Wednesday, December 17, 2014

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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.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Our Novitiate Art Class 101

To all who are passionately dedicated
to the search for new “epiphanies” of beauty
so that through their creative work as artists
they may offer these as gifts to the world
-Letter of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to Artists


This past Sunday, our young Sisters and aspirants in the Novitiate (formation) spent a day relaxing and exploring their gift of craftsmanship!  Even though this was their first art class, and with no previous knowledge about painting or art, the group enjoyed themselves greatly and produced beautiful and unique paintings according to each one's creativity and imagination.

The Novitiate would like our friends to guess who painted which pictures below:



What does art have to do with our vocation?  Listen to our beloved Saint Pope John Paul II in his letter addressed to artists:

Through his “artistic creativity” man appears more than ever “in the image of God”, and he accomplishes this task above all in shaping the wondrous “material” of his own humanity and then exercising creative dominion over the universe which surrounds him. With loving regard, the divine Artist passes on to the human artist a spark of his own surpassing wisdom, calling him to share in his creative power.

...That is why artists, the more conscious they are of their “gift”, are led all the more to see themselves and the whole of creation with eyes able to contemplate and give thanks, and to raise to God a hymn of praise. This is the only way for them to come to a full understanding of themselves, their vocation and their mission.

Deo Gratias!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

An Irish Concert At The Monastery!

This week we had the joy of attending a 'concert' of Irish hymns and songs covering all the seasons in our lives: from All Saints, to All Souls, Advent, Christmas, Lent, St. Patrick's Day, Annunciation, Eastertide, Ascension and inspiring hymns on the journey of hope to Eternal Life...right here in the guest parlor of our monastery!

Thanks to our Novitiate Organ Teacher, Jill Mueller who graciously brought the rehearsal of the concert that will be given to the Nativity Parish Church on Sunday to us so that we wouldn't miss out on this beautiful performance of church songs of Ireland.

The two young talented artists were from Ireland: Alexander Harding Bradley and Luke Edward Harding Bradley.  Currently, they are both students at Nativity School across the street from the monastery.

Alexander is a 13-year-old boy soprano who was trained at Piccolo Lasso in Dublin, Ireland.  At 11 year-old, he was invited to join the world-famous Vienna Boys Choir, with which he traveled and sang as a soloist and choir member in concerts throughout Europe, Asia, North and South America, and Australia.  When we asked which country was his most memorable one, he mentioned Australia!

Luke Edward is a 12-year-old treble soloist, though his voice could go as high as his brother!  He was also trained at Piccolo Lasso where he became leader and head boy in 2012.  He has sung in concerts and Masses throughout Europe and has performed in several operas, in Sweden, at Westminster Cathedral in London and even for Pope Benedict XVI in Rome in 2012!

The concert will be presented at Nativity Church, on 210 Oak Grove Avenue in Menlo Park on Sunday October 26th from 2:00 P.M. to 3:30 P.M.  Admission is free, but if desired, contributions may be made to the Nativity Parish Church Music Fund.  It is worth your time and will be the most enriching event spiritually and culturally.

 Alexander and Luke Edward after the rehearsal with proud Uncle David, Mom Elenor, Jill the Pianist and Susann her helper

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Dominican Contemplative Nuns: Warrioresses of The Queen of the Rosary


"The Hail Mary is the powerful weapon which puts the devils to flight, which crushes the enemies of the people of God and stamps out all heresies. The Hail Mary fills the soul with every grace, it gives joy to the blessed, pleasure to Mary and glory to the most Holy Trinity." -St. Louis de Monfort

One of the most obvious sign of the Dominicans' love for Mary is the Rosary that we wear on our side.  Our devotion to Mary through the daily recitation the Hail Mary or the Angelic Salutation can be traced back to the beginning of our foundation when our Blessed Mother gave the Rosary to St. Dominic as a means of converting the Albigensians and sinners.  Following the footsteps of our Holy Founder, each morning when we put on the habit, we reverently kiss this holy weapon that was given to us by our Blessed Mother and beg her to help us in our mission.

At Corpus Christi Monastery, upon receiving the habit, the nuns are given a plain Cross without the Corpus on our Rosary to signify that we are on the Cross with Christ, sharing in his sufferings and those of our Blessed Mother, the Queen.  This is one of the sacrificial aspects of our Dominican Spirituality - that like our Holy Father Dominic, we would bear sinners, the down-trodden and afflicted in the compassion of our hearts and lives.

