Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Signadou Snippets - October 2014

A Warm Welcome to:

Marie-Jeanne and Domitille

Marie-Jeanne and her daughter, Domitille, are originally from Haute-Savoie, France, but have currently been living in New Caledonia. They are spending three weeks with us. Domitille is attending school, and Marie-Jeanne is helping with the French classes and in the boarding house.

Sr. Mary Anna

Sr. M Anna has come from the Rosary Convent in Tynong to do her second practicum at St. Anthony’s Primary school.

The New Addition to the Convent

We are pleased to announce the much needed addition to the convent. On October 14thMother Madeleine and Sister Catherine went to Auckland to pick up the 2006 Ford Transit. This bus will be very useful with our upcoming school camping trip.

Inter-House Netball Competition

On October 7th, St. Dominic’s had an inter-house netball competition. After a shared lunch, the three teams played against each other to gain points for their house.

The scores were:  Bologna vs Calaroga: 9-4
                    Bologna vs Prouille: 10-5
                    Calaroga vs Prouille: 8-4

Inter-House Music Competition

On October 17th, St. Dominic’s College had their Inter-House Music Competition. The competition began with all three houses singing Some Folks Do with each giving it their own personal touch. 

Calaroga came in first place; 
Bologna came in second, and Prouille came in third. 

The girls then had the chance to compete in the individual/small group competition. There were four categories: Junior Vocal, Junior Instrumental, Senior Vocal, and Senior Instrumental. 

Many thanks to Sr. M Anna who had the difficult job of being the adjudicator. She ended by giving the girls wonderful advise and encouragement on improving both vocal and instrumental pieces.

Our Lady of Fatima Procession

On October 13th, we had the opportunity of attending a procession to the statue of Our Lady of Fatima. I processed with the Children of Mary behind the Sisters We sang hymns and prayed the rosary during the procession. This is a great way to honour Our Lady on her special feast day.
Our Lady of Fatima,
Pray for us.
~ Student of St. Dominic's College

History Play

On October 15th, the Form 1 & 2 girls wrote and performed plays explaining two of the mysteries of Faith: The First Battle and The Last Judgment. 

Eucharistic Crusaders' Ceremony

On October 23rd, the Eucharistic Crusaders partook in a ceremony to receive their badges and their cloaks. In becoming a Crusader and a Handmaid, the girls made promises in regards to fulfilling their Catholic duty such as saying the rosary each day, spiritual reading, and making sacrifices. 

Singing with the Sisters

We always look forward to recreation with the Sisters. We especially love the ‘Musical Recreation.’ The Sisters all have lovely voices. It is very fun to sing with them. Every second we spend with the Sisters  are surely to be enjoyed. It is really great having Sister Anna here as well. She is a great pianist; she also has a really good voice. We sang many songs during recreation such as ‘Drunken Sailor,’ ‘Polly Wolly Doodle,’ and ‘The Gypsy Rover.’ We also played many instruments such as the triangle, a tiny drum, and the maracas. It was like the ‘Sound of Music’, but even better!

~ Signadou Boarder

 On October 19th, the boarders released 
the premiere of:

Boarders: The Movie

A movie explaining how the boarders use to be and how they changed.

A Day at the Zoo

On the 22nd of October, we had the chance to go out of school and go on a school field trip. Yay! It was a reward for having doubled our quota for the Bike-a-thon fundraiser. We decided to go to the Wellington Zoo and see all the animals. Our trip to the zoo took approximately four hours, and during the van ride there, we had lots of fun; we sang, we ate, and we talked. We did not get bored at all because we enjoyed each other’s company. We encountered some car problems, but we made it there anyways. At the zoo, we were able to see many animals. Most of them I have never even seen before such as the giraffes and the kiwi birds. After the zoo, we went to the dairy and bought a lot of food. The trip back was also fun. We ate lots of food. It was a very fun day!
~Signadou Boarder

New Caledonia Day

Marie-Jeanne and Emeline put together 'New Caledonia Day' for the boarders on October 27th where they were encouraged to speak French throughout the day. Marie-Jeanne first taught the girls about sand art, and they had a lot of fun using their creativity to create different artworks. The girls then took turns in the kitchen with Emeline learning how to cook a traditional New Caledonian dish - Bougna. The refectory was decorated with New Caledonian décor. The tables were then pushed aside and lunch was serve picnic style. After lunch, Marie-Jeanne and Emeline set up a movie (in French) for the girls in the recreation room. The girls had a lovely day! 

The Feast of Christ the King

On October 26th, the Feast of Christ the King, St. Anthony’s had a beautiful Eucharistic Procession following the Sung High Mass. The boarders processed with the Eucharistic Crusaders and the Children of Mary. The first part of the procession was to a beautiful, hand-made altar where Benediction was given. The procession continued around the block of the Church and then made its way back to the outside of the church to another beautifully made altar where Benediction was given and the faithful were able to adore the Blessed Sacrament. After the procession, the Form 1 & 2 girls and boys gave speeches about Eucharistic Miracles that they have been studying in their Catechism class. All the students did a wonderful job!

