Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Notice To Our Blog Followers

We wish to thank all our faithful friends and Networked blog followers for your continued support. 


We will no longer updating our  If you wish to continue receiving our monastery news and reflections, please go to:  and enter your email address to subscribe to our Website.  You'll automatically receive notifications of new posts and reflections by email.


Our prayers continue to be with you.  If you wish the nuns to pray for your specific needs and intentions at any time, please send email to:


you'll automatically get every update

Read more :
you'll automatically get every update

Read more :
you'll automatically get every update

Read more :

Saturday, December 13, 2014

For the Sake of Love

Fra Angelico - Appearance of St Agatha to St Lucy
S.Lucia Altar, St. Agatha appears to St. Lucy by Fra Angelico

A young woman spent the night with her desperately ill mother before the relics of St. Agatha.  Tired from their vigil, they both fell asleep.  As the young woman dreamed, St. Agatha appeared to her and told her two things: First, her mother would be healed, and second, she (the young woman) would die a martyr.  Waking from her dream, her mother was cured and allowed the young woman to consecrate herself to God.  The young man who had hoped to marry the young woman was bitterly angry and brought her before the government on charges that, if she was convicted, would mean a gruesome death.  She was found guilty of being a Christian and was burned at the stake and stabbed through the heart.

A terribly tragic story…or is it really?  Looked at through the eyes of faith, we can also see in it a beautiful love story.  This was the story of St. Lucy, whose feast we celebrate today, handed down to us through legend.  Because of her devotion and love for Jesus, she was willing to sacrifice even her life on earth rather than deny Him.  As a result, she is with Him for all eternity.  Now, how many love stories in Hollywood have as an ending joy and happiness with one’s beloved for all eternity?

The mystery of St. Lucy’s decision to abandon marriage for love of Christ and consecrate herself to Him is still with us today.  Too often, we are confused about love –movies, books, and songs mistake romance and lust with love.  We are left with the impression that love is about roses, physical passion and hearing grand swells of music whenever our loved one is near.  But flowers wilt, romance gives way to the reality of daily life and sometimes the music of life strikes our ears as just plain noise.  It is then we get to the reality of love – love is an act of the will, to will the good for the other.  Sometimes, often, we must make sacrifices and hard decisions.  Only then can we say we have truly loved.

This is the reality of love no matter to which vocation God has called you.  We are all called to love, to become holy.   Then, the question of discerning your vocation becomes “how is God calling me to love?”  For humans, the married life seems more natural and considering the priesthood or consecrated life is more dramatic, shocking even.  With married love, we often may gloss over the struggles and sacrifices required to make marriage work.  A young couple goes to the priest with doe eyes for each other, yet hasn’t considered the work of marriage – how will they be good stewards of the money they earn?  How will they raise their children?  Suddenly, they may find themselves far apart on critical issues foundational to marriage.  Then there are the daily sacrifices and observances required to love one’s spouse.  A marriage may not have a formal rule like a consecrated community, but to be sure one must be willing to sacrifice their own will for the good of the other if the marriage relationship is to survive and thrive.  

On the other hand, we often see the sacrifices of consecrated life much more easily, and tend to forget the tremendous love and graces given to those who faithfully persevere in religious life.  We see the rule, the discipline, and the boundaries and forget that the reason these are in place is to provide the religious with maximum freedom to love – if I know I must be somewhere at a certain time, I am free to focus on loving God and my sisters during that time and activity.  The consecrated religious does not necessarily have to think about fitting in time for prayer because it is done for them through the rule.  This frees them to focus on their interior disposition during that time of prayer.  There is true freedom and a protected garden for real love to flourish.  Whether married, ordained, or consecrated, love transforms daily struggles, tasks, disciplines, and other actions from “I must do…” to, “I get to do…”

Finally, returning to our Saint Lucy, in today’s Office of Readings, we have this meditation by St. Ambrose from his book, “On Virginity”:

You are one of God’s people, of God’s family, a virgin among virgins; you light up your grace of body with your splendor of soul.  More than others you can be compared to the Church…  This is the person Christ has loved in loving you, the person he has chosen in choosing you.  He enters by the open door; he has promised to come in, and he cannot deceive.  Embrace him, the one you have sought; turn to him, and be enlightened; hold him fast, ask him not to go in haste, beg him not to leave you.  The Word of God moves swiftly; he is not won by the lukewarm, nor held fast by the negligent.  Let your soul be attentive to his word; follow carefully the path God tells you to take, for he is swift in passing.
How is Jesus, the lover of our souls, calling you to Him?  Through a marriage relationship? Ordained ministry?  Consecrated life?  Then do not be afraid!  Fly!  Keep your eyes on Jesus and do not look at the crashing waves the enemy would blast around you to keep you from Christ – stay faithful and God will resolve any doubts or obstacles in His time according to His will.  Pursue Him, while He is still near.  For the sake of Love!

Elderly nun with crucifix and veiled face and quote

Are you, or do you know, a young, single Catholic woman?  Join us for our upcoming “Come and See” Day on January 17th, 2015.  Click here to learn more.

Monday, December 8, 2014

By The Light Of The Moon

A Reflection...

Thirst drove me to the refectory after Compline. As I entered the cloister walk to cut across the garden, I paused in the middle and leaned back against St. Dominic to look up. Scattered across the deepening velvet sky like glittering diamonds were stars, periodically joined by the twinkling lights of a passing airplane. The daytime noises of flitting birds, bees and other creatures were gone, replaced by a sleepy hush that covered the cloistered like a blanket. As I looked around, I noticed the bell tower was being illuminated by a growing white light. As the light rose in the sky, still behind the opposite roof of the cloister, the shadows in the cloister began to lessen and silverly ran down the walls, down the pillars and into the cloister walk. Finally, above the roof and silhouetting a tall fir on the back side of the monastery, rose a brilliant full moon.

Today we celebrate the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. What does that mean? Why is this important?

By “immaculate conception”, we mean that Mary was conceived without sin, by the grace of God. When God made Adam and Eve, they lived in a state of holiness, of perfection. They lost this perfection for all mankind through their sin. Since that time, all people, until Mary, have been born in a fallen state, the state of original sin. But God did not intend to leave us in that state. He promised Adam and Eve, and others throughout the generations, that He would provide a Savior to redeem us and bring us back into a state of holiness. That Savior was to be God Himself – the second person of the Trinity, the Son and Word of God – He was to come to earth as one of us, and would be named Jesus.

Mary, who was to be called by God to be Jesus’ mother, was given a “singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ…” (Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus (1854)) to be free and immune from the stain of original sin. How do we know this? The angel Gabriel tells us so when he refers to her as “full of grace”. To be “full of grace” is to be perfect. Sinless. Holy.

Does this mean we are saying Mary didn’t need Jesus as her savior? Certainly not. Mary received this singular grace completely from Jesus Christ. God, being outside of time and space and being, well, God, chose Mary to receive this grace because of Jesus – if God was so particular about the Ark of the Covenant, which to be His mercy seat on earth, what more fitting place for the Son of God to live and grow for nine months that in the womb of a sinless woman? The fact that Mary was immaculately conceived reveals more about God and His abundant love and mercy and His plans of salvation made available to everyone.

As Jesus is the sun, Mary is the moon – reflecting the light of her Savior and Love, dazzlingly brilliant, to a world shrouded in darkness until her Son returns in glory.

Blessed Virgin Mary, Immaculate Conception, pray for us!

I Fly Unto Thee

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Silence is Golden

A Reflection from the Novitiate

It’s often said being in the novitiate is a little like being back to school or being in boot camp. You leave behind a world that is comfortable and familiar and walk through the door to a new and exciting adventure with new people, rules and lots of opportunity to make fresh mistakes, learn and grow.

