Friday, April 22, 2016

2016 Summer Issue of The Southern Star

After a long silence, a new issue of The Southern Star is now available for your reading pleasure.

A very special 12-page issue, it contains the reminiscences of Mother General's early Religious life, some lovely poetry by our talented pupils in St Dominic's College in Wanganui, and an update on the Motherhouse Building Project in Tynong, Australia.

Click on the cover page on the left or the link above to access and download a PDF of our newsletter. (Do have it on 2-page view - pages 6 and 7 are quite special!)

Thank you for generous support and prayers. May God bless you and may Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary obtain many graces as we enter into the new month of Mary!

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.



Monday, April 18, 2016

2016 ~ Catholic Movie Nights

Are you living in driving distance from 
Longwarry - Victoria - Australia?

Come and Support the Fundraiser
organised by a local parishioner in aid of the Sisters.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Some news from the land of kangaroos,echidnas and cockatoos.




Father Albert O.P. preached the retreat and celebrated the Mass during which the four postulants asked to be received into the Order, were clothed in the Dominican habit, chose the crown of thorns and obtained a new name in Religion.



"In the world you were known as . . . in the order you will be known as . . ."


Patron: Saint Martin de Porres  
“Before he distributed the food, he blessed it, saying simply: ‘May God increase it through His infinite mercy!’ and then began to fill the cups, the bowls, the little pans...There was not enough for more than four people, or six at the maximum. But the poor continued to come and Martin continued to pour out soup until he had filled the last bowl of the last of his poor. At the end, all had had sufficient, ‘and all were satisfied, even the dogs and the cats,’ noted Brother Ferdinand de Aragones. And how could it have been otherwise? Martin had given up his own meal, and then called the infinite riches of divine mercy to his aid” (Cavallini).

One can hardly think of St. Martin de Porres without thinking of one of his many good works (helping the poor, tending to the sick, instructing the ignorant) or amazing gifts from God (bi-location, levitation, miraculous knowledge and cures). Yet it is not these miracles, gifts, or even his innumerable works of charity, which distinguish him as a saint, but rather the heroic degree of virtue (i.e. faith, hope, charity, prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance) by which they were done.

Born in Lima, Peru in 1579, St. Martin was pious, displaying exceptional charity towards the poor even as a child. Much to the dismay of his mother, he would often come home from the market empty-handed because he gave all the money to the poor. He also passed much of his time visiting Our Lord in the many churches throughout the city. When the time came for young Martin to choose a trade, he decided on becoming an apprentice to the barber who in those days in addition to cutting hair took on many medical tasks. St. Martin had a keen intellect and advanced quickly in his trade. Yet, he did not use this knowledge for his own benefit, but helped countless number of poor never asking for anything in return and always directing everything to the glory of God. Although his occupation kept him busy, he did not use it as an excuse to lessen his prayer life, but rather would spend his nights rapt in prayer.

At the age of fifteen, St. Martin entered the Dominican monastery of the Holy Rosary seeking out the lowest position - that of coadjutor, and although he made religious profession nine years later and also took on additional roles such as that of infirmarian, he is commonly depicted with a broom as a symbol of his great humility. St. Martin de Porres accomplished magnificent works throughout his religious life, yet by his humility and his willingness to do the lowest tasks, he exemplifies the maxim that a small deed done for the love of God is worth infinitely more than a extraordinary deed done for self.

St. Martin de Porres, pray for us!


". . . in the order you will be known as . . ."


Patron Saint: Cecilia Caesarini
Cecilia belonged to an ancient Roman Family.  She was only seventeen when St Dominic was attempting to get the sisters roaming about the city of Rome to follow a strict rule of enclosure at St Sixtus, at the request of Pope Innocent III.  When St Dominic came to their convent at "St Mary's beyond-the-Tiber", she was the one who urged the prioress to support his cause.
She was also the first to beg for the habit and the rule St Dominic was trying to establish, and the eventual success of his venture was aided by her.
In  1224, she went to Bologna with three other sisters, including Sr Amata, to the new convent of St Agnes recently founded by Diana d'Andalo.  Sister Cecilia was the first prioress there, and a strict one.
Sister Cecilia lived to a very old age, and though nearly ninety at the time she was asked, left us a very clear description of the appearance, personality and characteristics of St Dominic.
Cecilia died in 1296.  She was beatified, together with Sisters Amata and Diana, in 1891.


". . . in the order you will be known as . . ."