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Month of the Holy Rosary at Tynong

The month of the Holy Rosary has always been a time of special spiritual joy for Dominican religious communities and their associates, and is crowned by the beautiful feast day of Our Lady of the Rosary on October 7. It is the patronal feast of Rosary Convent and a first-class liturgical celebration for the entire Dominican order, and it was certainly greeted with much anticipation by our sisters.

The Office for this day recounts in detail each of the various mysteries of the holy Rosary as well as some of the glorious prerogatives that crown our Blessed Mother; namely her Divine Maternity and position as Mediatrix of all graces.

“Approach, ye nations; roses rare to gather from these mysteries fair; and thus plait crowns in heaven above for her, the Mother of fair love. Glory be given to the Trinity, Who through each sacred Mystery, on those who pray may graces rain, that they to glory may attain.” (From the Vespers hymn of October 7 from the Dominican breviary). 

 Pope St. Pius V (a Dominican) instituted this feast, under the title of "Our Lady of Victory," in thanksgiving for Our Lady's response to the Christian nations who had been tirelessly reciting the Rosary for the intention of a victory over the Turks at the Battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571. 

In 1573, Pope Gregory XIII changed the title to the "Feast of the Holy Rosary” and appointed the first Sunday of October for its celebration. Later on, Pope Leo XIII, moved by the sorrowful trials under which the Church groaned during his pontificate, raised this feast to one of the second Class with a new Mass and Office. 

Commonly known as the Pope of the Rosary, he wrote thirteen eloquent encyclicals on this devotion and encouraged its devout recitation as a means to combat the diverse moral and political evils that plagued societies and families in his day.

Additionally, the familiar tradition of the Holy Rosary being entrusted to St Dominic as a fruitful weapon in his attempts to extinguish heresy and immorality highlights the character of this devotion as an essential weapon in spiritual warfare. This devotion and feast day were clearly instituted and celebrated for centuries in honour of Our Lady's protection over the Church both from heresy within and from insidious attacks without.  

May we then turn to our Immaculate Queen in these times marked by countless assaults against the Catholic Church and the true faith, entrusting ourselves to the Blessed Virgin's intercession.

A whole array of saints also surrounded our Blessed Mother during this grace-filled month. On October 3rd, we delighted in the feast day of St Thérèse of Liseux, patroness of the missions and of our very own Sister Marie Thérèse. A celebratory cake in the shape of a Cross served as the feast day centrepiece and a reminder of the countless loving sacrifices made by St Thérèse in her desire to aid the divine work of Redemption. We hope fervently that this Carmelite nun, one of the greatest saints of modern times, would intercede for our humble missionary efforts down under in Australia, which until recently has been classified as a missionary country. 

The celebrations continued on October 4th, the feast day of the Seraphic Patriarch St Francis of Assisi. He is especially honoured by the Dominican order as a beloved friend of St Dominic and a fellow labourer in Christ’s vineyard, and we greatly rejoiced with Sister Mary Francis on the occasion of her first name day.

 A chocolate-covered cake ingeniously put together into the shape of a Cathedral was a lovely surprise for Sister Francis, who, like her glorious predecessor, is called to labour in the apostolate and rebuild the Church of Christ (albeit, we presume, in a more obscure and hidden manner).

October 23rd witnessed another new development in the construction process of our new convent. Our superiors journeyed down to the town of Sale for the relatively enjoyable task of selecting new colour schemes for the buildings. Black, cream and various shades of white were the dominant hues chosen alongside timber for the flooring, reflecting the colours of our order as well as fulfilling the requirements of tasteful simplicity.

 An in-house rosary crusade also began at this time as we urgently pleaded for the intercession of the Queen of the Rosary. This took the form of a novena which ended on the feast of Christ the King. Realising all too well the great need for more donations, for dry weather to finish the foundations and for the approval of our building permit, we recited our beads and had recourse to the unfailing aid of prayer.  We ask too for our dear readers and benefactors to continue their prayers and generosity in this campaign to finish the Mother-house in time, especially as we welcome at least 4 new postulants for 2015. In the meantime, new cells and a new refectory will have to be carved out from the existing space we now have. 

 The homage paid to the Queen of Heaven this month culminated in the feast of Christ the King. For the first time ever at Rosary Convent, we attempted to pay a magnificent homage to Our Lord with…. heaps of paint covered sawdust!

This dusty material duly formed the basis of a simple but elegant Agnus Dei design on the grounds of the convent in preparation for the procession which was to stop outside our chapel. 

On the Friday and Saturday before the feast day, creative hands and eyes painstakingly dyed and sprinkled the coloured sawdust into an intricate design that took its inspiration from the Book of the Apocalypse. It honoured Christ as the Lamb who was slain for our salvation, as well as the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end of all creation. 

Fides the dog took a great liking to the lamb motif and to the soft sawdust

Other sisters with green thumbs took to turning the numerous and messy piles of roses, chrysanthemums, orchids (and other species too unfamiliar to be named by us!) into arrangements that surrounded the throne of Our Eucharistic Lord. The rose bushes at the Church and at the College in particular duly surrendered their spring blossoms to adorn the altar of repose.

