Friday, December 30, 2011

I am a Link In a Chain -- A New Year Meditation

" A Meditation" by Blessed Cardinal Newman  ---  A New Year's Thought

God has created me to do Him some definite service; He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission -- I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next.

I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good. I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place while not intending it -- if I do but keep His Commandments.

Therefore I trust him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; In perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him.

He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirit sink, hide my future from me -- still He knows what He is about.

May He support us all the day long, till the shades lengthen, and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever of life is over, and our work is done! Then in His mercy may He give us a safe lodging, and a holy rest, and a peace at the last!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Blessings!

We pray that each of you
will have a happy and holy Christmas
with many blessings and graces
from our Infant Savior.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

O Emmanuel

During these final days of Advent, each evening at Vespers we sing the beautiful "O" Antiphons. They are a group of ancient texts, each containing a title of our Messiah with a prayer that he come to save us. They begin on December 17 with "O Wisdom", and continue with "O Lord", "O Root of Jesse", "O Key of David", "O Rising Sun", "O King of the Nations", "O Emmanuel". The Latin text for these antiphons are: O Sapientia, O Adonai, O Radix, O Clavis, O Oriens, O Rex, O Emmanuel. The first letter of each one, beginning at the last, spells the Latin "ERO CRAS", which means, "Tomorrow I will be with you".

On December 23rd the words are "O Emmanuel": God-With-Us. How comforting and encouraging to be reminded at this sometimes hectic season, that God is right there with us in all our joys and sorrows, all our hopes and fears. No matter how mundane or seemingly worldly, or simply practical the activity of the present moment might be, he is with us right in the midst of it. Just recalling this fact and being grateful for it, is a prayer. In this way, as we more and more often become momentarily aware of His presence, we begin to follow St. Paul’s recommendation to "pray always".

The melody, based on Gregorian Chant, is a hauntingly beautiful one that you can almost taste as you sing the words of the prayer. If you would like to hear this chant, our Brothers in England sing it here:

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Requiscat in Pace

The Dominican Nuns of
Corpus Christi Monastery, Menlo Park, California
recommend to your prayers the soul of
our beloved Prioress

Sister Mary Assumpta of the Precious Blood O.P.
(Paula Ann Rufo)

who entered into Eternal Life
on Friday, December 16, 2011
in the 67th year of her age
and the 20th year of her Religious Profession

Viewing in our chapel
Tuesday, December 20, 2011 from 7:30 AM - 5:30 PM

Mass of Christian Burial
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
at 10:30 a.m.

May she rest in peace.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Prayer Request

We ask the prayers of all our friends and followers for our dear Prioress, Sr. Mary Assumpta OP, whose leukemia has returned. She has taken all the chemo that was recommended and now the doctors say they can do nothing more for her. She is in good spirits and not afraid to die, and the Hospice nurses are helping us take good care of her, as she lives her last few weeks in peace and abandonment to the loving wisdom of God.

But we are still praying for a miraculous cure through the intercession of Mother Mary Alphonsa OP (Rose Hawthorne) if it be for the glory of God and the good of her soul. Mother Alphonsa, the daughter of the famous author, Nathanael Hawthorne, was the foundress of the congregation of Dominican Sisters who are dedicated to the care of incurable cancer patients. Please join us in prayer.

Prayer for the Canonization of
Rose Hawthorne

Lord God, in your special love for the sick, the poor and the lonely,
 you raised up Rose Hawthorne (Mother Alphonsa)
 to be the servant of those afflicted with incurable cancer
and with no one to care for them.
 In serving the outcast and the abandoned,
she strove to see in them the face of your Son.
In her eyes, those in need were always "Christ’s Poor."

Grant that her example of selfless charity
and her courage in the face of great obstacles
 will inspire us to be generous in our service of neighbor.
 We humbly ask that you glorify your servant, Rose Hawthorne, on earth
 according to the designs of your holy will.
Through her intercession, grant the favor that I now present
 (here make your request).

Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy on us! (3 times).
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Mary Immaculate

How blessed we are to be celebrating the glorious Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception! Mary, "full of grace" and " the highly favored one," was immaculately conceived in the womb of St. Anne, free from original sin from the moment of her conception, and each year we are reminded of this singular grace bestowed upon her. Because of this, Mary did not suffer the consequences of the first sin of Adam and Eve. She was free from any inclination to sin. It is only fitting that the mother of Our Lord and Savor be preserved from original sin. She is the glorious, radiant and pure vessel in whose womb Jesus was conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit.
We all turn to Mary Immaculate because she is the holy and perfect one. She is our Mother and intercessor before the throne of God. She enjoys the privilege of being in heaven body and soul. At the foot of the cross Mary was given to us when Jesus utter the words, "Woman, behold thy son." John, the beloved disciple, represents all of us.
The bond between mother and child is unlike any other earthly bond.As we go to our mother in time of need, we look to Mary, placing our trust in her. So many saints, when their earthy mother was taken from them took Mary to be their mother. We do not have to wait for that moment. Let us take Mary as our confidant and guide now by consecrating ourselves to her Immaculate Heart. Mary points the way to Jesus. St. Louis de Montfort said, "The surest and quickest way to Jesus is through Mary."
As we wait for the coming of our Savior, may Mary smile tenderly upon us bestowing her maternal blessing that we may open our hearts to receive all the blessings of this Advent season.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Advent Wreath

Part of our traditional decorations at this time of year is the beautiful Advent wreath. This lovely ornamentation has much symbolism and is worthy of contemplation.

The fact that we arrange our candles in a circle rather than a square is significant because, having no beginning and no end, it suggests the eternity of God and the immortality of the soul.

The evergreens used as a base again signify undying life, and each type has its own meaning: laurel leaves stand for victory over persecution and suffering; pine, holly, and yew symbolyze immortality; and cedar branches mean strength and healing. Holly also has a special Christian symbolism: The prickly leaves remind us of the crown of thorns, and one English legend tells of how the cross was made of wood from the holly tree. Any pine cones, nuts, or seedpods used to decorate the wreath also symbolize life and resurrection which was won for us through Jesus who comes into the world at this season.

The candles used are usually four in number, and according to one legend, signify the 4000 years after Adam and Eve during which the world waited for the birth of our Redeemer. In some families a fifth candle is added in the center which is always white and signifies Christ Himself. This candle is not lighted until the day of His coming, Christmas day.

The color of the candles is also important. We use purple which is the color of prayer, penance and sacrifice with which we prepare for the coming of Christ. But why should we use purple in this season of joy? Because we rejoice that we have been given the gift of repentance. Each of us can look within and see that we have fallen short of what we could be in the life of grace. But now is when we have been given the time to turn back to our loving God and ask for the forgiveness which He so eagerly offers us. The one rose candle is used on the week of Gaudete Sunday and reminds us again of the joy of repenting and accepting this grace.

The flame of the candle is a light in the darkness of winter and the darkness of our life. Hopefully it is not a sputtering wick or a weak glow as if from a pocket flashlight, but a bright jumping flame that speaks of life and enthusiastic joyfulness.

Our candles begin as tall, stately tapers, and one by one they begin to burn down. Slowly, each night as we light them again, they are consumed, drip by drip. They can’t go back and burn tomorrow what was already depleted last night. This is a wonderful reminder to us that our life, too, is made up of  passing years, days, moments. From the day we came into this world we began to spend, consume, our number of days, and our life on this earth is getting shorter, just as is the candle. Whether we are 20, or 40 or 80 years old, each day is precious and irretrievable. It helps us to use each day to the best of our ability and not put off until tomorrow what should be done today, especially in our journey toward God.

In the Lord's eyes, one day is as a thousand years
and a thousand years are as one day.
The Lord does not delay in keeping his promise -- though some consider it "delay."
Rather, he shows you generous patience,
since he wants none to perish but all to come to repentance.
2 Peter 3: 8-9

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Our Prayers Continue...

Although the universal Church focuses on November as the time to pray for the dead, the Dominican Order has many suffrages throughout the year to pray for the holy souls in purgatory.

We THANK YOU for sharing with us the names of your beloved family and friends who have begun their eternal life with the Lord. It is a great privilege to be able to place their names in our chapel before our altar where throughout the month of November the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered each day.

November 2nd marks the day when we at Corpus Christi Monastery take on a new appearance by wearing our black cappas at all major liturgical functions. The cappa, which is part of the habit, signifies penance and reminds us of our obligation to pray for all the holy souls. On "All Souls Day" we not only remember the dead, but offer our prayers and sacrifices to aid in their release from Purgatory.

As part of our daily prayers together in community, we pray the De Profundis for our deceased. Printed below are the words and we ask you to continue to spiritually join us from your homes in remembering the souls of our faithful departed.

De Profundis
Psalm 129

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord,
Lord, hear my voice.
    O let your ears be attentive,
    to my voice of supplication.
If you, O Lord, mark our iniquities,
Lord who can stand?
    But with You is forgiveness,
    that You may be revered.
I trust in the Lord;
my soul trusts in His word.
    My soul waits for the Lord;
    more than sentinels wait for the dawn.
More than sentinels wait for the dawn
let Israel wait for the Lord.
    For with the Lord is kindness
    and with Him is plenteous redemption;
And He will redeem Israel
from all their iniquities.