The following is a brief account which tells us the power of the Hail Mary:

One day when Saint Mechtilde was praying and trying to think of some way in which she could express her love of the Blessed Mother better than she had done before, she fell into ecstasy. Our Lady appeared to her with the Angelic Salutation in flaming letters of gold upon her bosom and said to the saint, “My daughter, I want you to know that no one can please me more than by saying the salutation, which the Most Adorable Trinity sent to me and by which He raised me to the dignity of Mother of God.

“By the word Ave (which is the name Eve, Eva) I learned that in His infinite power God had preserved me from all sin and its attendant misery that Eve had been subject to.

“The name Mary, which means ‘lady of light,’ shows that God has filled me with wisdom and light, like a shining star, to light up heaven and earth.

“The words full of grace remind me that the Holy Spirit has showered so many graces upon me that I am able to give these graces in abundance to those who ask for them through me as Mediatrix.

“When people say The Lord is with thee, they renew the indescribable joy that was mine when the Eternal Word became incarnate in my womb.

“When you say to me blessed art thou among women, I praise Almighty God’s divine mercy, which lifted me to this exalted plane of happiness.

“And at the words blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, the whole of heaven rejoices with me to see my Son Jesus Christ adored and glorified for having saved mankind.”

(Adapted from Saint Louis de Montfort’s The Secret Of The Rosary, translated by Mary Barbour, O.P. 1954.)

Let us take great delight in giving glory and praise to God through our love and devotion to our Lady by reciting the Hail Mary throughout the day: for the salvation of the world, for the conversion of sinners, and for drawing forth God's blessings upon our loved ones, those we meet, those who suffer and those who are in greatest need of God's mercy.

Deo Gratias!

"All the Angelic Salutations that you have given me are blazoned on my cloak." (Then she held out a portion of her mantle.) "When this part of my cloak is full of Hail Marys I shall gather you up and take you into the Kingdom of my Beloved Son." - Our Lady to Saint Mechtilde.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Meet Our Vocation Directress


Hello! My name is Sister Joseph Marie of the Child Jesus and I am presently the Directress of Vocations and Mistress of Novices at Corpus Christi Monastery located in the heart of California near Stanford University (and Facebook!) 

It has been a humbling experience for me to accompany the young women who are at various stages of their vocation discernment and religious formation.  These are women who have expressed their deep hunger to pursue God and it is my joy and privilege to walk with these women on this most blessed path of growing in deeper union with God.

The love of God and the thirst for the salvation of souls inspire me to consecrate myself totally to God.  And the Charisms of the Order of Preachers: prayer, study and community life were the magnets that drew me to the Dominican contemplative life in our monastery.

Prayer touches the Divine and the hungry heart can only be satisfied with the nourishment that the Divine alone can provide.  The nuns recognize the need to draw forth God's grace by prayer and study as we pray to love the God whom we know, and we study to know the God we love.

Community life helps us to hold all things in common so that we can be free for God alone.  It is by sacrifices accepted that the contemplative nuns acquire purifying virtues and their faithful love of God is perfected.  None of us is perfect, holy or "qualified" to be called to this way of life but Jesus assures us: "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit...fruit that will last..."

If you are a single woman between the ages of 20-40 and are seeking a deeper commitment to prayer, reparation and study, contact me at and I would be very happy to assist you.  I hope that you will find many helpful Vocation Resourcess on our website.  It would be helpful for you to attend our Discernment Day Jan 2015 to meet the nuns, learn more about the Charisms of the Order, the Monastic life and our life of prayer, or call me at (650) 322-1801 ext. 19  and set up an appointment to just come and see!

I also encourage you to consecration yourself totally to Mary  and pray the Rosary daily to our Lady who is, as our Holy Father Pope Francis pointed out: "the Woman of the 'yes.'  Mary said 'yes' throughout her life!  She learned to recognize Jesus' voice from the time when she carried him in her womb.  May Mary, our Mother, help us to know Jesus' voice better and better and to follow it, so as to walk on the path of life!"

As women of the Word, we can bring forth life to our world dying of hunger for God.  If you are touched by the power of God's grace and the Spirit of God calling you to a deeper and intimate union with the Divine, may you heed his voice and draw closer to him by responding generously so that together we may be life-givers to our world, to the Order of Preachers, and to our Holy Mother Church!

Be assured of our daily prayers for you before our Eucharistic King and Lord!

Deo Gratias!

Nuns Crucifix

Friday, September 5, 2014

Vocation Discernment Day - January 2015

Have you ever wondered what life is like as a nun? Are you drawn to prayer and have a deep desire for love?

Friday, August 15, 2014

"Hail, Our Hope!"


