Cloistered Dominican Nuns Corpus Christi Monastery


Celebrate with Us! Our Sister is 100 Years Old Today!

2016.04.20 SMCompassion

Today we join our Sister Mary of the Compassion in giving God praise for the gift her life…100 years! Sister is an inspiration to us for her fidelity and faithfulness.  Sister Mary Compassion has been in religious life for 65 years and a professed nun for 63 years (with her humor, when talking about her story, she often comments that, in her day, she was considered a very late vocation, having entered Corpus Christ Monastery when she was 32 years old).

God has led her on an amazing journey – raised with little religion, she became an atheist philosophy student at Berkeley with communist sympathies during World War II.  Still not satisfied in life, her search led her to God and to enter the Catholic Church under the Jesuits at the University of San Francisco.  It also brought her to a decision to marry and raise a family.

Want to learn how she made her journey and was led to her true vocation as a Dominican contemplative nun?  Read it here!

“This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad!”

2017.04.20 SM Compassion Birthday DSC02880

Holy Week and the Beginning of the Triduum

Holy Week in the monastery is truly special.  The silence deepens, the desert experience of Lent intensifies.  The last days before Easter, the Holy Triduum, are spent as days of retreat as much as possible – all but the most essential work stops as the sisters are given more time to complete their tasks for the Triduum and Easter preparations, reviewing and practicing the liturgies, and prayer.

Despite the somber lamentations and petition the refrains throughout our prayer this week, there are little glimmers of the joy to be ours on Easter Sunday.  Delicious smells wafting throughout the house from the kitchen.  The sounds of the schola and chantresses practicing the liturgies.  And, of course, spring cleaning.  The chill of winter begins to give way to the warmth of spring, inviting us to open the windows and doors.  The days grow longer and let in more light.  But all this fresh air and

The novitiate took advantage of the absence of the Blessed Sacrament from the niche to tackle a large project before Holy Thursday – a thorough cleaning of the choir, including windows.







All these physical preparations, this “Spring Cleaning”, are reminders of the more important need we have for spiritual cleaning.  The reality of our sin and the suffering Jesus went through by His Passion and death for love of us is made especially vivid in our liturgical prayer during these days, particularly during Tenebrae.

Tenebrae is traditionally prayed in complete darkness, with the only light coming from a hearse holding burning candles.  As the hour of prayer proceeds, at various times, the candles are extinguished, representing the disciples abandoning our Lord.  Chantresses intone passages from the Lamentations of Jeremiah, which describe the sins of Jerusalem (representative of the Jewish people, and also of the Church) and entreat her to return to the Lord, her God.

Eventually only the center, or Christ candle, remains burning, until near the end of Tenebrae when its flame is also removed after the chanting of the Benedictus.  Then, in Dominican tradition, two chantresses stand at the front of the choir, two more chantresses stand in the middle of the choir and all face the altar as the chantresses and choir pray for Christ’s mercy.


Each day of the Triduum has slightly different entreaties; those recorded in this clip are from Holy Thursday.

May God’s grace pour out on us all during these holy days of Triduum as we prepare for His Resurrection and the triumph we share with Him over the captivity and death of sin.


Updated Triduum Liturgy Schedule

Looking to include more prayer during the Holy Triduum?  We’ve revised our schedule to include the times we are praying the liturgy with the public.  In particular, we’ve had many people express an interest in Tenebrae.  Yes, our chapel is open to the public for this beautiful prayer.

If you’re not familiar with Tenebrae, check out our previous post here.

2017 Triduum Schedule REV IMG_1537

2017 Triduum at the Monastery

You’re invited to join us for the Holy Triddum Celebration!

2017 Triduum Schedule IMG_1537

Hosanna!  Blessed is He!

Let us go together to meet Christ on the Mount of Olives…


Let us run to accompany him as he hastens toward his passion, and imitate those who met him then, not by covering his path with garments, olive branches or palms, but by doing all we can to prostrate ourselves before him by being humble and by trying to live as he would wish.  Then we shall be able to receive the Word at his coming, and God, whom no limits can contain, will be within us.


Let us spread before his feet, not garments or soulless olive branches, which delight the eye for a few hours and then wither, but ourselves, clothed in his grace, or rather, clothed completely in him.  We who have been baptized into Christ must ourselves be the garments that we spread before him.  Now that the crimson stains of our sins have been washed away in the saving waters of baptism and we have become white as pure wool, let us present the conqueror of death, not with mere branches of palms, but with the real rewards of his victory.  Let our souls take the place of the welcoming branches as we join today in the children’s holy song:

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!  Blessed is the king of Israel!


 – From a sermon by Saint Andrew of Crete, bishop