This past week, we’ve been studying Venite Sorsum: Instruction on the Contemplative Life and on the Enclosure of Nuns, and Verbi Sponsa.

There are so many beautiful things pointed out and described in these documents about the purpose and life of cloistered nuns. But one of the most palpable things people notice when they visit a monastery and which can so easily be broken, is the silence.

We live in a noisy world. Our senses are constantly bombarded with sights and sounds. Our minds flit from social media to television and radio to information from various print and online sources. We can’t keep up!

Within the enclosure, the nuns give up this noise (and many other things) so that [Jesus] alone may dwell in the utter silence of the cloister filling it with His Word and presence… (Verbi Sponsa.) You may recall the story of Elijah sitting in a cave waiting to hear from God. A fire came by, and the earth shook, but God’s voice did not boom from either. Rather, it came as a whisper in the wind. That’s the voice that speaks to our hearts, if we are quiet and still enough to listen.

So what is one result of cultivating silence in the monastery? Noise, any noise, begins to seem really loud. And it echos. Asceticism Lesson #1: How to silently open and close a door.

It seems a small thing, but small things matter. When careless, needless noise breaks the silence, whether a closing door, hard footfalls, needless whispers or conversations, not only do we keep ourselves from hearing Jesus in that moment, but we likely have also disturbed others. So, out of charity, we relearn how to close a door, avoid squeaky places on the floors when possible, and weigh whether a thought is important and urgent enough to break silence then and there, or if it can wait for a better time or place. When we do things quietly to maintain our silence out of love for God and for others, silence becomes virtuous and efficacious. And…after a while a certain sweetness is born in the heart of this exercise and the body is drawn almost by force to remain silence. (St. Isaac of Syria)

Of course, most people are not called to live inside a cloister. But we all should try to carve out at least a little silence daily and invite Jesus to fill it.

May we all experience the fullness of God’s loving mystery during this Advent season as we silently await the coming of our great King.
Deo Gratias!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Joy/Fear Paradigm

“You know, people have a lot of misconceptions about nuns. For example, before I visited, I had no idea nuns were so joyful!”

This comment is often repeated by candidates and aspirants to our monastery. It is unfortunate that, for many people in our society, they think of nuns as old, dour-faced women who one day decided they couldn’t face life in the world any longer, so they shut themselves inside a building with walls. Yet, in a healthy religious community, the opposite is true. The monastery often contains women, young and young at heart, who love life, and love God and the world so much, they choose to spend their days praising God and praying for the world. There is an undercurrent of deep and contagious joy that often springs forth (especially for Dominicans – St. Dominic was known as the joyful friar everywhere he went and his children have inherited his joy). Why is this?

The Gospel on Sunday gives us some insight. It is the parable of the talents told by Jesus to His disciples. In the parable, two faithful servants who used wisely the talents their master entrusted to them. In response, the master told these two servants they were to share in his joy. But to the servant who acted out of fear and buried his talent, the master spoke harsh words with grave consequences.


When we respond generously and use the talents and gifts God has entrusted to us according to His will for us, we too share in His joy.

Imagine the joy God has and sharing more fully in it! That’s not to say we won’t experience fear. No doubt the two faithful servants also knew of their master’s reputation. Yet they chose to not allow fear to keep them from prudently using their talents and multiplying them.

God knows we struggle with fear and how it can cripple us, often keeping us from seeking and following Him. Our first parents, Adam and Eve hid from Him in the Garden of Eden because they were afraid. God has told us in the Scriptures 365 times “Do not be afraid.” And finally, Jesus conquered fear in the Garden of Gethsemane when, in His agony over facing torture and death on a cross, He finished His prayer with these words: “Not my will, but Yours be done.” In that Garden, we see that “perfect love casts out fear.”

Do you have deep joy? Is there something in your life that you try to hide from God because you are afraid? Have you asked God how He wants you to use your talents and then taken steps to be faithful and do it?