"Mary lifted herself up to such lofty heights of heaven that the Word reached down from the highest pinnacle of heaven and took her in" (Ambrose Autpert)

In his beautiful meditation on the Glories of Mary, St. Alphonsus Liguori recounted that John Gerson, the High Chancellor of Paris believes that the kingdom of God consists of justice and mercy based on his meditation of the psalm "These two things have I heard, that power belongeth to God, and mercy to thee, O Lord." While the Lord reserved the kingdom of justice for himself, he has given Mary the kingdom of mercy and ordained that all the mercies that are given to humankind must pass through the hands of Mary. This belief was also confirmed by St. Thomas in his Preface to the Canonical Epistles, stating that: "the holy Virgin, when she conceived the divine Word in her womb, and brought him forth, obtained the half of the kingdom of God by becoming queen of mercy, Jesus Christ remaining king of justice."
As poor banished children of Eve, it is our consolation and joy to constantly call upon the name of Mary who is our Mother, our Queen, our life, our sweetness, and our hope! It is of no surprise that the Order of Preachers whose mission it is to preach the Word of God for the salvation of souls entrust ourselves very fervently to this tender and merciful Queen through unceasing prayers and each night when we make procession to the shrine of Mary while singing the Salve Regina. The following narrates the vision of how our Blessed Virgin appeared to our Founder, St. Dominic in prayer and revealed her protection over the Order.

One night, after prolonging his prayers until midnight, Dominic left the church and came to the dormitory, where he completed what he had come to do and, taking his place at one end of the dormitory, continued to pray. As he stood praying, he glanced at the other end of the dormitory and saw three beautiful women enter, but noticed that the one in the middle was a venerable lady far more beautiful and dignified than the other two. One of them was carrying a beautiful, shining vessel and the other an aspersorium which she handed to the lady in the center, who went from bed to bed sprinkling the brethren with holy water and blessing them. As she went along in this way, she passed by one of the brethren without sprinkling him or blessing him. Blessed Dominic observed this and took note of the brother they had neglected. Then rising from his prayer and walking as far as the lamp which hung from the middle of the dormitory, he fell at the lady’s feet and began to entreat her to tell him who she was, although he already knew. At that time the beautiful and devotional antiphon Salve Regina was not being sung but only recited kneeling, by the brothers and sisters in Rome. When the lady answered, she said to Blessed Dominic: “I am the one you call upon in the evening. When you say, ‘Turn therefore most gracious advocate thine eyes of mercy toward us,’ I prostrate myself before my Son and ask him to preserve this Order.” Then Blessed Dominic asked her about her companions. “One is Cecilia and the other Catherine,” she answered. After that Blessed Dominic inquired about the brother she had passed by as she had sprinkled and blessed all the others. “Because he was not properly disposed,” she said. After this she continued to sprinkle and bless all the others and then disappeared.

When she was gone Blessed Dominic returned to pray in the place he stood before. Suddenly he was rapt in spirit before God and saw our Lord and the Blessed Virgin sitting at his right. It seemed to Blessed Dominic that our Lady was wearing a cape of bright blue, the color of sapphire. As Blessed Dominic looked around, he could see religious of all the orders but his own around the throne of God, so that he began to weep bitterly and stood far away, not daring to approach the Lord and His mother. Then our Lady motioned for him to come near. But he would not dare, until our Lord Himself also called him. Then Blessed Dominic cast himself before them weeping bitterly. But our Lord told him to rise, and when he did, our Lord asked him, “Why are you weeping so?” “I am weeping because I see all the other orders here but no sign of my own.” And the Lord said to him, “Do you want to see your Order?” and he answered, “Yes, Lord.” Then our Lord, putting his hand upon the shoulders of the Blessed Virgin, said to Blessed Dominic, “I have entrusted your Order to my Mother.” Then he asked him again, “Do you still wish to see your Order?” and again he answered “Yes, Lord.” Then the Blessed Virgin opened the cape which covered her and spread it out before Blessed Dominic, to whom it seemed vast enough to cover the entire heaven and, under it, he saw a large multitude of the brethren. Then prostrating himself, Blessed Dominic gave thanks to God and to Blessed Mary his Mother. After that the vision disappeared and he returned to himself just as the bell rang for Matins.

When Matins were over, he called the brethren to chapter and gave them a long and beautiful talk, exhorting them to love and pay reverence to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Among other things he related this vision to them.
Mary Patronage

Hand Embroidered Vestment of Mary's Patronage over the Order with gold threads by our sisters at the monastery




O Mary, open the gate of heaven to us...You have its keys! (St. Ambrose)

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Not-So-Ordinary Summer At The Monastery!

If you have been following our blog and Facebook, you will know the details about our effort to promote a culture of vocations and the exceptional responses we’ve experienced, but for those who have not, it all began with the “Come and See Weekend” we held in January for thirteen young women who came searching to know what God is asking of them.

