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!

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