Patron: St Mary of the Cross                                                                                                                 
This new novice likes to think that she can lay claim to a host of new patrons. Just some examples are, the Cross on which our Saviour died for us, Our Lady of Sorrows, St. John of the Cross and St. Paul of the Cross! However resigning herself to the ‘one feast-day only’ rule, she celebrates her feast on August 8th, the feast of our very own St. Mary of the Cross- Australia’s first and only canonised saint.
Mary Helen Mackillop was born January 15, 1842 in Fitzroy, Victoria. In 1867 at the age of 25, Mary together with a priest Fr. Julian Tension Woods founded a new Institute known as ‘The Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart’ also known as ‘Josephites’ or ‘Brown Joes’. These Sisters were to provide education for children of the poorer classes, as well as opening orphanages and providences to care for the homeless and destitute, and refuges for ex-prisoners and ex-prostitutes.
When Mary entered religion, she became known as Sister Mary of the Cross. In 1867, she wrote about her name, “My name in religion is Mary of the Cross. No name could be dearer to me, so I must endeavour, not to deserve it — for I cannot — but at least I must try not to disgrace it.”
Mary suffered much throughout her life; she battled with ill health and her work met with much opposition from people both inside and outside the Church. She was unjustly excommunicated when she was 29 years old; and at another time, she was accused of being an alcoholic. In spite of her troubles, Mary had great confidence in God and in 1873 wrote: “To me, the will of God is a dear book which I am never tired of reading, which has always some new charm for me.”
Mary was a great lover of Charity which she displayed in many and diverse ways. Sr Alphonsus Jones recalled in 1926 that once when a sick Sister was brought in from the country Mary insisted on the Sister taking her bed for some weeks while she herself slept on the floor.
After a stroke in 1902, Mary suffered intensely for another seven years and died 8 August 1909. She was canonised by Pope Benedict XVI on 17 October 2010.

". . . in the order you will be known as . . ."


Patron: St Joseph
I feel singularly blessed to have received the name of Sister Mary Josephine and thus to be dedicated to each of the members of the Holy Family: to Jesus as the raison d’etre of every religious, to Mary as the special Mother of Dominicans, and to St. Joseph, the patron of the Church and of Canada, who by a kind Providence of God is now the special patron saint of Rosary Convent’s little Canadian novice.
It is a little overwhelming to realize that from all eternity, the Son of God planned to “share” His own foster father with me.  There is surely no greater saint to whom He could have entrusted me.  As the spouse of our Lady and the breadwinner of the Holy Family, St. Joseph soared to the peaks of perfection while humbly toiling at the most mundane tasks, happy to make himself as it were the personal slave of the Saviour and His Mother.  No matter if Joseph had to sleep in a dark stable on a frosty night; no thought of his own comfort entered his mind, but only the matter of how best to provide for his loved Ones.  No matter if he had to get up in the middle of the night and leave everything behind in order to rush his Family to safety; he was content in the certainty that it was God’s will.  No matter if he had to spend weary and footsore days combing the city of Jerusalem at our Lady’s side; finding his dear Master in the Temple at last was reward enough for him.  St. Joseph’s constant and unassuming self-giving amid the vicissitudes of life, culminating in a happy death in the arms of Jesus and Mary, make him the ideal model for an aspiring religious.

Good St. Joseph, our most powerful protector and intercessor among all the Saints, thank you for being a father to me.
~*~
Three second-year Novices made their first Profession by taking temporary vows and exchanging their white veil for a black one. 
Congratulations Sister Mary Amata, Sister Mary Imelda and Sr Mary of Compassion!




Congratulations to Sister Marie Dominique who received a ring as sign of the perpetual vows she made during the same ceremony.






THE SISTERS WISH TO THANK All WHO HELPED WITH THE RETREAT AND CEREMONIES ~AND ASSURE  THEM OF THEIR PRAYERS IN RETURN! 



By the grace of God may we remain ever faithful to our promises!


Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Southern Star - Spring Issue Online


Dear Friends and Benefactors,

As the gladsome bells of Christmas morning ring (and happy chatter of the Sisters resonate around the Convent this most special Feastday of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!), we are glad to announce that the Spring issue of our newsletter, The Southern Star, is now available online, with a warm invitation extended for your presence at our upcoming ceremonies of Final Profession, First Professions, and the reception of the Holy Habit in January 2016. 

Do click on the cover page to access the PDF copy of the newsletter. Enjoy reading, and may you have a most holy and blessed Christmastide and grace-filled new year.

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.

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Southern Star - Winter Issue Online

Dear Friends and Benefactors,
The crisp morning air and frost-laden grass may seem to suggest that winter is quite determined to have a longish stay here in Tynong. Still, the presence of a newly-born calf prancing around in the paddock opposite the Convent and the flurry of nest-building by our feathered friends in the neighbourhood are reminders that Spring is just round the corner!

