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Hungry for God this Holy WeekÂ

Holy Week Meditation St. Mary Magdalene

Inside Lent in our schools

Recent Trips Book Recommendation

Sister Maria Karol prays the outdoor Stations with her 5th grade students at St. Mary's School in Jackson, TN.


Hungry: Acquiring a Taste for God this Holy Week “With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15). These words of Jesus before the Last Supper are startling in their emphasis on desire. Jesus seems to be almost groaning with hunger, with longing to eat this Passover meal with His apostles. This is not the first time Jesus speaks of His own desires, His hunger and thirst. When He stops at Jacob’s well in Sychar, He is thirsty and asks the Samaritan woman to give Him a drink. Even earlier, during His forty days in the desert, the evangelists tell us that Jesus was hungry (Matthew 4:2). The Devil uses this hunger as a way to tempt Jesus, saying to Him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread,” but Jesus responds with a quote from Deuteronomy, saying, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:3-4; cf. Deut. 8:3).

Tintoretto, "The Jews in the Desert" {PD-1923}.

Jesus’ hunger and thirst, along with His generous offering of food and drink, flow all through the gospels. This same motif is found in the Old Testament, especially in the desert, where the Israelites spend forty years trying to get to the Promised Land. During their years in the desert, the Israelites get very hungry and very thirsty. God offers them bread from heaven, manna, but this is not enough for them. Their path through the desert was a chance for them to be freed from slavery to foreign powers and foreign gods, but to experience this freedom, they had to rediscover their hunger for God and realize that He does satisfy. This lesson is a hard one and the Israelites struggle to learn it. Instead of quickly embracing the gift of God in the manna, they complain against God, saying, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in the wilderness, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!”(Numbers 11:4-6). Because they are unwilling to accept gratefully the help of God, their trip through the desert drags. Unsatisfied with God and His gifts, they run in circles after other gods, finally making their own god, a molten calf.


Hunger and Holy Week, cont. As we have heard many times in Scripture and various hymns in recent weeks, Lent is the season of the desert. It is the season when we journey through the desert with the Israelites and with Jesus. Most of us have probably given up something for Lent. We have tried to deprive ourselves of some of the things of this world so that we may increase our hunger for God and His gifts. Perhaps we have been consistent in our Lenten fast, perhaps we have not. Regardless, we have all experienced the same temptations faced by the Israelites and conquered by Jesus. We are tempted to prefer our own gods and addictions to the one true God and the Food He offers. If we give in to this temptation and try to turn the rocks into bread, as the Devil suggested to Jesus, we will find ourselves dissatisfied, hungry, and probably ill! This dissatisfaction is a very good thing. St. Catherine of Siena says, “The reason we cannot have this sort of peace in this life is that our desire is not completely satisfied until we reach this union with the divine Being. As long as we are pilgrim travelers in this life we have only desire and hunger: desire to follow the right path, and hunger to reach our final destination” (Letter 253).

“Lord, I desire you; increase my desire.”

During these last days of Lent, we all have hopefully experienced a hunger for God, a hunger for freedom from the gods and addictions that enslave us. Perhaps, we have also had moments like the Israelites and we have found the gifts of God tasteless and turned instead to our own private idols. On the other hand, maybe this Lent we have been like the bride in Hosea and have realized that God alone satisfies. Either way, whether we are ill from the false allure of the world or acquiring more of a taste for God, we can all pray the same prayer as we approach Easter: “Lord, I desire you; increase my desire.” The more we pray this prayer and seek to live it with the help of Confession and Holy Communion (our Manna in the desert), the more glorious will our Easter be. It will not be merely the joy of eating the food we gave up or returning to a social media app we’ve been missing. Rather, this Holy Week and Easter, let us satisfy the hunger and thirst of the Lord, who has Himself become our Paschal Sacrifice. Together with the Risen One, let us rejoice.

“Let us keep the feast with the unleavened bread of purity and truth” (Communion Antiphon for Easter).


California Jan. 26-Feb. 2 After attending the Walk for Life in San Francisco, we were able to join our Dominican brothers from the Western Province to share the joy of Dominican life at many universities and young adult events in California.