Eternal rest grant unto them O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
From the gates of hell deliver their souls, O Lord.
Lord, listen to my prayer and let my cry for help reach you.

Let us pray: O God, creator and redeemer of all the faithful,
grant to the souls and of all your servants and handmaids
the remission of all their sins, that they may obtain by our
loving prayers the forgiveness which they have always desired.
Who live and reign forever, AMEN.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are grateful
for the gift of You,
in the
Blessed Sacrament

We thank You
for blessing
our Community with many graces.
Sweet Jesus, our Divine Victim
looking down from
the Sacred Host in the Monstrance,
as you looked down from the Cross,
may You always see
Your chosen brides
faithfully standing by Your Cross
in sacrificial love
and total surrender to Your Holy Will.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Partnering in Prayer

Each year as the new class of brother novices enters the novitiate of our Province, we have a tradition of visiting with them in our parlor and drawing names for prayer partners who will accompany each young friar on their journey in the footsteps of St. Dominic.

This year we have eight new friars, three from St Martin de Porres Province  and five from  The Most Holy Name of Jesus Province. During our visit each of the Brothers relates his personal vocation story and it is very inspiring to learn how the Holy Spirit has worked in their lives to bring them to the point where they have decided to dedicate their lives to God in the Order.

We pray that they will all persevere and become holy Dominicans!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Family Celebration

Detail of a painting by Sr. Mary of the Compassion, OP, Union City, NJ

Just one week after the glorious feast of All Saints, on November 7 each year, the Dominican Order celebrates the feast of  All Saints of the Dominican Order. On this occassion we look into our Family history and recognizes the many holy souls that have followed in the footsteps of St. Dominic. The big ones, like St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Albert the Great, St. Catherine of Siena, and St. Martin de Porres, have their own day on the calendar of the universal Church. But there are many others whose information has not been processed by the necessary channels to be declared Saints or even Blesseds. And this is the day when we notice these hidden ones and glory in their attainment of the heavenly mansions.

Many of these are people that we have lived with in our convents and monasteries. Even those who were difficult to live with may have washed their  robes in the Blood of the Lamb and joined the Saints in glory. As the old saying goes:
To read about the Saints
It’s all bliss and glory.
To live with them
Is a different story.

One of these lesser known saints is St. Agnes of Montepulciano (1268-1317). In 1306 she was called upon to found a Dominican monastery in her home town. She gained a reputation for holiness even outside the monastery and at one time raised to life a child who had been drowned. At her death the children of the town awoke and cried out, " Holy Sister Agnes is dead". Her tomb became a place of pilgrimage. It is noted that when St. Catherine of Siena went to venerate the body of  her sister in the Order, Agnes raised her foot  so Catherine would not have to stoop so far. Agnes was canonized in 1796. Her feast is celebrated on April 20.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

All Saints' Celebration

Halloween is a little different in the monastery than it is in the secular world. Here we see it as the vigil of one of the great feast days in the Church, the beginning of the celebration of All Saints' Day. In the evening we pray the Office of Readings and add the Litany of the Saints. This ceremony starts our rejoicing with our brothers and sisters of all ages who have completed their mission on this earth and have joined the heavenly choirs in eternity. And the celebration continues throughout the day on November 1.

Besides the commemoration of our canonized saints and those who have been declared ‘Blessed’, we look on this as the feast of those hidden ones who have finished their course and quietly slipped into beatitude. They have been faithful or repentant and made their peace with God. Many of them are members of our own families, or the grocer down the street, or the receptionist in the dentist’s office, or the lady at church who always said a prayer for our intention, or the bus driver who had a cheerful word for weary passengers.

In the early days of the church all the Christians were called ‘saints’, meaning, not that they were unusual or outstanding in virtue or devotion, but that they were those whom God had endowed with the gift of Faith in His Son, Jesus. As we go through our ordinary days, doing the little things we do for love of God and neighbor, we too, can think of ourselves as part of that beautiful company of those who love God.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

All Souls Masses

The Church sets aside the month of November to remember in prayer our beloved dead.
Beginning on November 2nd
and again on each Sunday in November
Mass will be celebrated in our chapel
for your departed ones

Please join us by sending the names of your loved ones to
Corpus Christi Monastery
215 Oak Grove Avenue
Menlo Park, CA 94025-3272

May our heavenly Mother
who held her crucified Son in her loving arms
pray for our beloved dead.

