On November 21, feast of the Presentation of Our Lady, the Dominican Nuns at the Dominican Monastery of St. Jude in Marbury, Alabama celebrated the vestition of their postulant, Sister Nicole. In a simple ceremony, Sister Nicole received the habit and her religious name: Sister Mary Thomas of the Holy Name of Jesus, O.P.
During the ceremony, Prioress Mother Mary Joseph, O.P., spoke of the symbolism of the Dominican habit. The white represents purity of heart with which the nuns love Christ above all else; the black represents penance which guards this purity. Our Lady gave the scapular to the Order as a mark of her protection. Finally, the rosary is hung from the belt as the nuns’ powerful weapon of prayer for the salvation of souls.
It is this dual mission of contemplative availability to God and apostolic zeal for souls which drew Sister Mary Thomas to the cloistered Dominican vocation. During her two years as a novice, she will strive to fulfill the words of the concluding prayer: “May you apply yourself assiduously to following our Holy Father St. Dominic so that you may be ready for the day of your espousals to Jesus Christ.”
The Dominican nuns live a monastic life “free for God alone,” so that their hearts can receive His Word and bear fruit for His glory and the salvation of souls. Their daily life centers on the Liturgy, sung in English and in their traditional Dominican Latin chant, as well as Eucharistic Adoration and Perpetual Rosary, study and work. To learn more, visit the nuns’ website at StJudeMonastery.org.
This is the first part of an article from the Catholic Chronicle, the newspaper of the Diocese of Toledo, reprinted with permission.
Behind the walls of the Monastery of the Visitation on Parkside Boulevard in Toledo, a small community of women religious devote their lives to praying for the people of the Diocese.
To support and honor members of this and other contemplative orders around the world, Catholics are asked to offer specials prayers for cloistered women and men religious Nov. 21, which has been designated as Pro Orantibus Day (“For Those Who Pray”).
Pope John Paul II asked the ecclesial event be observed worldwide in 1997 to thank those in the cloistered and monastic life for serving as “a leaven of renewal and of the presence of the spirit of Christ in the world,” and to remind others of the need to provide spiritual and material support to these communities.
Visitation Sister Sharon Elizabeth Gworek, superior of the contemplative Visitation Order in Toledo, says it is “providence” that Pope John Paul designated the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Presentation in the Temple for this purpose, since that happens to be the same day all members of the Visitation Order worldwide renew their vows.
Read the entire article and see a video about the Sisters at the Catholic Chronicle.
Visit the Sisters of the Visitation of Toledo, Ohio.
Pro Orantibus Day Recalls Cloistered Communities as the “Heart” of the Church
Chicago, IL — Catholics throughout the world are encouraged to honor the cloistered and monastic life on Pro Orantibus Day, which is Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012.
“The primary purpose of Pro Orantibus Day (“For Those Who Pray”) is to thank God for the tremendous gift of the cloistered and monastic vocation in the Church’s life,” noted Fr. Thomas Nelson, O.Praem., National Director of the Institute on Religious Life. “Since the lives of these women and men religious dedicated to prayer and sacrifice is often hidden, this annual celebration reminds us of the need to support their unique mission within the Body of Christ,” he added.
In 1997 Bl. Pope John Paul II asked that this ecclesial event be observed worldwide on November 21, the Memorial of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Presentation in the Temple. It is a special day to thank those in the cloistered and monastic life for serving as “a leaven of renewal and of the presence of the spirit of Christ in the world.” It is also intended to remind others of the need to provide spiritual and material support “for those who pray.”
Pope Benedict XVI has spoken often of the tremendous value of the cloistered, contemplative life. Speaking to a group of cloistered Dominican nuns in Rome, the Holy Father referred to such religious as “the heart” which provides blood to the rest of the Body of Christ. He noted that in their work and prayer, together with Christ, they are the “heart” of the Church and in their desire for God’s love they approach the ultimate goal.
The nationwide effort to publicize Pro Orantibus Day is coordinated by the Institute on Religious Life, a national organization based in Chicago.
For instruction and aids to celebrate the day please see our FREE resources.