With an update of Rosary Convent long overdue, we scarcely know where to begin the news update; so we’ll start at the beginning. After all, it is a very good place to start.
The first month of 2014 was a very momentous one for us, for on January 6th we had the happiness of witnessing the entrance of postulants, the veiling of four Novices and the Temporary Profession of two of our Sisters.
Miss Elizabeth Smith from Wanganui, NZ, entered in January, along with Miss Katie Corr from San Jose, California. The latter, due to visa restrictions, is at this present moment doing her postulancy in NZ and then God-willing, will resume her Canonical year in the Motherhouse. Soon to follow and enter the convent were Miss Genevieve Erbacher from Brisbane, Australia and Miss Mary Williams from St Mary’s, Kansas. We also have two visitors staying with us - Miss Allie Reis from Canada and pre-postulant Miss Gloria Silveira from St Mary’s, Kansas.
Postulants are always a laugh and a half. The following incident serves as a reminder to the older generation that we are living in a modern technological world.
Postulant: (Reading list of things to bring to the convent): Bible – check, Missal – Check, Alarm Clock – Hmmm – I don’t have an alarm clock.
Sister: Oh never fear, we can always purchase one for you when you arrive.
Postulant: Oh I almost forgot, don’t worry, I have one on my I-Phone
Sister: (long pause) Um, postulants are not allowed to have I-Phones
Postulant: Oh my! Really!
Our four little Novices, Sisters Dolores, Amata, Francis and Imelda are half way through their canonical year. Their time has been devoted to the Corporal Works of Mercy within the community, namely, feeding the hungry, washing the clothes for those in need and cooking feast day cakes! A good portion of course is dedicated to the study of the Divine Office, the 3 Evangelical Vows, Dominican Spirituality, the Rule and Constitution, Latin, Music, the Summa and Prayer. United with the Holy Family in their Hidden life, our little Novices are learning to lead a life of Holy Obedience, hoping of course to grow in wisdom and grace in their most important year of Spiritual Formation which will set the foundation for the rest of their religious life.
Our four dynamic Second Year Novices, Sisters Anna, Columba, Jordan and Bernard, have plunged into the apostolate with angelic zeal, ever mindful of the Dominican spirit: Contemplare et contemplata allis tradere. Sisters Anna and Columba have been busy completing a Post Graduate Teaching Diploma as well as teaching Catechism at St Thomas Aquinas College while Sisters Jordan and Bernard have been completing a Bachelor of Arts through Tabor College, juggling religious life and school classes too! They have also been a great asset this year, fulfilling the offices of Infirmarian, Chantress, Vestiarian, Sacristan and Assistant Fundraiser. Only just recently, on a trip to complete an IELTS English Test for Teacher Registration, one of the Novices was approached by a lady interested in the Catholic Faith. We are very pleased to announce that she now wishes to become a Catechumen and is preparing herself for the Sacrament of Baptism. A young girl, who recently took up the offer of tutoring from one of the Sisters, is now preparing for three Sacraments within the next few months: Confession, Communion and Confirmation. Please pray for these two souls, as well as for the Sisters just mentioned, who are at this moment studying the Vow of Obedience, preparing for the day when they will solemnly and publicly give themselves wholly and entirely to God by way of the three Evangelical Counsels. A Sacrifice, which after the Holy Mass and martyrdom, cannot be equalled in this life (Fr Louis Colin C.S.S.R.)
While we are on the topic of upcoming events, I may as well add now that we will have the happiness of attending a retreat in January conducted by two Dominican Friars from Belgium who will then go on to give the Priests Retreat in Goulburn after our 2015 ceremonies on January 18th. We are very much looking forward to Dominican Rite Masses again and seeing our Sisters from NZ who will join us, as well as our Dominican male counterparts.
Our two Professed Sisters, Srs Johanna and Thomas, were not long together after their Temporary Profession on January 6th. Sr Johanna, now O.P., was assigned to NZ to teach Maths, look after the bursar work and study, while Sr Thomas O.P. was assigned to remain at the Motherhouse house to continue her study in the Post Graduate Teaching Programme and teach at St Thomas Aquinas College.
As for the Building of the Motherhouse, this has become a number one necessity of late. With more ladies and a Sister on the way this year, and at least 3 Postulants booked in for next year, we have absolutely no room. It has become imperative therefore that we build at least half of our Motherhouse by January 2015. At present we have 16 living in a house which includes Sisters outside in cabins, one in a walk-in-wardrobe, some sharing rooms etc. This is what it looks like in the morning when we all zone in for breakfast. As you can see, it is far from ideal for a house of religious formation.
Thankfully, a kind parishioner donated a caravan and a spare vehicle which have proved very very handy indeed, although we do have a very funny tale to add here. New to the prospect of Caravens on our property, what was our utter astonishment one morning, when after carefully preparing it for a visitor, we found on going to Chapel the next morning that the Caraven had tilted. The occupant had turned over in the night and the Caraven, not fastened to the ground, had moved with her like a see-saw. What we saw in the morning was a hilariously funny sight, one end on the ground and one end high in the air: we wondered how the poor inhabitant had survived. She had; for during meditation we heard a huge thud. She had awoken, moved, and with her came the Caraven. She came in for Mass as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. Needless to say, the Caraven is now secured firmly to the ground.
Since the beginning of the year, we have been busy trying to fundraise the necessary 1.5 million for at least half of the Motherhouse plan to be completed. In the first school term a Bike-a-thon was organised which raised over $90,000.
So far, diggers have been in to clear the way for the foundations. Preliminaries with a Fabrication Company are underway and we could be building within a few months. We therefore humbly ask for the following:
1) Your prayers
2) Your sacrifices
3) Your alms
This is so that that we may continue our work of religious formation and Catholic Education. Once our Motherhouse and Teacher Training Institute have been established, many more foundations can be made.
We will pray much over the next few months, and ask that you do too. This one is always useful.
O Lord grant us priests
O Lord grant us Holy Priests
O Lord grant us many Holy Priests
O Lord grant us many Holy Religious Vocations
A Motherhouse for the Dominican Sisters at Tynong, by January 2015