much consolation for those who wear the habit of our Order. Our Holy Father St Dominic, being one day granted a vision of Heaven, looked in vain for his children among the heavenly court. Being distressed, he appealed to Our Divine Lord, Who gestured to His Mother, saying, “I have given your Order to my Mother.” The Queen of Heaven then opened her mantle to reveal a company of white-clad religious – safely sheltering under her maternal heart!

The month of May is, as always, a most lovely month dedicated to the Queenship of Mary. Here at Rosary Convent, efforts to honour her as principal patroness of our swiftly growing novitiate this month have included both active works and contemplative ruminations on the special place that she holds in Dominican life.

The month opened with the Sisters lustily singing a Marian “entrance” hymn accompanied by Sr Anna on the organ for each Holy Sacrifice offered daily upon our humble altar. 7am is possibly not the best time to be singing hymns, but we’ve managed so far to keep our veils on while thumbing through the hymnal and croaking along to the dulcet sounds of a very subdued organ.

We also honoured St Joseph’s feastday on May 1st with a Rosary procession that took us up to Corpus Christi and back again down the hill. Mother’s determination to not have yet another recreational dinner - in the community room, outside the refectory - was unfortunately bulldozed by even more determined Dominican novices who insisted that a 1st class feast could not possibly be passed over!

The 2nd year novices took up the slim volume of St Louis de Montfort’s The Secret of the Rosary for their Spirituality class this month – it is certainly delightful to read of the power of the Rosary and all the graces that Our Lady has obtained for her children through the centuries simply by the recitation of the Angelic Psalter. And for those who despair of ever being Scholastics, the humble Rosary – which is after all, materially speaking, a little child’s plaything of beads strung together – is an even greater weapon than all the eloquence and learning that can be put together by men.

In school, the Sisters have also opened the treasury of divine grace by encouraging their students to enrol in the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary. The Rosary by itself is one of the most richly indulgenced prayers by the Church, and when joined together by the prayers and sacrifices of a spiritual community of tens of thousands of souls past, present and future, makes for a most happy prospect of growing not just in love for our Blessed Mother, but also for the much-needed graces to do one’s duty of state with constancy and fervour.

The Sisters also made the pilgrimage to Hampton for their annual May procession of the Blessed Sacrament in honour of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour. With the weather surprisingly genial and the Sisters swelling the ranks of the choir up in the tiny choir loft, it was a most beautiful Solemn High Mass celebrated by Fr Elias, assisted by Fr Black and Fr Johnson.

Unfortunately, May also means the beginning of very wet weather here in Tynong. It takes much fortitude and blind trust in God’s Providence to patiently await the day when the little mud flat by the girls’ block will have the first spade of sod turned once more with the commencement of actual building!

May is not quite over yet! So do join us in besieging and beseeching the Queen of Heaven for fair weather and the necessary funds to build the whole of the new Convent. 

We might miss the sheep and kangaroos currently sharing our neighbourhood, but new lodgings are sorely needed!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Signadou Snippets: March & April

Feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas

"St Thomas Aquinas Feast day was very exciting. The juniors (years 7 -9) had to prepare and practise their speeches and the seniors (years 10 – 13) had to prepare debates. We had approximately one week to get ready. It was very stressful and tiring putting it all together. As third speaker I had to repeat the points of the negative side, sum up our team case and end up the whole debate. I was very nervous. My knees were shaking when I got up to speak. My house team Prouille won over all. We all had an enjoyable and intellectual feast day. St Thomas Aquinas, pray for us!"   (a boarder of Signadou)

This day was celebrated by debates and speeches which were judged and house points were given.   The speech and drama teacher of some of the girls judged the debates and Reverend Father Bochkoltz judged the speeches.

The debate topics were:
1) Schools should not have a school uniform
2) Catholics should spend less time listening to classical music
3) It is better to watch Shakespeare than to read it
The topic for the junior speeches was “How to become a Saint” - a topic everyone was eager to receive advice on!

Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows

The school's day of recollection fell this year on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.  It was a perfect day to prepare for the upcoming Holy Week and the priests gave inspiring conferences on the Sorrows of our Blessed Mother, as seen in the stations of the cross. The children also attended a sung high mass, stations of the cross and several rosaries throughout the day.  With the time being spent in silence, it afforded a great opportunity to ponder and meditate upon the sorrowful mysteries.

Feast of the Annunciation

On the Feast of the Annunciation, the Children of Mary received many aspirants to the sodality, including several boarders of Signadou.  Following the reception ceremony was Benediction and a sung Mass of our Lady. The girls then happily gathered for a reception afterward. May they persevere in their good intentions!


