Sunday, September 7, 2008
Update on St Dominic's Convent and College events
Arrivals and a Departure:
Since you last heard from us we have lost one novice, who decided the life was not for her. On the other hand we have gained five postulants. There are two young women from Dunedin, one from Melbourne, one from America and one from the Philippines. This has brought our numbers back to ten. We also have some more “prospects” lurking in the wings. Another young lady from the Philippines is due to arrive within a fortnight. Then we have two young women who intend to come in January, and a young lady from Kenya, who would come immediately if she had the money to pay for her visa.
At the beginning of July we were much cheered by the arrival of a visitor from Romagne, near Poitiers in France. This was onc of the Dominican Sisters of Fanjeaux, Mother Teresa Joseph, O.P. She was the very first of their American Postulants and was one of the Foundresses of Post Falls. For some years she was Subprioress in Post Falls and then Prioress for six years. Her term of office having ended she is having a spell in France. We thoroughly enjoyed the help she was able to give us in the Chant and in ordinary Dominican living.
At the moment we have four Sisters studying Latin from Massey and one studying Mathematics. As well, Sister Mary Madeleine and Sister Mary Rose are finishing off their B.A. degrees this semester. This is a great credit to them as they have persevered extramurally and have done very well with numerous “A’s” in their degrees. However, this is not the study-burden I have been talking about.
The Sisters mentioned above and two others, plus three of the priests, are all studying for the Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching at Bethlehem Tertiary Institude near Tauranga. Much of the course is on-line but the Sisters also have to go to Bethlehem each holidays for Intensive Courses.
Next term and next year the student Sisters will have to go to other schools for a “practicum” where they will teach with other teachers and be inspected by professors from Bethlehem Tertiary Institute. We think this will be a first for schools like Collegiate and Wanganui High School.
As though any more excitement were needed we also celebrate feastdays in the school with vigour, largely powered and organized by our excellent young nuns and our really nice Seventh Form girls. These events usually include inter-house competitions among our three Houses in the school, named, for reasons Dominican ex-pupils will recognize, Calaroga, Prouille and Bologna.
One of these events took place on 7 March, Feast of St Thomas Aquinas. The young Sisters organized an afternoon which consisted of a quiz on the life of St Thomas, races, ball-games, and egg-and-spoon races. The girls had a delightful time with the juniors particularly appreciating the leadership and encouragement of our senior girls.
Another occasion was the Feast of St Catherine of Siena, which also happened to be the last day of Term 1. This time the competition was more intellectual as we had a day of debating and public speaking. Forms 5,6 and 7 debated topics related to their Church History course and the Third and Fourth Form spoke about traditional religious orders. Forms One and Two spoke about different saints. The event took place in the Hockey Club Hall and was a great success. One interesting outcome was that girls shone in this event who do not always make a big impact academically.
Of course the highlight of the year for our school is St Dominic’s Day. We celebrated this in an extended way with a Solemn High Mass on the Day where the Nuns and the girls sang, and the boys sang the proper. We then spent the rest of the day as a holiday. However, on the 22 August, the day of the Skate-a-thon, we completed our St Dominic’s Day celebration by having our interhouse netball competition and the hotly contested Students versus Staff netball match. This last was an epic struggle but the girls won. Between the netball and skating about two hundred rounds of the Skating Rink girls and nuns were exhausted at the end of the day.
As I write, we are moving into the third term. Cambridge Examinations are coming up and the girls are studying well. Our Seventh Form did very well in the Examination they sat in June, AS level French, with one student gaining an A and two distinctions for French Speaking. Our Fifth form also did well in their IGCSE Latin with two students gaining an A. We hope for similar results in November.