I always have a happy feeling when I come into Wicklow Town, maybe because its setting is so beautiful with the sea the hills and the Murrough. I remember being happy here because Wicklow was a good place to live and Holy Rosary a happy school. Close your eyes for a moment and see if you can imagine how the first 8 sisters felt as they approached the town in their carriages ; probably excited and nervous . Wasn’t it amazing that they opened the primary school only 4 days after arriving!
The gospel we have just heard, the Beatitudes is all about happiness and living a good life. Sometimes we use the word blessed instead of happy. The sisters came to teach children who had not had the opportunity to be educated, so you can imagine how pleased their parents were when the Dominican Sisters opened the school, just as your parents are pleased when they see you getting on well as you learn, and know that you are growing up to be the person God wants you to be, with all the individual gifts and talents that make you so special.
In the gospel just read, we hear that when Jesus saw the crowds he went up the mountain and sat down to teach his disciples; he was followed by many people who wanted to learn from him, not maths or reading or science but how to be good and happy people.
I do not know if the sisters thought about that gospel as they planned the opening of their school and the schools that followed or the Dominican Education they would give their students, but it seems to me that in Jesus’ words we find a plan for life, which, if we follow it, will bring us happiness .
Let us look at what Jesus is saying to us in this gospel which is good news for us as we remember the past and are inspired for the future:
Some of these Beatitudes as they are called, make us think:
What does it mean to be poor in spirit?
How can we be blessed when we are sad?
Is it really a blessing to be persecuted and have people say all sorts
of nasty things about us or put bad things about us on social media?
Other Beatitudes are easier to understand but I believe Jesus always asks us to use our minds and hearts and then put what we learn into practice in our lives . We can do this whether we are child, young adult or an older person.
We can love God ,with all our hearts, thanking God for all the good things and praying for what we need . We know that God loves each one- Happy are the poor in spirit, Happy are the pure in heart
We can be strong but gentle not bullying others- Happy are the meek
We can be unselfish and generous, and think of others even when we are sad ourselves -Blessed are those who mourn
We can be peaceful, not mean and cruel to others Happy are the peacemakers
We can stand up for good and be ready to forgive those who hurt us;
Happy are those who are persecuted
We can be fair and just, doing all we can to care for others and for the beautiful planet we live on, which is suffering so much. Happy are
those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
Later on, you can think of how you can be a blessed, happy person by living your life the way Jesus asks you. In that way you will not only be happy yourself but you will spread that happiness around.
I have a little prayer that has always helped me and I hope it will help you. Will you say each line after me?
I am only one but I am one
I can’t do everything but I can do something What I can do I ought to do,
What I ought to do I will do
By the grace of God
If all of us here today can live by the Beatitudes I think those first 8 Dominican sisters would be very proud of each one of us and so would Jesus and St. Dominic!
Sr Elisabeth Healy OP Congregation Prioress
Welcome to the 4 Corners Festival
31 January – 9 February 2020.
The 4 Corners Festival seeks to inspire people from across the city to transform it for the peace and prosperity of all. It consists of innovative events designed to entice people out of their own ‘corners’ of the city and into new places where they will encounter new perspectives, new ideas, and new friends.
For further information click here: https://4cornersfestival.com
Celebrating 150 Years of Dominican presence in Wicklow
“Celebrating the past…inspiring the future”.
The Eucharist to celebrate the 150 years of Dominican presence in Wicklow will be streamed live through the Parish webcam on the parish website which can be accessed by clicking here: http://www.wicklowparish.ie/sacraments-services/live-mass-services/ the Eucharist celebration is scheduled for 11:00 am in St. Patrick’s Church, Wicklow Town on Friday 17th January, 2020
We wish the community, schools and parish every blessing during their celebrations.
The 2020 theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has been selected. “They Showed Us Unusual Kindness” (cf. Acts 28:2). This year the theme finds its origins in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 27:18 – 28:10).
The Inaugural Service for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Dublin) takes place on
Sunday, 19th January at 4pm,
in the Church of the Assumption, Booterstown Avenue, Booterstown, Blackrock, Co. Dublin.
