Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dominican Nuns’ Novitiate: Sisters in Tynong - Education, Easter, Excursions, & other Events

Dear Blogosphere,

(Yes, that title has been carefully constructed to get more Google hits. Just in case you were wondering.)

I realize we’ve been neglecting you terribly. Apologies all round. But the reason is, as always, that word that starts with “B” and rhymes with “dizzy.” I feel a bit dizzy myself after this whirlwind semester, but seeing as I handed in the last assignment, for the markers to do with as they please, just 2 days ago, I have been revitalized with that priceless sense of liberation and am going to devote myself to our friends on the interwebs for a bit.

Liberation has played a major part in our semester – well, for those of us who took the History subject on the French Revolution, at any rate. Don’t worry. We’re not wearing red caps or singing the Marseillaise or starting bread riots or anything like that. We also did Theology and Literature; for the latter, the postulants and second-year novice were treated to poetry, while we first-year novices studied fourteenth-century literature. We are now all brushed up on The Dialogue of St Catherine of Siena and St Vincent Ferrer’s Spiritual Treatise, which, besides being most interesting from a literature point of view, give excellent guidance on the spiritual life. I can highly recommend them.
We’ve also been having classes on the Passions, as drawn from the Summa, from Fr Belisle, which have been extremely informative, not to mention entertaining. (Did *you* know that St Thomas himself recommends “Sleep And Baths” as effective remedies for a sorrowful heart? Go have a look in the Summa if you don’t believe me! Clearly, St Thomas was a saint of good, old-fashioned common sense…)

That’s about it for Education. That brings me to Easter. Holy Week and Easter in the Convent are extra special, and you’ll just have to experience it for yourself to find out what I mean, because I’m not good enough with words to describe it satisfactorily. In fact, one of our postulants made it an even special-er week (see, it’s true I’m not very good with words! What *is* the right word for “more special?” I think I’m turning into Dr Seuss…) by arriving on Spy Wednesday, just in time for the Sacred Triduum and all its deep solemnities.

I take my hat off to her – the Breviary is so different for those three days, leaving green-around-the-ears novices like myself terribly confused most of the time, that I can’t imagine how bewildering it must be if you’ve not been much acquainted at all with the Breviary before. Actually, the Breviary is markedly different for a week or two afterwards as well, causing not a little amount of stress to creatures of habit like me, especially when the aforesaid creature is being Chantress. (Being Chantress is a lovely job in Office, but it means you have to be completely on top of what’s going on at all times, and this can be hard for a Bear-Novice of Little Brain to keep up with, especially when there are dozens of extra “Alleluias” where there were none before. I am thankful for the Community’s patience.)

I digress. Easter is lovely in the Convent. Now I come to Excursions. We were so intent on our study that we held off until Ascension Thursday to go somewhere, but it was well worth the wait. The Mornington Pensinsula was graced with our presence for the day, and once again, the good God gave us perfect weather. It is so true that He looks after His little ones!



We also went to Hampton for Mass and the procession in honour of Our Lady which happened to fall on Mothers’ Day, which I thought was a most fitting thing. Then we went to a nearby beach to have our lunch, something which is always nice to have outside. (“Beach” is used somewhat euphemistically. It was more of a rocky outcrop in a bay with a patch of sand, as the pictures will show, just so you’re not expecting vistas of gold stretching into the horizon or anything like that). I had to smile when a little girl all dressed in pink came running to get a closer look at us, her unbounded excitement finding expression in a heartfelt “Awesome!!!!” when she gave pause to her flight to drink us in. The holy habit really does speak to people, despite what some of our modern friends think.

Finally, I should fill you in on Events. We’ve had a couple of feast days: January 23 was Sr Raymond’s (she got a spider cake in honour of her winning battle with our eight-legged housemates); 30 April was Mother Catherine’s (which featured no less than 3 items of entertainment – 2 songs and a play; the Novice Mistress/House Prioress’s feast day is a Big One!); 20 May was Sr Columba’s (she got a sardine-tin cake. Apparently sardines are big in Singapore); and just yesterday, June 13, was Sr Anthony’s, for which Emilyn, our hugely artistically talented postulant, decorated the whiteboard as shown below.

Sr Raymond likes her spider.
Mother Catherine aglow with Feast Day merriment.

Sr Columba, rosy-cheeked canonical novice.

The rosy-cheeked novice's feast day cake.
The work of our wildly talented Emilyn.                             
Emilyn tries to roast a marshmallow with Sr Anthony's feast day cake candle. It worked.

There was also a whole School Mass for Corpus Christi, as well as a procession to and from the Convent. Rain threatened, but held off for long enough for us to openly show our devotion to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, our Emmanuel, or God-with-us, as Father said so eloquently in his sermon.

The Altar at the Convent.
Winding our way back to the Church.
We also had one specially delightful surprise come to usher in the holidays, and that was a shipment of…books!!! Fr Pfluger kindly brought them all the way from Goulburn, and we were rather like a group of kindergarteners in a lolly shop, we were that excited. Books are bound to find several pairs of loving, welcoming hands in a Dominican Convent J It would’ve done Dr Ludwig Ott good to see the transports of joy which another copy of his “Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma” caused.

Sr Thomas is delighted with our new acquisitions.

This one must be particularly interesting...
Well, I think that should just about bring you up to date.

Oh, I nearly forgot – please have a look at the tab off to the right regarding our Convent Building Project! We are growing and growing, rather like Jack’s Beanstalk, which is a truly wonderful thing, but we’re running out of room where we currently are, and we are working towards building a proper Convent. We’ve now got architect plans, but we desperately need help in terms of funds to get the project moving from potentiality to actuality, to put it in cosmological terms. Please do help if you can!

I hope you’ll keep coming back to see how we are, and we’ll try and issue the next bulletin a little sooner next time. Please keep us in your prayers – we’ll do the same for you J


1 comment:

Clare Therese said...

Greetings to Sr Columba and Emilyn!
Clare Therese here. Emilyn, you disappeared without telling me! I saw Kenny yesterday at Mass and he told me you joined the sisters, so I assumed he was referring to this place. Its so nice to see these updates with photos and all!