Sunday, May 20, 2012

St Dominic’s Convent - Term 1, 2012

TOUT EST GRÂCE, is what we have been hearing again and again at our Spiritual Conferences lately. All is grace – whether it is opening the mail to find you have received a substantial grant for the school tempting one to dance all the way down the convent corridor alternating shouts of delight with side-kick leaps of joy or having to cope with printers not working, the network down and the telephone ringing non-stop at a time when you have to make an important deadline that just has to be thrown out the window. Yes, all is Grace. The key is to have a stable cheery disposition amid the storm and sunshine, knowing that God is in control of all things. We simply have to submit like warm wax in his hands, accepting the joys and sorrows, for the good of the Church, as God moulds us more and more into an image of himself.
So let me quickly summarise our time of grace during the first term here at St Dominic’s Convent, New Zealand.
Let us start with storms – literally. We had one great whopper during Lent. I have never experienced anything like it in all my many years in New Zealand. Heavy rain and very strong winds caused havoc all over the city. One morning, while the sisters, well - some sisters, were enjoying the contemplation of seventh heaven, they were immediately brought back down to earth by a large bang which seemed to be coming from one side of the chapel. Noticing it was our gutter hanging by a thread, “Mission-Save-Gutter” began. Two brave sisters, with a bit of string and heavenly determination had it fastened securely to our windows in no time. Scaffolding was erected at a later date, at which time we noticed our solar panels were on the brink of falling into our convent; Deo Gratias, both are now fixed.

One of our large & "ancient" trees was struck down during the storm

Then there were the many trips to the hospital as one poor sister had to undergo the surgeon’s knife. Although we do sorely miss our medical sisters who are now residing in Tynong - after the experience, we all now feel we have sufficient knowledge to graduate with a doctorate in medical science. I know all there is to know about pain-medications, short and long-lasting, and what to do in the event of a multitude of health problems.

On the Feast of St Thomas Aquinas we had the honour of attending and singing the Mass of Final Profession of one of our Third Order Tertiaries, Mr Guy Legrega (Brother Dominic in the Order). 

We have also been very fortunate to have received two big grants this year – one for new computers and the other for sports equipment, as well as receiving a surprise visit from a young pro-life group who travel around the world, singing and promoting Catholic family values. It was lovely to see some good Catholic youth, who were also wonderful choir singers, actually go out and do some good in the world. May God grant them the grace of a religious vocation!

Sisters with Pro-Life Group - who gave a presentation to the school

Just before Easter we had the pleasure of seeing Mother General again, who stayed with us to celebrate the joys of the Paschal season.  Spider webs were brushed away from every nook and cranny, shoes scrupulously polished and a cell prepared which would be fit for our busy Mother General and Foundress. The week Mother arrived we attempted (for the first time in the history of our congregation) singing Tenebrae according to the Dominican rite, (rather than assisting the priests, brothers and schola of the parish with the singing of the Roman rite) which includes the long but beautiful Prayer of Jeremiah as well as a beautiful Lenten-yet-heavenly ending. For those wondering what it entails, my lips are sealed – you’ll have to come and see for yourself.

Mother General addressing the students
Easter Gaudeamus
Now we are all enjoying the contemplative atmosphere of the convent during our two week break from school. One of our Dominican benefactors recently paid us a visit and donated a FIRST-CLASS relic of our Holy Father
St Dominic in a beautiful reliquary along with another one of St Catherine of Siena. When we heard what first class relics usually comprise of, faces moved a little closer to investigate and an interesting conversation followed with thoughts of “ewww” going across some sister’s minds. Nevertheless, we all foster secret hopes of one day having a proper chapel to put them in but when we hear of our postulants/novices sleeping in walk-in wardrobes/barns and cardboard rooms due to lack of room in Australia, our heart goes out to them and we pray that very soon, we will have proper Motherhouse. We unite with them in preparing for the upcoming Feast of Pentecost - imploring the Holy Ghost:
Come, O Creator Spirit blest!
And in our souls take up Thy rest
Come, with Thy grace and heavenly aid,
To fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

An article will be following soon by our Head of School about St Dominic’s COLLEGE - Term 1; She is enjoying an apostolic experience in New Caledonia at this present time. I would like to just end by mentioning two humorous anecdotes which brought a smile to all the Sisters during recreation one day.

Mother Mary Rose O.P

From Sr Jacinta – Standard 1&2 Catechism Class

Sister:  "What is the sixth commandment of the Church?"
Student: “The sixth commandment of the Church is to observe all the laws of the Church concerning marge.” (thou shalt not eat butter on thy toast, it is too expensive, only marge).

From Sr Madeleine – Suggestion submitted on paper by Form 1&2 Girls

7:00am School Sung Mass, Morning Prayers
8:00am Breakfast for whole school with desks joined together
8:30am Music and Singing
10:15am Morning Tea followed by one hour of playtime
11:25am Physical Education for the whole school
12:55pm Lunch and Playtime
1:40pm Home Economics for the whole school
3:05pm Free Time
4:00pm Rosary
4:15pm Inter-house competitions for the whole school
5:30pm Do jobs (mop), pack bags
6:00pm Dinner with all the desks joined together
7:00pm Evening prayers and go home

 Signed: all the Form 1 & 2 students

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