"We were woken at 4.30am by the beautiful National Anthem played by one of the boarding school helpers on the violin. I was pretty excited as it was my first time going to an ANZAC Day Service. ANZAC Day is a day where New Zealanders and Australians come together in their towns to pray for and remember the soldiers that have died for their country in the past wars. There is a march of all soldiers current and old, to a memorial icon called a cenotaph. It is a very special day. By the time we got there, I saw tons of people coming out of their houses looking like they just woke up. There were lots of groups in uniform and we were one of them, proudly representing our school. We finished off by going to Holy Mass."  (a boarder of Signadou)      

Feast of Saint Catherine of Siena

On the Feast of St Catherine the girls competed in a small inter-house competition. It is a special feast day for the Dominican Sisters and pupils and after the school Mass there was to be a shared lunch for the Feast & Sister Mary Bernard’s first profession ceremony.

Before Mass the girls divided into their houses and employed their feminine skills in a spirit of teamwork to see which team could produce the most attractive table for the festivities. Each team had to utilize their team colour and so a red (Bologna), a blue (Prouille) and a gold (Calaroga) table appeared after less than an hour. Though it was difficult to judge, Prouille was awarded the first prize for best table and best teamwork, with Calaroga coming in second and Bologna third.

 The Feast of St Catherine is a perfect feast for a Dominican religious profession to take place upon. St Catherine is an incredible saint, who received the crown of thorns, the stigmata and the bridal ring from Our Lord and she is not only a model for Dominican Sisters, but is also a special patron of this particular congregation. 

Therefore it was fitting that our novice, Sr Mary Bernard (who is also the PE teacher for the girls at school), make her first religious vows of poverty, chastity and obedience on this special day.   Mother General came all the way from Australia to receive the vows of the newly professed and the confessor for the sisters, Reverend Father MacPherson, presided over the ceremony and preached a brilliant sermon on the religious life. It was a special event for the students to be able to witness such an important step in the life of a religious and all of the girls were all delighted to give Sister Mary Bernard their affectionate congratulations. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Southern Star - Our newsletter is now available online!

Alleluia, Christ is Risen! Happy and blessed Eastertide!

"Easter is both a culmination and initiation. For this year Lent is done, "the rain is over and gone," we have finished for the time being our re-living of Passiontide and are now concerned with Christ's glory and triumph; but they in their turn lead on to something further: the pattern of sacrifice is not completed until the divine life is brought to those who offer it; passion and death and glory all lead on to the coming of the Spirit, to the pentecostal fire."
- The Son's Course, by Fr Gerald Vann, O.P.

"If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world on fire."
-- St Catherine of Siena

 The Southern Star Issue#1
With that in mind and the flaming torch of Truth ever before our eyes, this Eastertide was made ever more joyful with the official launch of our newsletter, The Southern Star, on Wednesday of the Easter Octave. 

In it can be found a letter from Mother Prioress General, news from both New Zealand and Australia, and also a little update on our building project for the new Motherhouse and Novitiate in Tynong.

The e-version of Southern Star Issue #1 is now available for download. Simply click on the link above or on the cover page on the left to access the PDF copy online. Happy reading!

If you would like to e-subscribe and receive the newsletter on a regular basis, do send us a request at astarinthesouth@gmail.comOur postal address is in the newsletter if you prefer a hard copy.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sisterly Happenings at Rosary Convent

“The whole Church enjoys the help of the Heavenly Doctor, 
but Dominic’s Order shines with special glory” 

(Matins Antiphon, Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas).

On the 7th March we celebrated the Feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelic Doctor of the Church and famous Dominican. Saint Thomas received the Dominican Habit while quite young and studied philosophy and theology under Saint Albert the Great. He is perhaps best known for his writing of the Summa Theologica (or a summary of the Catholic Doctrine). He never studied without first praying, and is the patron of all Catholic Schools.

We celebrated Sister Mary Thomas’ feast day at Rosary Convent with an abundance of home-made pizza and a ‘Summa’ cake (compliments of talented postulant, Miss Alexandra Reis). The priests also came to join us in celebrating one of our great saints as he is also the patron of the SSPX school here in Tynong.  


The highlight of the day was the news that the long awaited permit for the building of our new convent had been approved! Our novena to St Thomas has been answered!! With this news, the building of the convent at 1 Tynong Road, on the school grounds, can finally move forward. Father Fullerton (SSPX District Superior) will be meeting with us this week, in the hope of signing the contract so the building can begin.

We are now praying a novena to Saint Joseph for funds to build the remaining portion of the convent. Thanks to the continued support of our benefactors, we have approximately enough to build one-third of the convent. 

Meanwhile, we remain in good spirits while making do with the cosy living quarters of our temporary chapel and convent arrangement, filled with our friends, the caterpillars, spiders, and the kangaroos who knock on our window (well, almost!). We were excited to receive three new cabins in January, allowing us to receive the young ladies who wish to try a Dominican vocation. Life in the cabins often demands bravery beyond the call of duty. One of the Sisters has counted 16 huntsman spiders in and around the convent in the last two months.     

We have also made some improvements to our Chapel. Sister Mary of Compassion, our Sacristan, has been working with benefactors to acquire new vestments, tabernacle veils and altar covers, beautifying the chapel for the Lenten season.

We’d finally like to thank everyone for their generosity to us with donations and prayers. We are continuously praying for our supporters and their intentions. God bless, Our Lady guide, and Saint Dominic protect!