Cloistered Dominican Nuns Corpus Christi Monastery

A Visit with our New Brothers!

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We look forward to it every year – that day when Fr. Anthony, novice master for the Western Dominican Province, drives the van down from the novitiate in San Francisco, loaded with the new brothers.  Dominicans are unique in the relationship that exists between the friars and nuns, and which was put in place by St. Dominic at the start.  As stated in the Fundamental Constitution of the Nuns:

By their way of life both the friars and the nuns press onward to that perfect love of God and neighbor which is effective in caring for and obtaining the salvation of all people…  The friars, sisters and laity of the Order are “to preach the name of our Lord Jesus Christ throughout the world;” the nuns are to seek, ponder and call upon him in solitude so that the word proceeding from the mouth of God may not return to him empty, but may accomplish those things for which it was sent (cf. Is. 55:10).

While other Orders and religious communities may share common bonds or a charism, for Dominicans, it is explicit that the life of prayer and penance lived by Dominican nuns is the powerhouse – the heart – of the Dominican Order and its preaching work.  The hands and feet of the Order need the heart to pump out God’s life-blood of grace…yet the heart needs the hands and the feet to be productive and effective.  Should one branch of the Dominican family be stricken – or graced with blessings –  it affects the entire family.

So, each year, the novice master of the Western Dominican Province brings the novices and a relationship with our new brothers begins.  Their visit starts with prayer (naturally).  The friars pray Sext (midday prayer of the Divine Office) with us, and then one of the novices will lead us all in praying the Rosary.  At the Angelus bell, after praying the Angelus, the choir doors in the chapel slide close and we go to eat dinner, the friars in the extern dining room, the nuns in our refectory.

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But as soon as the meal is finished, nuns and brothers gravitate to the parlor for conversation – hearing vocation stories (hey, that sounds like parts of my story!), sharing smiles and laughs over God’s providence (one brother shared how a turning point came in his life at a college retreat in Texas…each year, we receive a request to pray for this retreat – and others – and for those that will be in attendance…it’s not often you happen to see the fruits of these prayers, and sitting in the parlor wearing a Dominican habit no less!).

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Too soon, our time together is over, but we assure one another of our prayers.  With a final blessing from Fr. Anthony, we say good-bye, the nuns return to the choir to pray None (midafternoon prayer), and the novices leave for home so as to be back in time for Vespers and Mass.   We look forward to when God may bring us together to visit again.

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Say a prayer for our new novices – may God bless and protect them and grant them an amazing, grace-filled novitiate year!

 

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