Sister Peter Marie read a reading for the Vigil Mass for Life, celebrated at St. Dominic's Church in San Francisco.

We had the gift of praying for vocations at the tomb of St. Junipero Serra, founder of California.

Preparing to march with our Dominican brethren.

Students from San Diego State University

With the organizers and support team for the Theology on Tap we did in San Diego at St. Michael Catholic Church.

Students from USC Students from John Paul the Great University

Women from Thomas Aquinas College

Women from UC Santa Barbara


Kansas Feb. 21-28 The Sisters enjoyed a visit to the Heartland, where they visited several universities and attended FOCUS's Legacy conference, a conference focused on helping students in fraternities and sororities to live their faith. Sister Peter Marie gave a talk on prayer as a part of this conference.

Legacy 2018

Women from Emporia State University Students from the University of Kansas

Women from Fort Hays State University


Montana Feb. 23-25 Photo Credit: Roger Lynn, cc https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/legalcode

Sister Mary Celeste and Sister Maria Thuận joined the Dominican Friars of the Western Province at a vocation retreat sponsored by Resurrection Catholic Campus Ministry in Helena, MT.


On March 16-17, girls from Notre Dame High School in Chattanooga came to the Motherhouse to experience the daily life of the Sisters, including recreation with the novitiate!

Notre Dame High School was opened by our Sisters in 1876! Read more about the history of this school here: https://goo.gl/nrzvtd


Celebrating Lent with our students 

Each year, the Sisters find particular ways to help their students enter more deeply into the holy season of Lent.

Sister Mary John distributes ashes to students from St. Mary, Star of the Sea in Hampton, VA on Ash Wednesday.

Sister Maria Karol prays the Stations of the Cross with her students at St. Mary's in Jackson, TN.

Sister Magdalena prepares her 5th grade students for Silhouette Stations of the Cross at St. Croix Catholic School in Stillwater, MN.


Recommended Reading St. Catherine of Siena as Seen in Her Letters

Ed. by Darrell Wright, Trans. by Vida D. Scudder

In this book, the treasury of St. Catherine of Siena's letters is opened to the readers within the context of the life and times of Catherine. Although her complete letters span two large volumes, this smaller book provides well-selected letters with explanations that clarify the meaning of these letters. Catherine's letters are perhaps her most vibrant writings--her great hunger for God and for the salvation of souls practically leaps off the pages! This book would be a great way to prepare Cover may look different depending on publisher. Click this image for a for her April 29th feast day. link with more information.

"Dearest daughter in Christ sweet Jesus: I Catherine, servant and slave of the servants of Jesus Christ, write to thee in His precious Blood, with desire to see thee taste the food of angels, since thou art made for no other end; and that thou mightest taste it, God bought thee with the Blood of His Only-Begotten Son. But reflect, dearest daughter that this food is not taken upon earth, but on high, and therefore the Son of God chose to be lifted up upon the wood of the Most Holy Cross, in order that we might receive this food upon this table on high. But thou wilt say to me: What is the food of angels? I reply to thee: it is the desire of God, which draws to itself the desire that is in the depths of the soul, and they make one thing together." From her letter to her niece, Sister Eugenia of Montepulciano


St. Mary Magdalene: Woman of Desire St. Mary Magdalene, one of the patron saints of the Dominican Order, was a woman of great desire. Her hunger for the mercy and love she found in Christ led her to be one of the few disciples present at the Cross.

Fra Angelico, "Crucifixion with the Virgin, Mary Magdalene and St Dominic (Cell 25)" {PD-1923}.

This desire did not die with Christ, rather it continued to burn within her, propelling her toward the tomb, near to the Body of her Lord. Her bold desires were rewarded when she encountered the risen Lord and was sent to bring the Good News to His apostles. Fra Angelico, "Resurrection of Christ and Women at the Tomb (Cell 8)" {PD-1923}.

Profile for Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, Nashville, TN

Vocation office e newsletter holy week 2018  

Vocation office e newsletter holy week 2018