Sunday, September 28, 2014

Snippets of August & September at Signadou

Feast of St. Dominic: Vigil

In honor of St. Dominic’s feast day, the girls’ school had their annual
St. Dominic’s Vigil festivities on August 3rd.  

The theme this year was "Black and White".

The night began with Vespers and Rosary in the church. After, the girls joined the sisters, as well as priests and brother for an evening of food and games - pinatas, scavenger races and more.  

The joyous night ended with Compline at the church.

Feast of St. Dominic

A painting of our Holy Father, done by a tertiary Dominican
On Monday, August 4th, the girls of St. Dominic’s College attended morning Mass together and had the rest of the day off school.  

After the Mass, a brunch was held for the benefactors and alumni of the school and the girls and their classmates helped out by serving coffee and tea to the guests. 

Annual Teachers vs. Students Netball Game

On the afternoon of August 4th, St. Dominic’s College had their annual Teachers vs. Students Netball game. 

After many weeks of practice, both teams did very well; however, the students came out ahead 19 - 14, and celebrated with the candy filled trophy and a victorious afternoon tea. 


The annual fundraiser went well, with sisters and girls racing to see how many laps they could accumulate.  The first round of bikers went smoothly, though some girls, who had made all-time records for most laps (108!), were a bit wobbly after coming off of their bikes.  Then the second round began and about a quarter of the way through it, the rain began as well.  

It continued and some were concerned about how much longer the biking could go on before the track became too wet to safely pedal upon.  The atmosphere was a beautifully religious one, as the bikers in the rain made their rounds, they could hear various groups of girls and sisters on the 'sidelines' (who were counting laps) singing the Salve Regina.  (Dominican pupils are well versed in the tradition of singing three Salves to beg our Lady to take away the rain)  The rain did not intensify, so the second round of bikers were able to complete their hour without too much interference.  Below is an account from one of the pupils:

"On the 20th of August, I had the most tiring (but fun...) day of my whole life. It was my first time doing a bike-a-thon. Though I usually bike around my city back home, the bike-a-thon was different. There was a time limit of one hour only. I was terribly nervous so I decided to ride in the second round after watching the other people ride in the first round. After they had all finished, I hopped on my bike hoping that I would get many laps. Before the starting bell rang, I prayed that no accidents happened (unfortunately one girl fell off her bike, but she only bruised her knee). I pedaled as fast as I could but of course I needed enough energy to finish so I kept my pace carefully. At the 20 minute mark, it started to rain. My skirt was drenched and became heavy but I tried to keep my pace. The last ten minutes was the hardest as I began to get cramps in my arms and my legs were numb and sore. However, I prayed and gave all my energy; at last, the finish bell rang."

Netball Victory

On August 30th, both of St. Dominic’s netball teams played in the finals. 
The games were very close and very intense, going back and forth between the teams - each scoring goals continuously. 

However, Deo Gratias, both the A and B teams were victorious in their levels:
Final Scores
A-team: 26-24
B-team: 16-14

The Merchant of Venice

The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath...”

On September 24th, the Form 3 and 4 girls performed The Merchant of Venice. 

The Merchant of Venice focuses on Christian womanhood.
The play's conclusion is a beautiful vision of the ordered balance between individual happiness  and the good of society.

In one of the themes of the play, Christian womanhood, Shakespeare presents Portia, one of the loveliest women whom he created.  Portia represents womanhood at its most exalted on account of her femininity, humility and quiet strength, reminiscent of the valiant woman of Proverbs.

The play finishes with God's order triumphant and with harmony reigning.  Antonio and Portia have reflected God's order and peace, and happiness has now come to them.

Eucharistic Crusaders

On Thursday, September 18th, the Crusaders participated in the Eucharistic Crusader day. Starting with Mass in the morning, the day included crafts, games, and songs with Father Bochkoltz, the chaplain, and sisters and helpers. 