Prayer for the Holy Souls
O Mary, Mother of Sorrows,
your heart was broken
as you followed your Son
to his death on the Cross.
What deep sorrow you must have felt
when you received his body
into your loving arms.
We commend to you, dear Mother,
our loved ones.
May they experience the joy
that was later yours
at the resurrection of your Son,
and with your motherly intervention
come into the presence of Jesus
their Redeemer
in the eternal abode of Heaven. Amen

Monday, October 17, 2011

Singer, Artist, Poet, Intercessor

At the time of her death, Sister Mary of the Holy Spirit was in the 94th year of her life and the 66th year of her religious profession. She was well known as singer, artist, and poet, but especially as an intercessor. Her outstanding characteristic was compassion. Sister loved to pray for all who are in pain, either physically, mentally, or spiritually. When anyone was suffering, she would suffer along with them in their time of trial. This extraordinary empathy was the charism given to her by God for His people. In heaven she will continue her ministry of intercession and will obtain strength and comfort for all who ask her prayers.

For those who would like to know her better we offer her vocation story.

My Vocation Story
by Sr. Mary of the Holy Spirit, OP

How long did it take me to decide to become a Religious? ONE WEEK! Dancing, singing were the very loves of my earthly life. However, there were yet greater loves not of earth - but by faith and His Grace - Jesus and Mary, my constant ‘companions’.

I had studied voice for some years and performing was part and parcel of what I loved to do. Religious life and a nunnery were the farthest thoughts from my mind. Besides, there was Joe - who had proposed and we were to be engaged when he returned from Germany after his tour of duty in World War II.

A confession turned my whole life around. During confession one evening, a priest I did not know posed the question, "Have you ever thought of being a Nun?" "No, Father, I am going to be married." "Then, come to me next week and I’ll give you instructions on the Sacrament of Matrimony."

That was THE WEEK that changed my life. On the way home, I said to my sister who was with me, "I wonder what it’s like to be a Nun."

On my trip to confession the following week, instead of asking about the Sacrament of Matrimony, I asked what it was like to be a Nun. "How long can you kneel?" asked he. And so, after some words of explanation, none of which I now recall, he asked me to visit the Monastery in the Bronx - Corpus Christi.

That visit led to a love affair that overpowered any idea of Joe. I wrote to him and told him that I’d found a Greater Love. And great person that he was, he accepted my explanation. That was a love affair that started over 60 years ago, and has been a joy throughout my life. Never a moment’s doubt. His grace has been there supporting that decision to enter His House and even now, I can hardly believe my good fortune.

Oh yes! The singing and dancing have not departed from me. Happily and gratefully, I have sung His praise now for 60 years and more.

And the Lord has a sense of humor. After 59 years in the Religious life, at 84 years of age, a young man, a musician friend, decided he wanted to make a CD of me. They brought all the equipment here. With the Prioress’ permission and presence at the first recording session, it was begun - "A Song in My Heart for God". And perhaps that can be the title of my story:

A Song in my Heart for my Beloved

and for which I can never be grateful enough.

Thank you, Lord!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Rest in Peace Our Beloved Sister

Sister Mary of the Holy Spirit, OP

June 25, 1918 - October 14, 2011

In the monastery chapel:
Monday, October 17, 1:30 p.m. - 5: 30 p.m.
Tuesday, October 18, 7:00 a.m - 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, October 19. 7:00 a.m - 11:00 a.m

Funeral Mass:
Wednesday, October 19, at 11:00 a.m.
Corpus Christi Monastery
215 Oak Grove Avenue
Menlo Park, CA 94025

Friday, October 14, 2011

Liturgical Workshop

In early October we had a wonderful workshop with Sister Kathleen Harmon, S.N.D.deN. who is an expert in both the field of music and that of liturgy. Sister gave us good theological explanations of the changes in the translation of the Mass in the New Roman Missal which will go into effect on the first Sunday of Advent.

At the same time, Sister Kathleen was able to coach our chantresses, organists, choir, and lectors, to improve our voice production and delivery, which is so important in our mission of preaching through the liturgy. The improvements in our choices and the quality of our reading and singing are already evident.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Tribute to our beloved former chaplain Fr Sam Parsons, OP

We recently had the privilege of hosting the Vigil service for the funeral of our dear former chaplain, Fr. Sam Parsons, OP. Great Scripture scholar that he was, Father taught for many years at the Angelicum in Rome during the school year and in various schools in this area during the summer.    During the years that Father Sam was with us when he was semi-retired, he treated us to weekly lectures on Scripture which opened our minds to the beauties of the holy writings, especially the Letters of St. Paul. As he aged and had to retire from all active ministry, he kept in touch and demonstrated as great a love for our community as ours for him.

May He Rest in Peace