Guest Preacher: Rev. Abigail Sines, Dean’s Vicar in Christ Church Cathedral.
This act of worship is organised by the Dublin Council of Churches and uses material created by the Churches in Malta based on Acts 27 v. 18 – 28 v.10.
For further information click here https://www.dublincouncilofchurches.ie/events
The international resources for THE WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY and throughout the year 2020 are available at http://www.christianunity.va/
Further resources available at https://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/week-of-prayer/week-of-prayer
Pope Francis has designated the third Sunday of the Year (26/1/’20) as Sunday of the Word of God.
By a recent promulgation, called “Aperuit Illis” (“He opened to them [the Scriptures]”), Pope Francis has designated the third Sunday of the Year as Sunday of the Word of God. In it he tells us that:
Devoting a specific Sunday of the liturgical year to the word of God can enable the Church to experience anew how the risen Lord opens up for us the treasury of his word and enables us to proclaim its unfathomable riches before the world. Here, we are reminded of the teaching of Saint Ephrem: “Who is able to understand, Lord, all the richness of even one of your words? There is more that eludes us than what we can understand. We are like the thirsty drinking from a fountain. Your word has as many aspects as the perspectives of those who study it. The Lord has coloured his word with diverse beauties, so that those who study it can contemplate what stirs them. He has hidden in his word all treasures, so that each of us may find a richness in what he or she contemplates.”
He reminds us that:
When sacred Scripture is read in the light of the same Spirit by whom it was written, it remains ever new. The Old Testament is never old once it is part of the New, since all has been transformed thanks to the one Spirit who inspired it. The sacred text as a whole serves a prophetic function regarding not the future but the present of whoever is nourished by this word. Jesus himself clearly stated this at the beginning of his ministry: “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Lk 4:21). Those who draw daily nourishment from God’s word become, like Jesus, a contemporary of all those whom they encounter: they are not tempted to fall into sterile nostalgia for the past, or to dream of ethereal utopias yet to come.
For further resources go to: https://www.catholicbishops.ie/2019/12/17/resources-for-sunday-of-the-word-of-god/
If it is true that since the late 19th century the Baltic States have represented the outpost of freedom on the frontier between East and West and that in 1990 they were the first states to proclaim their independence from the USSR, there could have hardly been a better place for holding the annual Young Sisters of the Order of Preachers (YSOP 2019) Conference. The event took place in Riga, Latvia, from the 3rd to the 5th of January. Dominican Sisters from Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Germany, Norway and Spain, England, Ireland and the United States have gathered to share a time of personal growth, common prayer and reflection on “ Wounds and Wars: Healing and Peacebuilding: A History of the 20th Century” and to discuss “All that makes us ‘us’: Memory and Identity”. Sr Pilar del Barrio, Dominican Sisters Europe (DSE) coordinator led the conference assisted by her council.
The gathering was held at the Convent of the Sisters of Bethany. The prioress Sr Hanna Rita Laue OP and her community
offered a friendly and welcoming setting that made possible a joyful and fruitful exchange of ideas, experiences and challenges.
The main speakers were Church Historians Dr. Jitka Jonová and Sr Sabine Schratz OP. Jitka, a lay Dominican senior lecturer at Sts Cyril and Methodius Faculty of Theology, Palacký University and Sr Sabine Schratz, Director of Lumen Dominican Centre in Dublin and member of the Historical Institute of the Order of Preachers have provided the participants with a critical analysis of the intricated history of the 20th century, focusing in particular on the impact of the two World Wars and of the advent of communism on European history, culture and religious life. Their thorough presentations sparked an engaging and fruitful discussion that allowed the sisters to appreciate and compare how differently the same events affected their own countries and culture. Particularly interesting and moving testimonies came from the Slovakian, Czech, Hungarian and Latvian sisters who shared instances of heroic resistance to persecution of the Catholic Church under communist regimes.
