The month of September heralds the coming of Spring here in Victoria, and our community was able to rejoice in the beautiful feast days of two of our members here at Rosary Convent. The feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin on September 15 had us commemorating the very first name day of Sister Maria Dolores, a canonical novice whose patron is none other than the Queen of Martyrs. The Mass and Office of that day recalls her Compassion with the Crucified Saviour and the Church's confidence in her maternal intercession for the redeemed faithful of Christ. May our dear Sister and our congregation continue to reap a rich spiritual harvest of graces for souls under the loving protection of a Mother who has suffered so much for our salvation.
The 29th of September was the Feast of St Michael the Archangel and Mother General’s Feast Day, and this year saw the Sisters at Rosary Convent making the day extra special in thanksgiving to Almighty God for our Foundress and Congregation.
As you might know, Mich-a-el means "who is like God," and it was this great Archangel who was chosen to lead God's army against Satan's forces. Thus Christian antiquity portrays him wielding a sword for he is truly the protector and the leader of the angelic army against the forces of evil. Indeed, there can be a parallel drawn between the great Archangel and the great St. Dominic who, in the 1200’s, was chosen by God to lead a new army of Religious – the Dominican Order.
St. Michael’s war cry is QUIS UT DEUS (who is like God?) and the Dominican motto is VERITAS (Truth). The Rosary worn by all Dominicans is attached on the left side and reflects both of these maxims as the sword used in their work of defending the Catholic faith and the interests of Christ. We thus honoured both St. Michael the Archangel and St Dominic in Mother Mary Micaela O.P. during this festive day.
This year, September the 29th fell on a Monday within the Spring term break. Our day at Rosary Convent began with Mass at Corpus Christi Church. It was a mild morning and heaven smiled sweetly down on us with the newness of spring, enabling us to lunch outside with our honoured guests Frs. Michael Delsorte and Jordie Stephens.
We then continued with tradition in the form of a festive play written by the Novices. A light-hearted One-Act-Comedy, based on an adaptation of A.A Milne’s The Ugly Ducking, was performed by a cast of stately court characters who portrayed the hilarious predicament of a beautiful Princess deemed hideous by all who saw her. The desperate attempts of her family to marry her off to an unsuspecting Prince results in a whole series of mistaken and disguised identities before finally culminating in a happily-ever-after ending of a love match for the royal couple and a beautiful fruit cake set alight by sparklers for the delighted sisters.
Mother General laughed heartily at the anecdotes, wisecracks and hilarious scenes that were littered throughout the play and at seeing her fellow sisters displaying their dramatic acting talents. Props and costumes in the form of cloaks, crowns, wigs and beards were used lavishly, the most notable being a platinum blonde wig worn by Sister Mary Anna who played the handsome Prince and the thick black bushy beard sported by Mother Mary Rose who acted as the King.
Fides the puppy also made her first appearance in the play as a jester’s dog. She gamely served as a source of revulsion, in spite of her sweet appearance, to a Sister acting as an uptight cleaning lady. The excitement and effort seemed a bit too much for Fides at the end, and she was carried out for a well-earned rest.
The spring break was not to finish without a Community trip to the great Australian outdoors. Mount Cannibal, a mere 10 minute drive from the convent, was our next destination a few days after the festivities ended. At an elevation of 241 metres, this granite hill offered challenging hiking along its steep paths as well as a variety of native wild-flowers and trees.
We huffed and puffed our way up the rocky route. Two distinctive vegetation communities exist in this reserve, with healthy woodland in the lower area and lowland forest as we rise up the hill.
Finally, we were rewarded with spectacular views of the surrounding town areas and countryside. A big lovely boulder hung off the edge of the cliff at the top of the hill, and the more cautious of the group simply watched with some horror as the braver Sisters stood very close to the edge on this rocky outcrop.
Fortunately, no cannibals were sighted, and we descended downhill for a drive through the charming Tynong-Garfield countryside.
Well-refreshed and ready for the beginning of the last school term, we headed back to St Thomas Aquinas College under the patronage of Our Lady of the Rosary at the beginning of October. May God grant that we will bear in mind our mission to preach the truth and to guide our charges, like St Michael and his angels, away from the spiritual and moral pitfalls they might encounter.