On Monday the 10th of December, we here in St. Mary’s Cabra looked out our front door and beheld a sea of young faces – the students from Australia had arrived. We welcomed them and led them to our dining room for a cup of tea and a chat,there were about forty of them. They were accompanied by four teachers.
These students had come from the Dominican secondary school in Adelaide where sisters from St. Mary’s Dominican Convent , Cabra had founded a community in 1868.These girls were very conscious of their Cabra roots, a few of them had earlier given us an account of the foundation of the convent and described their school and its present activities.As they chatted to us informally in our dining room we learned of their strong Dominican ethos. We were particularly impressed by their outreach – some students from their school went to Cambodia and spent some time among the poor there.Others went to the Australian outback and spent time among the indigenous people.
The evening concluded with a very pleasant performance of songs by the students in our chapel. Along with them we gave thanks for the very fruitful 150 years of Dominican education in Adelaide.
Sr. Kathleen Egan OP
FEBRUARY: “Black History Month, also known as African-American History Month in the U.S., is an annual observance in Canada, Ireland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It began as a way for remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora”. (Wikipedia)
It is February 1st (at time of writing) and you are invited to read the Google link about Sojourner Truth. and learn of her significance regarding women’s rights (“aint I a woman?”) and abolitionist. Those who minister/ministered to the African American community understand how important she continues to be as a role model.
In a similar context, why not also “SEARCH” Frederick Douglass (Sometimes referred to as the African American Daniel O’Connell, in terms of the latter’s campaign for Emancipation for Catholics in Ireland.)
February continues for 28 days, so you are invited to read more via the internet, if you are unaware of any other sources.
We also remember the importance of other role models- the “Freedom walkers” of their time e.g Mandela in S Africa; and, nearer home, in the Irish and British context, we recall women’s role in their “Freedom “walks and campaigns.
Today’s questions: Who, and where are, the freedom walkers of our time? How do, or can we support them?
Sr. Maris Stella McKeown OP
On Tuesday 29th January, the Bicentenary Eucharistic celebration took place in the Church of the Most Precious Blood, Cabra West, celebrating the 200 years of Dominican Sisters’ presence in Cabra.
Click here to read Homily by Fr. Michael O’Grady, (Parish Priest, Church of the Most Precious Blood, Cabra West )
Click her to read Welcome by Ms. Anne Donnelly Principal of St. Dominic’s College, Cabra
Catholic Schools Week 2019 began on Sunday January 27th. The theme this year is, “Catholic Schools: Celebrate the Work of Our Own Catholic School”. Fifty schools in the Dublin diocese will participate in a Laudate evening of song and prayer in three different Churches in Dublin. Here, with their families they will sing and pray old and new hymns of our tradition. It is time to remember all the good in our Catholic schools and to show appreciation to parents and staff for the nourishment they give in passing on God’s message of love. During the week we celebrate also the Feasts of Thomas Aquinas, John Bosco and Brigid. What wonderful examples they are of looking up to in our spread of the good of all God’s creation and our need to care for all. Sr Máire Kealy’s book, “Dominican Education in Ireland 1820-1930”, reminds us of our charism of education when she quotes the late Sr Bede Kearns who defined beautifully Dominican education as follows;
“There is nothing exclusive about the Dominican idea of education any more than there is about the Dominican apostolate of evangelising by preaching. But there is a unique charism inspiring both: a way of education and preaching which springs from the Dominican vision and way of life, the Dominican regard for the person made in the image of God, and for all God’s creation”.
I love telling the story of St Brigid’s cloak to children in the primary school and watching them sing, dance, draw and paint as they retell that story through song and image. The song, colour, possibility and joy in watching the imagination spread across countless boundaries gives so much hope and that gives life and all the love needed to live it. A blessed Catholic Schools Week to all our primary schools, may we cherish and nourish all that is good in our tradition.
Sr Edel Murphy OP
World Youth Day 2019
World Youth Day takes place in Panama this year. The theme is: I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word. Lk 1:38. The website (worldyouthday.com)has lots of material. We keep all who are participating in World Youth Day in our prayers.
Official World Youth Day Prayer.
You call us to live our lives as a way of salvation.