If you think God might be calling you to religious life, prayer is the most important place to begin, and then reach out to others like priests and religious to help you in your discernment. It is also very beneficial to attend discernment opportunities like a vocation day or weekend with a religious community. You may click here to find out about our discernment day in January or to contact our vocation directress who is always happy to accompany you on your discernment journey.

Let us leave you with a beautiful mediation written by C.S. Lewis on the great risk of love...

"There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell". 

Deo Gratias!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Being Surrounded By The Cloud of Witnesses!


-Mass with our Dominican Friars earlier this month-

As Dominicans we hold this month of all saints and all souls very special in our hearts and prayers.

Each year, in addition to celebrating the traditional All Saints with the people of God, we also celebrate All Dominican Saints on November 7th and offer Mass along with praying the Office of the Dead for all our deceased Brothers and Sisters of the Order of Preachers on November 8th. Needless to say, it is a blessing to be a Dominican and a comfort to know that after we finished our earthly pilgrimage, we are always being remembered by our Dominican family in thoughts and prayers throughout the world.

What do the Dominican saints and our deceased Dominican Brothers and Sisters have in common? We can easily make the connection. When we listen to the words of our brother Henri-Dominique Lacordaire as he described the lives of the Dominican saints in his essay on the Re-establishment in France of the Order of Preachers, we are reminded of the faithful lives of all our Brothers and Sisters who have gone to the Father's house before us.

…Like their Master all of them wanted to be poor at a time when the Church was rich, poor even to the extent of being beggars. All of them, like their Father, at a time when the Church was powerful, wanted to exercise only one kind of authority: the voluntary surrender of human minds to virtue. They did not say as the heretics did: "The Church must be despoiled!" But rather they despoiled the Church in themselves and by themselves…

They loved God, they loved God truly, they loved God above all else. They loved their neighbor as themselves and more than themselves. They had received in their hearts that wound which has made all the saints eloquent. In addition to this asset of a passionate soul, without which no orator has ever existed, the Friars Preachers showed considerable shrewdness in grasping the kind of preaching which was suited to their time…

Throughout the day as our community gathers in prayer for the needs of the world and to give praise and thanksgiving to the Living God, we are edified and encouraged by the witnesses of our brothers in sisters whose presence surrounds us. Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, it is easier to strive and run the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus.

OPNunsmenlo_ChoirThe Gothic splendor inside the nuns’ choir (chapel) with the stained glass windows of the Dominican Saints represented by their symbols.



 This shield represents Saint Peter of Verona who was felled by the assassins' sword after a long apostolic career and with the blood that flowed from his wounds wrote the first words of the Apostles' Creed on the ground, "I believe in God."




 -Cloister of the Dead-

Beneath the Altar is the crypt where our beloved Sisters are buried and where we often visit and pray for them and for all the holy souls, especially during this month for souls.



 Each Sunday during November we offer the Mass for the Holy Souls whose names have been sent to us by their loved ones.

Deo Gratias!

Friday, November 14, 2014

From The “Bar” To The “Grille”!


Exciting news!

You may have already guessed from the most recent pictures we’ve shared, but here is the long-awaited formal announcement.

On November 1st, the Solemnity of All Saints, Sister Tara entered the cloister as our newest Postulant!

Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, Sr. Tara obtained her law degree before entering into full communion with the Catholic Church. She completed her aspirancy in 2010, but was prevented from entering until her student loans were resolved.

We are so grateful for The Labouré Society, friends and benefactors, who helped resolve this hurdle so we could welcome Sr. Tara into our community at long last!

Here’s a beautiful reflection written by our Dominican friar, Fr. Isaiah Mary Molano, O.P. of Sister Tara’s entrance: The pictures below supplement his eloquent writing.

Prayer and hymn with Dominican Friars and friends before Sister Tara's entrance into the enclosure

 Veil is Given

 Bestowal of the Rosary of our Lady

 We rejoice and give thanks to God for his mercy because...there is one more nun in the middle of Silicon Valley and in the heart of the Church praying for our world!

Please join us in praying for many more vocations.