At the Sung Mass on the festal day, Fr. Stephens gave a memorable sermon on the Kingship of Our Lord and neatly arranged his main points under the acronym of KING, which served as a most useful mnemonic. He exhorted the faithful to devote themselves more and more to His service by getting to know and imitate their Divine Master with promptitude and while relying on the abundant grace offered by God. The Mass was followed by a Eucharistic procession to and back from the convent.

“If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire.

He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, as instruments of justice unto God. If all these truths are presented to the faithful for their consideration, they will prove a powerful incentive to perfection.” (The Encyclical Quas Primas, by Pope Pius XI).

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

September 2014 at Rosary Convent

The month of September heralds the coming of Spring here in Victoria, and our community was able to rejoice in the beautiful feast days of two of our members here at Rosary Convent. The feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin on September 15 had us commemorating the very first name day of Sister Maria Dolores, a canonical novice whose patron is none other than the Queen of Martyrs. The Mass and Office of that day recalls her Compassion with the Crucified Saviour and the Church's confidence in her maternal intercession for the redeemed faithful of Christ. May our dear Sister and our congregation continue to reap a rich spiritual harvest of graces for souls under the loving protection of a Mother who has suffered so much for our salvation.

The 29th of September was the Feast of St Michael the Archangel and Mother General’s Feast Day, and this year saw the Sisters at Rosary Convent making the day extra special in thanksgiving to Almighty God for our Foundress and Congregation.

As you might know, Mich-a-el means "who is like God," and it was this great Archangel who was chosen to lead God's army against Satan's forces. Thus Christian antiquity portrays him wielding a sword for he is truly the protector and the leader of the angelic army against the forces of evil. Indeed, there can be a parallel drawn between the great Archangel and the great St. Dominic who, in the 1200’s, was chosen by God to lead a new army of Religious – the Dominican Order.

St. Michael’s war cry is QUIS UT DEUS (who is like God?) and the Dominican motto is VERITAS (Truth). The Rosary worn by all Dominicans is attached on the left side and reflects both of these maxims as the sword used in their work of defending the Catholic faith and the interests of Christ. We thus honoured both St. Michael the Archangel and St Dominic in Mother Mary Micaela O.P. during this festive day.

This year, September the 29th fell on a Monday within the Spring term break. Our day at Rosary Convent began with Mass at Corpus Christi Church. It was a mild morning and heaven smiled sweetly down on us with the newness of spring, enabling us to lunch outside with our honoured guests Frs. Michael Delsorte and Jordie Stephens.

We then continued with tradition in the form of a festive play written by the Novices.  A light-hearted One-Act-Comedy, based on an adaptation of A.A Milne’s The Ugly Ducking, was performed by a cast of stately court characters who portrayed the hilarious predicament of a beautiful Princess deemed hideous by all who saw her. The desperate attempts of her family to marry her off to an unsuspecting Prince results in a whole series of mistaken and disguised identities before finally culminating in a happily-ever-after ending of a love match for the royal couple and a beautiful fruit cake set alight by sparklers for the delighted sisters.

Mother General laughed heartily at the anecdotes, wisecracks and hilarious scenes that were littered throughout the play and at seeing her fellow sisters displaying their dramatic acting talents. Props and costumes in the form of cloaks, crowns, wigs and beards were used lavishly, the most notable being a platinum blonde wig worn by Sister Mary Anna who played the handsome Prince and the thick black bushy beard sported by Mother Mary Rose who acted as the King.

Fides the puppy also made her first appearance in the play as a jester’s dog. She gamely served as a source of revulsion, in spite of her sweet appearance, to a Sister acting as an uptight cleaning lady. The excitement and effort seemed a bit too much for Fides at the end, and she was carried out for a well-earned rest.

The spring break was not to finish without a Community trip to the great Australian outdoors. Mount Cannibal, a mere 10 minute drive from the convent, was our next destination a few days after the festivities ended. At an elevation of 241 metres, this granite hill offered challenging hiking along its steep paths as well as a variety of native wild-flowers and trees.

We huffed and puffed our way up the rocky route. Two distinctive vegetation communities exist in this reserve, with healthy woodland in the lower area and lowland forest as we rise up the hill. 

Finally, we were rewarded with spectacular views of the surrounding town areas and countryside. A big lovely boulder hung off the edge of the cliff at the top of the hill, and the more cautious of the group simply watched with some horror as the braver Sisters stood very close to the edge on this rocky outcrop.

Fortunately, no cannibals were sighted, and we descended downhill for a drive through the charming Tynong-Garfield countryside.

Well-refreshed and ready for the beginning of the last school term, we headed back to St Thomas Aquinas College under the patronage of Our Lady of the Rosary at the beginning of October. May God grant that we will bear in mind our mission to preach the truth and to guide our charges, like St Michael and his angels, away from the spiritual and moral pitfalls they might encounter.