Help us to recall the past with gratitude,
to embrace the present with courage
and to build the future with hope.
Lord Jesus, our friend and brother,
thank you for looking upon us with love.
Let us listen to your voice as it resonates in the hearts of each one
with the strength and light of the Holy Spirit.
Grant us the grace of being a Church that goes forth with vibrant faith
and a youthful face to communicate the joy of the Gospel.
May we help to build up the kind of society we long for,
one where there is fairness and fellowship.
We pray for the Pope and the bishops; for young people;
for all those who will take part in World Youth Day in Panama
and for those who are preparing to welcome them.
Our Lady of Antigua, Patroness of Panama,
help us to pray and live with generosity like yours:
“I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38).
It has become tradition that representatives of the young(er) Dominican Sisters from all over Europe meet during the first weekend of January to establish and refresh relationships, share news, and reflect on a topic together. This year, thirteen Sisters from nine different countries set out for the far north. Ice and snow were guaranteed in wintery Norway but equally, as we knew from the previous meeting, the warm welcome of the community in Katarinahjemmet, Oslo, whose hospitality was phenomenal. The theme of this year’s gathering was “Contemplation and Beauty.”
In truly Dominican style, we started off with Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) and were privileged to have Dr Gregory Reichberg with us, Research Professor at the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Oslo. Even though beauty does not get much mention in Aquinas’ works it is nonetheless at the centre of his theological vision, as Dr Reichberg emphasised. As one of God’s attributes, beauty – and our desire for an ever-deeper knowledge of it – draws us towards him and sets us on a journey in faith which holds the promise of the beatific vision as our final destiny.
Beauty’s capacity to transcend sensual reality creates the link to art. In two sessions, Fr Alain Arnauld OP, Socius of the Master of the Order for Northwestern Europe and Canada, explored the long and valued tradition in the Dominican Order of using of art for contemplation and preaching. Certainly, the best-known example of this is Fra Angelico OP (1395-1455) who inspired a whole school of Dominican painters (male and female!), located in San Marco, Florence. Their paintings convey theological ideas and reform agendas but, above all, aim to draw the beholder into prayer. But what about art in Christian life today? Whereas earlier Christian works seem to instil a certain nostalgia, actual art is regularly met with apprehension. It is decried as intellectual and all too often as failing the alleged artistic criteria of beauty and craftsmanship. Fr Alain showed that all three objections can and have to be contested. If we want to engage with today’s culture, we must not deprive ourselves of its art as a medium to help people on their journey of faith.
Finally, Sr Dana Benedicta Pawlowicz OP, artist in the Katarinahjemmet community, reflected on truth as the highest form of beauty. She described how both artist and preacher are called to listen, love and use their creativity to communicate the truth. We explored how, in today’s world, we can fulfil the task with which Adam was entrusted: to name everything in the right way and give it the right significance.
The Dominican artist Kim En Joong once said that all who enter a church “must be invited to elevation.” His words surely translate to the community which is the Church. The three days in Oslo were a truly elevating experience of this community in Christ (and St Dominic): studying, praying and simply enjoying each other’s company. Tusen takk!
Sr. Sabine Schratz OP
Attached below see the poster re Aquinas Lecture 2019 and also further information on the Spring Semester of studies at the Priory Institute
Nollaig Shona Dhuit
Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia
A Christmas Prayer
Emmanuel, God with us you chose to come for each person,
the destitute and the wealthy, the unfortunate and the privileged,
the troubled and the peaceful, the healthy and the ill.
You came in human form with a message of extravagant love,
showing us how to be with those who have much less than we do.
You came offering a gesture of respect and reverence instead of indifference and disdain;
giving courteous kindness in place of thoughtless disregard;
contributing ongoing support rather than merely holiday handout.
Change my heart. Turn it inside out, toward the larger world.
Remind me daily of those who struggle with their basic existence.
Lead me to help change social systems that contribute to this ongoing struggle.
Enlarge my awareness. Increase my generosity.
Guide my choices of how to live, what I purchase, and how I use my material wealth.
Remind me often of your presence in those I tend to ignore or forget
Boundless Love, thank you for cherishing each person on this planet