The Exultation of the Holy Cross

Photo: Dominican Nun venerates the Crucifix

The following reflection is from a letter by the cloistered Carmelite St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), written for the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross in 1939. The world is in flames.  The conflagration can also reach our house.  But high above all flames towers the cross.  They cannot consume it.  It is the path from earth to heaven.  It will lift one who embraces it in faith, love, and hope into the bosom of the Trinity. The world is in flames. Are you impelled to put them out? Look at the cross.  From the open heart gushes the blood of the Savior.  This extinguishes the … Continue reading

Our Universal Apostolic Vocation

Image of Jesus Crucified and the Sacred Host surmounting a globe

In preparation for the Year of Consecrated Life, which begins this Advent, we have been reading Pope Pius XII’s apostolic constitution Sponsa Christi. The section below stood out as especially suitable to our vocation as cloistered contemplatives at the heart of the Dominican Order: how universal our apostolate, and how simple the means by which we exercise it! Let all Nuns therefore be thoroughly convinced that theirs is a fully and totally apostolic vocation, hemmed in by no limitations of space, matter or time, but always and everywhere extending to whatever in any way concerns the honor of the heavenly spouse of the salvation of souls. And this universal apostolic … Continue reading

Silence, Our Lady, and the Pope(s)

Francisco de Zurbarán, Childhood of the Virgin

Yesterday we united in fasting and prayer with our Holy Father Pope Francis and the universal Church for peace in Syria and throughout the world. Today we continue to pray urgently for this intention as we celebrate Our Lady’s Birthday and ponder on her silence and its relation to our life as Dominican nuns. The Holy Father’s General Intention for this month is “that people today, often overwhelmed by noise, may rediscover the value of silence, and listen to the voice of God and their brothers and sisters.” First the intention mentions the obstacle to silence: the overwhelming noise of modern life. This is, as Benedict XVI called it, “that … Continue reading

Vocation Letters: Helping Parents Understand

Drawing of a Dominican nun kneeling in prayer as she entrusts her family to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

This following installment in our fictional Vocation Letter series touches on some difficulties parents may face in understanding and accepting their daughter’s vocation to the cloistered life. Some imagine that girls who enter the cloister aren’t close to their families.  Not so!  We loved our families very much in the world, and love them even more now in Christ — and by fidelity to our cloistered vocation, we pray for an eternity with them in Heaven. Ave + Maria Dear Melanie, Prayerful greetings from Marbury during this month of the Precious Blood. We hope you are enjoying summer—we certainly are here, with a good deal of rain and a flourishing … Continue reading

Feast of St. Augustine: Enclosure Day

Photo of a Dominican Nun praying by the enclosure grille

The Feast of St. Augustine is special to us, first of all because St. Dominic and the early Friars chose the Rule of St. Augustine as the basis for our way of life. Secondly, it is the day on which our Foundresses were canonically enclosed in 1944, just 10 days after they arrived in Alabama. This is most unusual in the history of monastic foundations. Normally it takes a long time, sometimes years, to have a monastery built and ready for the Sisters to occupy in order for this to take place. But God provided our Founding Mothers upon their arrival on August 18th with a small frame house fully … Continue reading