Strength and weaknesses of international organizations such as the League of Nations and the United Nations were also discussed particularly in relation to global questions such as protection of minority rights, environmental issues and migration. In this respect the final and conclusive discussion greatly benefited from the participation of the international coordinator for Dominican Sisters International(DSI) Sr Margaret Mayce OP, who shared with the sisters some of the lessons learnt through her long experience over eleven years as the NGO Representative at the United Nations in New York City. Sr Margaret reminded YSOP that framing European challenges without loosing sight of the global perspective is not only a necessity arising from a world becoming increasingly more interdependent, but also and no less importantly it is a constitutive element of the Dominican call to preach the truth and “to go and make disciples of all nations” (Mt, 28:19).
Sr Sabine’s insightful account of the complex interplay between memory and identity and the role that history plays in shaping both has resulted on the one hand in a deeper awareness of how little we know about each other’s history but at the same time it has allowed to appreciate the role that DSE plays in filling these gaps bringing Dominican sisters together and promoting collaboration among different countries and regions by overcoming linguistic and intellectual barriers.
Sr. Chiara Mary Tessaris English Dominican Congregation of St Catherine of Siena.
(Posted with the permission of Sr. Chiara Mary Tessaris. Photos courtesy of Sisters Sheeba Jem and Diana Cermane)
The next YSOP meeting will be held in Madrid from 8-10 January, 2021 on the theme: Signs of the times in the distortion of truth. Young Sisters of the Order of Preachers (YSOP) is a yearly meeting that brings together young Dominican sisters across Europe. Young Dominican sisters includes novices and sisters with less than 20 years of professed life. Translations for different languages will be provided as necessary. Please contact the DSE council member for your language zone in order to sign up! Information on upcoming events and updates can be found on the DSE website: https://dseurope.wordpress.com/
Click below to access Sr. Máire Kealy’s OP, (known as Sr. Cynthia), story of Dominican Education in Ballyfermot.
Sr. Máire was actively involved in teaching and administration in both primary and secondary schools on the Dominican Campus, Ballyfermot, Dublin.
Dominincan Ed in Ballyfermot WEB Version
I would like to congratulate Sr Máire on her wonderful documentation of the social history of Ballyfermot and the impact that Dominican Education had on the lives of the young women with the provision of educational facilities.
She certainly captures life in the early 1950s vividly and how the opportunities provided by the Dominican sisters and other Religious organisations encouraged the young women to believe that education was crucial in their lives and in their future.
Sr Máire and the other sisters certainly laid strong ‘foundation stones’ for the people of Ballyfermot and for all of us who were lucky to follow in their footsteps in continuing to embed the importance of holistic education in our schools.
The Primary schools grew rapidly and went from strength to strength which resulted in the establishment of St Dominic’s Secondary School in 1956. Now, more than 60 years later, we are proud to continue to provide a strong and vibrant education for our young girls under the Trusteeship of Le Chéile.
Personally, I am honoured to have been lucky to spend 41 years of my teaching career in Ballyfermot, having arrived in St Dominic’s in 19-77!!!!! Naturally, I have experienced many changes and opportunities in the intervening years and I have no doubt that thanks to the Dominican Sisters, local Community organisations, staff and parents, we have certainly ensured that all our young ladies were challenged to be ‘the best that they can be’ and were and are provided with opportunities to take their place in an ever changing world.
Mar focal scoir, I certainly look forward to documenting the many memories from 1978!!!
Thanks to Ken Larkin Ballyfermot Heritage Group who captured the launch through photos and videos which can be viewed by clicking this Flicker Photo Album https://www.flickr.com/photos/ballyfermot/albums/72157711973462897 enjoy!
Mary Daly Former Teacher (September 1977 to 1997, Principal August 1997 -2018)
Dominican students and staff from across Ireland participated in this year’s Dominican Youth Forum in Cabra, Dublin to Praise, to Bless and to Preach through strengthen Dominican links, and developing new friendship based on the four Dominican pillars: Prayer, Mission, Community and Study.
The theme for this years forum was Together for Tomorrow – Can We End Youth Homelessness in Ireland?
The day began with a creative morning prayer lead by Siobhan Tighe and Kevin Mullally. This was followed by a talk on Dominican Charism given by Sr. Sabine Schratz OP (Director of Lumen Dominican Education Centre, Blackrock Dublin).