Before spring does descend upon us however, we are glad to announce that the winter issue of our newsletter, The Southern Star, is now available online, with a special feature depicting the sunnier side of life in the Convent. Do click on the cover page to access the PDF copy of the newsletter. Enjoy 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.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Out of the Winter Silence

The solemn and fog-like silence that has settled over the Wanganui community through the bleak winter months may have lead some of our readers to imagine that the sisters in New Zealand had decided to hibernate during this cold season. Though it was tempting, this has not been the case. Our taciturnity has been more due to over-action than inaction. We have been as busy as…summer bees…in winter! But now that the long-awaited holidays are here, we have time to take a leisurely look back over the past season and recount for you some of its main events.

The first month of winter was fairly uneventful; that is, it certainly held events like mid-year examinations, piles of marking, mounds of report writing and torrents of inquiries from the pupils as to whether or not they had passed – but these are all standard events. We were proud to see some of the pupils who had put in their best during the first half of the year have their efforts rewarded with academic ties which were distributed at one of our Monday morning assemblies. 

From there we quickly pass on to July, a month which marked a special page in the life of the Children of Mary Sodality here in Wanganui: its ten year anniversary. Such a milestone had to be given a special celebration, behind which there was much planning, preparation and cooperation. 


Almost all members of the sodality were able to gather together at a local hall for an evening of memories, games, songs, fun and feasting. May Our Lady continue to watch over her children and the good work they do in our parish.

June, July…August came next! And August can only mean one thing: Saint Dominic’s Day. Many a sister surely had been keeping in mind that well-known truism of Mother General’s: If you can survive until Saint Dominic’s Day, you can survive the rest of the year. The great feast day, and the encouraging fact that we had survived to see it, was heralded not by trumpets, but by the sweet tone of our new bell, which was found for us in Europe by our parish priest and fixed onto the exterior wall of the boarding school entrance on the very eve of Saint Dominic’s feast day, so that its ringing (though at that stage still a little uncoordinated, the bell-ringer yet in need of some practice) for First Vespers announced that the feast day had arrived.


Like the Sisters at Rosary Convent, we too sang First Vespers in the church with our pupils, the brothers and the officiating priest. After the Rosary we headed back to the boarding school, to the quaint little “alfresco” arrangement under the carport – the only space that was undercover and large enough to seat the sisters, priests, brothers and approximately thirty girls! The blue tarpaulin and fairy-lights gave it a pleasant atmosphere and we there enjoyed our pizza, salads and dessert.


In remembrance of the thoughtful gift Saint Dominic made to his sisters, our guests were bequeathed with small, personalised wooden spoons…though they were to be kept more for their aesthetic and sentimental value than for practical purposes…unlike St Dominic’s wooden spoons, we’re sure. He no doubt didn’t have to tell his sisters, “Now don’t use these spoons to eat with – they’re only souvenirs!” as Mother had to several times remind the young (and not so young) recipients.

No Saint Dominic’s Day would be complete without the traditional game of Spotlight, so after dinner the girls eagerly ventured out into the dark field to see if they could find their way to the fortress (and the chocolate treasure it held) without being identified and thrown into “jail”. After a few more indoor games we ended the evening suitably by singing Compline with the girls. On the actual day of the feast the sisters attended the school Mass with the secondary boys and girls and afterwards entertained our tertiary members, friends, benefactors and former pupils with a brunch, towards the close of which the weather turned quite dismal. By the afternoon the rain had set in well and truly and we were denied the satisfaction of what was sure to be a sweet victory over the school netballers we had intended to play (and beat) that afternoon. To this day the match has not yet taken place, being postponed to an indefinite date; but fate cannot be avoided – sooner or later our opponents will have to face their fears, and we will be sure to make known to our readers the glad tidings of our victory as soon as it is in our possession. Thus, with no netball game to raise our heart-rate and zap our energy, the feast day ended with a tranquillity that, though uncustomary, was not unwelcome.

Fortunately most of our school girls had not yet succumbed to the winter ills that were, and in fact still are, in circulation, for their voices and high spirits were needed for the Inter-house Music Competition that was held mid-August at the local Girls College hall. The three school houses competed against one another in a competition that had Australia and New Zealand as its theme. Each house had to present a team piece, a test piece and also submit entries for the senior and junior instrumental categories. The judge overall was impressed with the quality of the girls’ voices and their musicianship, and the final results show how close the houses are in their musical skills – the two houses Bologna and Prouille tied for first place, while Calaroga was only just behind. 


But the evening of entertainment did not end there! After a short intermission the Form 3 and 4 girls performed for their small audience Shakespeare’s Macbeth, which was, in spite of a few hiccups, giggles and lost lines, a pleasing success, making us very proud of the fine abilities of the girls, and caused not a few of us to start thinking about next year’s performance.