The children then went to the Bason Reserve to play a huge game of scavenger hunt. After finishing, all the students returned to the church to say a rosary in front of the
Blessed Sacrament. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Our Adventurous Actions in August

August is always a special month to look forward to in any Dominican Calendar!  Not only do the words Arise, my love, my dove, my beautiful one, for winter will soon be over and the rain over and gone come to mind, but it also means celebrations of the most solemn kind for the Feast of Our Holy Father on August 4th. At this time, any true daughter of St Dominic will always be preparing days in advance, sometimes even weeks, for this most joyous day when not only the order, but the whole Church will celebrate the founding of the Order of Friars Preachers. 

Our preparations here in Tynong began with a little surprise. Never does it snow due to the temperate climate, even in Winter, but one late day in July we had a rather odd hail storm which left our surroundings looking like it was covered in a white blanket. For our Singaporean Sisters it was pure delight and we resolved then and there to try to fit in a day when we could take them to see and experience “real snow”. True is the saying that the most simple things in life give one much joy. What joy one experiences too when one gives up all earthly possessions and consequently all temporal cares in order to devote oneself entirely to obtaining heavenly treasures.

At last the Vigil came and First Solemn Vespers was chanted in the evening at the Church along with dedicated Dominican Tertiaries and devout faithful, with Rosary and Benediction following soon after. We were fortunate enough too to have Fr Marc Nely SSPX visiting at that time from Menzingen. Father naturally presided over Vespers and also celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass the next day. It was a lovely liturgical start to the Feast Day, since a Dominican is first and foremost a contemplative. The Sacrifice of the Mass is always the climax of our day and the Divine Office a preparation and continuation of that Sacrifice. Some authors have compared the Mass to the Sun and the Divine Office, to the sun’s rays, which spread far and wide the glory of the sun.  Our Holy Father St Dominic Himself, once a Canon Regular, would tend to the Sacred Liturgy with much devotion and He always made the Mass the Centre of His life to the point that witnesses would frequently see him celebrate Mass with tears in his eyes.

Consequently, In imitation of our Saintly Founder, we had a good holy start to the morning, and only then did we proceed to have a special breakfast with Father and a most jolly and recreative morning. We divided ourselves into four teams and competed in various games devised by our Creative Canonical Novices. I must say, the most amusing game we participated in involved working as a team to carry 4 eggs, one at a time, from one end of the room to the other with a tea towel – no touching eggs with hands allowed. It was very interesting to see how each group worked in order to accomplish the task at hand.  Needless to say we were eating quite a few eggs thereafter but having lots of fun nevertheless.

Just after noon we partook of a splendid meal prepared by a lovely Cook in the Parish by the name of Mrs Lisa Braaksma. It was very very difficult not to tuck in enthusiastically since we had to be mindful of our traditional SISTERS vs STUDENTS netball game at 2pm. And what a game! Neck to neck all the way until the last quarter, when the final whistle brought the game to an end and a victory for both teams, since the scored turned out to be 17-17. Might I add the point that each quarter saw a whole new team of fresh and youthful girls play, while their opponents, the gracefully aging Sisters, plodded on playing a full 40 minute game.

The presentation of the Cup was followed by an afternoon tea for Benefactors, Tertiaries, Friends and Faithful as well as Past Dominican Pupils and the enjoyable day ended with the Divine Office – II Vespers, Matins and Compline.

On the Feasts of the Assumption and Ascension, we usually try to ASSUME or ASCEND something, so on August 15th, off we went to Mt Baw Baw to give our Equatorial Sisters a chance to experience what it is like in real snow. This gave us a day filled with such wonderful memories that we sang all the way home.

Soon after, our Sister Mary Anna, accompanied the St Thomas Aquinas College School Choir to an Eisteddfod.  And for those wondering what this peculiar word is all about, it is an annual festival, with competitions in stage, speech, dance and music. The girls performed beautifully and the adjudicator mentioned that as a choir they had a rare sweet quality of voice. They proudly walked away at the end of the night with a 1st and 3rd place, two lots of prize money and a rather prominent trophy.

Now Spring is here, the flowers are in bloom, the brightly coloured parrots fly to and fro, the sun is shining, the kangaroos are hopping about once again and one feels like leaping over the hills singing the praises of God. Again do the beautiful words of the Canticle of Canticles come to mind: The flowers have appeared in our land, the time of pruning is come; the voice of the turtle dove is heard; Arise, my love, my beautiful one and come……I have found Him whom my soul loveth.