With Thanksgiving for His Blessings
both natural and supernatural In This Issue: St. Albert the Great and the relationship of Nature and Grace, Faith and Reason, Remembering Deceased Sisters, Closing of the Jubilee of Mercy, Travels through Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Jersey
Feast: November 15 St. Albert the Great, whose feast day we celebrated this month, helped imprint in the Dominican Order a great respect for both the natural and the supernatural, appreciating both as gifts from God. In the words of Albert's famous student, St. Thomas Aquinas, "Grace builds on nature": nature is not obliterated by nor eclipsed by grace, rather, one must develop and refine the natural gifts God has given so that grace may freely elevate them. Likewise, Albert bridged the artificial gulf that some presume separates faith and reason, seeing both as coherent gifts from the mind of the Creator. He was a scholar of both the natural and the supernatural sciences. Though he lived in the thirteenth century near the foundation of the Order of Preachers, at a time when the typical medieval scientist regularly resorted to magical incantations, St. Albertâ€™s investigations were based on observation and analysis. His writings give some of the earliest evidence of the scientific method: the use of controls in experiments, verification of results by careful repetition, and conclusions drawn from sound hypotheses. He was also one of the earliest scholars to promote the writings of Aristotle, whose scientific works served, among other ancient writings, as a starting point for the conception of modern science during the Renaissance. His respect for the natural world, and especially of human nature, flowed from the grace of his founder, St. Dominic, who started the Order in response to the Albigensian Heresy, which taught that all material creation was evil, spawned from an evil god. Like St. Dominic, who preached the goodness of creation, made by the one God, St. Albert passed on this respect for nature, especially human nature, on to St. Thomas Aquinas. Aquinas's writings have formed generations of Dominican friars and sisters ever since. Influenced by this teaching of St. Thomas, Dominicans are especially drawn to respect the particular gifts of individual persons, seeing them as gifts from God to be nurtured.
Saint Albert the Great
Prayer Study Because St. Dominic, and Sts. Albert and Thomas after him, prized study as a means for the salvation of souls (including one's own), study also plays a role in Dominican Spirituality. Through study of Scripture and theology, and even the natural works of the Creator, one can come to know better the One to whom he prays. Study enriches one's prayer, and the Dominican often steps easily from the pages of study to the contemplation and praise of God, the Author of all. Following in St. Albertâ€™s footsteps, Dominicans today strive to comprehend the wonders of the created world and the truths of the faith, in order to grasp more fully the goodness, beauty, and truth of God. They challenge those who mistakenly attempt to separate faith and reason. Indeed, faith and reason are kneaded together to form one united path to God.
Recommended Reading Surely the most deeply-rooted need of the human soul, its purest aspiration, is for the closest possible union with God. As one turns over the pages of this little work, written by [St.] Albert the Great towards the end of his life, when that great soul had ripened and matured, one feels that here indeed is the ideal of one's hopes. Simply and clearly the great principles are laid down, the way is made plain which leads to the highest spiritual life. It seems as though, while one reads, the mists of earth vanish and the snowy summits appear of the mountains of God. We breathe only the pure atmosphere of prayer, peace, and love, and the one great fact of the universe, the Divine Presence, is felt and realized without effort. But is such a life possible amid the whirl of the twentieth century? To faith and love all things are possible, and our author shows us the loving Father, ever ready to give as much and more than we can ask. (Available through amazon.com)
Dominican All Souls November 8
Candlesticks from the Community's first altar (1860s) were used in the ceremony.
On November 8, 2016, to observe the Memorial of All Dominican Souls during this 800th Jubilee Year of the Dominican Order, Mother Ann Marie read the names of each of our deceased sisters while the sisters processed with candels. The procession then concluded with the chanting of the Latin chant "Libera me, Domine," an ancient prayer for the dead.
Closing of the Jubilee of Mercy Nov. 20, Feast of Christ the King The sisters observed the closing of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy with adoration, solemn vespers, and a candlelight procession with the singing of the Salve Regina.