With further contact and interviews, two of these women who came to this discernment weekend and two other women pursued the process of Aspirancy where they had an opportunity to live within the enclosure to further discern their vocation to the Dominican contemplative life in our monastery. The aspirants arrived for First Vespers on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi. Their first day in the monastery began with a beautiful sung liturgy, enhanced by the presence of our Dominican Laity members and eighteen friars in attendance, Procession of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction.

Festivities followed and the aspirants quickly learned about the special spirit of Dominican family that pervades our monastery.

Choir Practice with our organist, Brother Thomas Aquinas O.P. for Corpus Christi Sunday Celebration
140622_OP NunsMPk CC BrL_0037Eucharistic Celebration on Corpus Christi Sunday

This was not the end. Many other women who could not come for the full weekend in January, because of either short notice or previous engagements, continued their contact with our vocation directress Sr. Joseph Marie and repeatedly expressed their need to deeply search and discern their vocation. In response to their request, another mini discernment day was organized.

We began with our 8:00 a.m. Mass celebrated by the vocation director of the Western Province, Fr. Steven Maekawa, O.P.  After a short break, introductions were made and conferences followed on Religious Life and the Discernment Process, Dominican Monastic Life and Dominican Spirituality. Personal vocation stories followed and a question and answer period. Thirty women crowded into the parlor area for these presentations. We prayed the Office and recited the Rosary together and after a light luncheon, the day concluded with Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Vocation Day 2014-02
Vocation Day 2014

The women were encouraged to have a spiritual director as part of their discernment process. Another important factor is to have a good support system. The inquirers hunger for like-minded companions and treasure the opportunity to maintain a frequent line of communication with our vocation directress.

Brother Thomas Aquinas, O.P., a tremendously gifted student brother of our Province, offered to give us three lectures entitled “St. Thomas Aquinas on the Virtue of Religion” as part of our ongoing formation. Besides being a very skilled organist, he is an avid teacher at heart.
Some of our many visitors this summer included Fr. Dominic Joseph Bump, O.P. of the Eastern Province who covered for our Chaplain during their Province Assembly, Fr. Peter Hannah, O.P. of the Western Province who came to celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving after his Ordination, and Fr. Michael Fones, O.P., from our Western Province who provided us with a special Retreat geared to discerning, developing and using our spiritual gifts (our charisms). The basic format was taken from the workbook entitled: “The Catholic Spiritual Gifts Inventory” by Sherry Weddell, published by the Catherine of Siena Institute, a program of the Western Dominican Province.  If you wish to learn about your charisms, you may check out the resources available at:

After Mass of Thanksgiving and first blessing, Fr. Peter (center), Fr. Dominic and our Dominican Friars visited with the nuns in the parlor
Fr Dominic
Fr. Dominic Joseph Bump, O.P., a true Marian Friar, giving class to the Novitiate and candidates

We continue to live in the “drought” mode, saving water wherever and whenever possible. We’ve had to minimize all planting this year but on the brighter side, this has provided us a new opportunity to custom landscape some areas that needed attention. Thanks to our benefactor crew of Stanford students, they have now taken to heart the task of lightening and brightening our garden area.

Gardening Day 1

Gardening Day 36

Thank You Catholic Community of Stanford!

Deo Gratias!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

You Are Invited To Our Corpus Christi Sunday Celebration

The Eucharist is the sacrament of communion that brings us out of individualism so that we may follow the Lord together, living out our faith in him. (Pope Francis)
With faith and joy the Dominican Nuns
of Corpus Christi Monastery
cordially invite you to join us in celebrating
our Patronal Feast Day on 
Corpus Christi Sunday
22 June 2014
at 10:30 a.m. 
at Corpus Christi Monastery, 215 Oak Grove Avenue
Menlo Park, California
in giving thanks to God for
the inexpressible gift he has given us in Christ Jesus,
to the praise of God's glory.

Benediction will follow
Mass Celebrant and Homilist
Rev. Ambrose Sigman, O.P.
This special Mass on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi - the Body and Blood of Christ- will be offered for the intentions of our benefactors, family, friends, altar bread customers and their parishioners who help support our life of prayer and contemplation.  You may also send in your petitions to be placed on the Altar on Corpus Christi Sunday or email us at:
+++ himself to us in the Eucharist, shares in our journey, indeed he makes himself food, the true food that sustains our life also in moments when the road becomes hard-going and obstacles slow our steps.  And in the Eucharist the Lord makes us walk on his road, that of service, of sharing, of giving..." (Pope Franics' homily on the Feast of Corpus Christi.)
*Image of the Crucified Christ by Fra Angelico