It seemed that the whole school breathed a sigh of relief after that concert, which had required so much planning and practice, and let down its defence system, for the influenza hit us hard and the many casualties, affecting the whole school, caused us to have to postpone the annual fundraiser, once more a Bike-a-thon. A week later than the initial date, then, the sisters and pupils who were still healthy jumped onto their bikes and peddled in circles for an hour, in an attempt to help out our school finances. Those who had per lap pledges were enthused to make as many laps as they could, and also to try to beat last year’s record of laps – this year one of our year 10 girls made the record, achieving 111 laps in an hour, and still remaining standing afterwards.


The Bike-a-thon marked the end of another lap of school, and the beginning of the next part of the cycle – holidays. May God, Who has so generously granted to us a busy and fruitful term, see fit to help sisters and pupils alike rejuvenate and recreate ourselves so that we are fit and ready to hop back on our bikes and cycle “onwards and upwards” in the last term of the year.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

St Dominic's Day as seen through the eyes of First Year Novices




  These joyful verses are taken from the First Vespers of the Feast of our Holy Father St. Dominic. This was the first time in the history of St. Thomas Aquinas College that the girls of grades seven to grade twelve were invited to celebrate St. Dominic’s Day with the Sisters. Students and Sisters were very excited! 

We began the St. Dominic Day festivities by filling the newly remodelled college chapel with our joyful singing of First Vespers, followed by praying the rosary - the special prayer and weapon given to St. Dominic by Our Lady. Now it was on to games, dancing, and prizes!

After First Vespers, the Sisters and girls wasted no time in heading to the indoor gym where pizzas and desserts (in the hundredfold) were awaiting. After this hearty meal, Mother Mary Rose assumed the role of MC and organised the girls and Sisters into 10 teams. We started with a ‘meet and greet’ barn dance with Sister Mary Anna providing lovely music with her violin. After burning some of the calories from dinner, we formed a large circle to play the ‘chocolate game’. In this game, the person who rolls a six on the die, rushes into the middle of the circle, dresses up in a wig, glasses and a rather odd nose(!). They then endeavour to cut a piece of chocolate with a knife and fork (no fingers allowed!) and carefully carry it to their team’s bowl. In the meantime, the die is being passed around the circle until someone else rolls a six. Not much chocolate found its way to the bowls but good laughs were enjoyed by all, especially to see the Sisters wearing the ridiculous glasses and nose! This game was possibly the highlight of the night, with a balloon game and a three-legged race following. Father Fortin came to watch the fun and even joined in the last game of the night: a very intense version of ‘musical chairs’. The points of each team were totalled and chocolate prizes given, even to the last runner up! Exhausted but quite satisfied with their first experience of St Dominic’s Day festivities, the girls posed for a large group photo before heading home to recuperate for the netball game the next day!


Last year, the first Sisters vs. students netball game was played at Saint Thomas Aquinas College on St. Dominic’s Day, in accordance with an ‘old’ Dominican tradition. The result of this first match was a draw. This year each side was determined to win! Played in the multi-purpose hall, the game was intense. So was the noise. The whole Girls' School came along to cheer on the students while most of the primary school turned up to cheer on the Sisters. The scores ran fairly even for the first two quarters and then the Sisters began to pull ahead. I must state here and now that we had a most fantastic goal shooter! 


The teams were pretty even, I believe, judging by the way the ball had a tendency to change sides all the time, meaning you had to do a quick about turn on the slippery court to keep up – but once we got the ball to the circle, it was an almost certain goal! Sister Mary of Compassion, unfazed by tall, energetic and experienced GK’s and GD’s, popped that ball in from anywhere in the circle! She was the player of the day! The last quarter was very intense, each side being determined to make it count. The final score was 22-16 to the Sisters! But the girls got the sweets and chocolates. It was a very good game and was enjoyed by everyone, players and onlookers alike.

And last but not least, we had the great pleasure of welcoming two new members to our Dominican family. The small Tertiary ceremony commenced with the singing of II Vespers and the recitation of the Holy Rosary; whereupon the Postulants carrying lighted candles proceeded to the Communion rail and humbly asked to be accepted into the Order. They were then girded with the cord of St. Thomas, received the scapular of the 3rd order and the blessing of Holy Mother Church. The new Novices were then bestowed with their new names as children of St. Dominic and the ceremony fittingly concluded with the singing of the Te Deum.



Afterward a small supper and good chat was had by all and thus another St. Dominic’s day has come and gone. May our heavenly Patron and Holy Father St. Dominic grant us all many graces through the coming year.



Te Deum Laudamus, Te Dominium Confitemur!