Our hearts rise up to God in gratitude for all the mercies he has shown to us and to the world during this year of grace. We thank His Holiness Pope Francis for his attentiveness to the Holy Spirit in giving us this holy year so needed in our time.
Providence College, Rhode Island Nov. 3-7
Fr. Peter Martyr, O.P., (Eastern Province) and Sr. Anne Frances, O.P. of Providence College's Campus Ministry, organized an "O.P. Jamboree," a week of activities with students and Dominican friars and sisters to celebrate the Dominican Order's 800th Jubilee. They invited Sr. Peter Marie and Sr. Mary Esther, as well as Fr. John Sica, O.P., Fr. Athanasius Murphy, O.P., and Fr. Benedict Croell, O.P. to collaborate and participate in the event.
The week began with an excellent talk, given by His Eminence Cardinal Timothy Dolan, on Catholic-Jewish relations, sponsored by Providence College's Jewish-Catholic Theological Exchange Committee. The evening was marked by a wonderful spirit of friendship between the Jewish and Catholic attendees who filled the College chapel.
The next day, students, friars and sisters shared a time of service together at McAuley House, a homeless shelter in Providence, RI.
To participate in the graces of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, a beautiful day was spent in pilgrimage to the Divine Mercy Shrine in Stockbridge, Massachusettes,
O.P. Jamboree Sunday night, friars, sisters and students had a rosary procession together to the Dominican cemetery on campus: a November remembrance of all souls.
The O.P. Jamboree concluded with an All Dominican Saints prayer vigil on Nov. 7 led by the Dominican Fathers. Many students joined in pondering the lives of these saints and begging for their intercession.
Universtiy of Rhode Island Rhody Catholic
Fr. Joseph R. Upton, chaplain of the Catholic Center at the University of Rhode Island, invited the sisters to come speak to the "Rhody Catholics" about vocations and to join them for Mass and dinner. The sisters found a strong Catholic group there enlivened by the FOCUS Missionaries.
St. Mary's Church /Yale University
New Haven, Connecticut
Father John Paul , OP of the Eastern Province, speaking below with Frassati members
Father John Paul Walker, OP invited the sisters to speak to the Frassati Group in his parish, which consists of Yale graduate students and other young adults of the area. The group has monthly adoration and fellowship together. Loving their faith, they enjoy the strength and joy that comes from time with the Lord and from the support and friendship of others their age.
Point Pleasant, New Jersey Nov. 13-17
Father David Swantek, pastor of St. Martha's Parish in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, and Mrs. Georgina Kotz, Director of Religious Education, invited the sisters to speak after the Sunday Masses as well as to all the parish's religious education classes. Over the course of four days, the sisters taught the roughly 500 children in the program about God's eternal plan for them, what "vocation" means, to what kind of vocation God might call them, and how to listen to his voice. The children were beautifully receptive to what the sisters had to share with them; indeed, the parish as a whole welcomed the sisters very warmly. Many adults told of the wonderful sisters who had taught them in grade school and high school in the past and said that they are "sorely missed."
Advent Day of Recollection with the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, of Nashville, TN
Open to single Catholic women ages 17-30. A $10 donation is requested.
SATURDAY , DEC . 3 , ' 16 Join Fr. Michael Izen, Fr. Jake Anderson and the Dominican Sisters for an Advent Conference, Adoration, Vespers and Rosary, Dinner and a Discussion with the Sisters.
In Thanksgiving for the great blessings the Lord has given during the Jubilee of Mercy
"Let us also ask for the gift of this open and living memory. Let us ask for the grace of never closing the doors of reconciliation and pardon, but rather of knowing how to go beyond evil and differences, opening every possible pathway of hope. . . . Because even if the Holy Door closes, the true door of mercy which is the heart of Christ always remains open wide for us. From the lacerated side of the Risen One until the very end of time flow mercy, consolation and hope." Pope Francis, Homily for the Feast of Christ the King November 20, 2016, Closing of the Jubilee Year