Our keynote speaker Fr. Peter McVerry (The McVerry Trust) gave an informative, challenging, and inspiring talk to those present. This was followed by a guest who spoke about their experience of being homeless and how they survived.
Thanks to all those who helped to make this years Dominican Youth Forum possible a special thanks to Sr. Susie O’ Rawe OP (Coordinator DYF), Srs. Sabine, Eileen and Odhran OP and all the participants.
Reflection for the Feast of the Guardian Angels, 2 October 2019 at Evening Prayer
The Catholic Chaplaincy in Queens University Belfast
“She was my angel in Kerdiffstown during my novitiate” – my older Dominican Sisters often describe another sister with this phrase.
Usually a so-called angel was a second year novice or recently professed sister, and she was aptly named.
Her role was a little like that of a guardian angel – taking a newly entered postulant under her wings, helping her to settle, guiding and caring for the one placed in her charge.
You might wonder why this was the practice in our Congregation.
In many ways, entering the convent was – and still is – like entering a parallel universe.
Things are familiar yet somehow strange; done in a particular way and at particular times; one can sense unwritten codes of behaviour that can be difficult to decipher. Some things make little sense, yet everyone seems to understand them and to know what to do. When you are new to it all, it can be quite overwhelming … one can feel very lost very quickly.
Hence, the practice of appointing an angel to each new sister made eminent sense – helping them to find their way in this new world was both necessary and wise.
I expect most, if not all of you, can identify with how these sisters felt.
Although you haven’t become religious sisters or brothers – at least not yet – you have experienced being ‘new’ with all that that entails.
Like entering the convent, beginning university brings challenges, some welcome, some less so.
As new students, there is a period of adjusting and adapting to what is unfamiliar and of growing into a new way of being you.
Many of you are living away from home for the first time – with people who are not family, maybe even with strangers. You have more freedom but also more responsibility.
That’s exciting and a little terrifying.
Suddenly, you’re the adult whether you’re ready for it or not.
And more often than not, you cope – we all do!
Adulting is hard, but we get there. We negotiate life and we find our way.
But the path is not always straight or smooth.
Perhaps there have been times when you felt more in need of a guardian angel. Perhaps, you could do with that support now.
To recognise that we are not in control of everything and don’t need to be is helpful.
We don’t have to do it all alone.
We can rely on God and on the goodness of other people.
Today we celebrate our Guardian Angels – expressions of God’s enduring love and care for each one of us. Again and again, Scripture relates this.
In Exodus, we read: “The Lord says this: ‘I myself will send an angel before you to guard you.’”
Our guardian angels are a reminder that none of us are insignificant or unimportant or go unnoticed. In fact, for God, it’s the exact opposite – we each matter to God for who we are – God sees and loves each one of us as if we were the only one.
As we commemorate the gift of our guardian angels, I offer three suggestions:
Firstly – remember that angels like to be asked.
If you don’t already do so, why not pray to your guardian angel as an ongoing reminder of God’s love for you. Call on their help and ask their guidance and protection.
You might pray as you leave the house, when you begin your commute, before you take up a new task. Perhaps, it could form bookends for your day by making it your first and last prayer of each day.
Perhaps you are struggling right now and could do with care and support. If you are, don’t be afraid to ask.
Pray to your guardian angel and be open. Sometimes the answer to your prayer will come in a human guise. As Hebrews reminds us, there are angels all around us – we just need eyes to recognise them.
Secondly – remember that you can pray for others.
You might consider praying to other people’s guardian angels, invoking their guardian angel to be with them.
If you see someone else is having a hard time, don’t wait for them to ask. Pray for them and be an answer to their prayer.
In particular, try to do this for people you struggle with or find difficult … they are already in God’s loving care but actively praying that for them can be the beginning of change in you.
Finally – remember that others pray for you.
Here in the chaplaincy, we hold all who walk through the doors, both students and staff, continually in our prayers. Our hope is that we can be present to you and with you, assisting you in building your relationship with God and with others.
We might end by praying to our guardian angels together:
O Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here; ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.
Sr Eileen O’Connell OP.