Getting Closer!

This week was very exciting for our community! We held two important meetings for our building project! The first one was with our contractor, Mr. James Prisco and his team  and our architect, Justin Mihalik to establish more detailed costs, finalize plans and establish a timeline for our project! You can't imagine the excitement we are experiencing to see that, thanks to God's providential care for us through your generosity, the beginning is in sight!

The push is on to get over the first big hurdle—approval by the Planning Board! Our prayer is that there will be a lot of chaos here at the monastery this summer as the driveway is widened to allow for the equipment to come through, the wall comes down, trees downed (that is the sad part!) and those big shovels start digging the foundation! Please join us in asking St. Joseph's intercession!

The next day we met with Judith Hiemer Van Wie of Hiemer & Company Stained Glass Windows to finalize plans for the memorial windows in the new wing. You might remember that last year we were gifted with several windows from the old convent of Mount Carmel Parish, Bayonne, NJ, Sr. Judith Miryam's parish before she entered. The entrance door, parlor doors and other areas of the new wing will be enhanced with either pieces from the windows or new windows based on the original design. Most of these windows have been memorialized by benefactors but there are a few still available. Our favorite are the Gift Shop Doors which will have a frosted design featuring our famous "Little Nun" from the Seignadou Soaps logo! 

Because of each one of you this stage of our project is possible! While we have more than three quarters of the needed funds we still need to continue to raise donations to bring our project to completion. Lent is a time of giving alms. As we begin this holy season would you please consider making a donation? No matter the size of your gift, we pray daily for God's blessings on you, for your families and for all the graces you need! One of our favorite invocations in the Dominican Order is the following, "Lord, repay with eternal life, all those who do good to us for the sake of Your Holy Name!"

We're still here!

It has been awhile, and usually when our blog goes silent that means we've been really busy! That's not the case this time as we've had an almost 'laid back' sort of winter. Here's some of what's been happening:

Sr. Clare likes carving detailed images with soap, but recently she brought her talents outside and tried them out on snow. Beautiful!

At the beginning of the month we had a visit from the apostolic Sisters of St John who have a convent in the Archdiocese. Their congregation was started by a Dominican priest, and we can definitely feel a shared kinship in spirit!  It was a lovely visit, after which the sisters joined us for rosary and Vespers.

Sr. Mary Catharine is Vice President of the Association's Council, which meant a trip to our Menlo Park, CA Corpus Christi Monastery earlier this month for a meeting. 

Winter in NJ

Winter in NJ tends to be unpredictable. We usually have days with lots of snow and days that are "t-shirt weather."  We don't, however, usually have them back-to-back. 

First we have noon recreation on February 8: 

Noon recreation the next day, Feb. 9:

Cloistered Nuns & Technology

When it comes to the use of technology by cloistered nuns opinions abound. As with anything we allow into our life, much thought, prayer, and discussion goes on with the if's, how's, and why's of the place of technology in our contemplative life. The dangers of distraction and dissipation are certainly real, but how does technology enhance our life of prayer? 

We'd like to share with you how one type of technology, the internet, has enriched our life.

One way the internet has benefited us is in the formation of our sisters, especially those in initial formation (aka the novitiate).  A year or two ago we tested the waters of sharing our formation resources via the web. Using a variety of programs and finally settling on GoToMeeting, our monastery in Squamish, British Columbia was able to participate in a novitiate class taught in our monastery. This worked so well that our Canadian sisters tuned in for the next course. 

With the internet, sisters from multiple monasteries are able to take classes together without leaving their monastery. This is especially helpful for monasteries who might not have the resources within their own community to provide a particular class for their young sisters. 

Taking it a step further, Sr. Denise Marie (the novitiate's Monasticism instructor) arranged for a course on the Conferences and Institutes of John Cassian to be given by Fr. Terrence Kardong, OSB. Fr. Kardong is a Benedictine monk at Assumption Abbey in North Dakota. Every Wednesday at 4pm our time, 2 pm his time, sisters in three different monasteries gather around their computers for class. Each monastery is able to see, hear, and interact not only with the instructor but also with each other.

The participating monasteries in this course are Queen of Peace Monastery in British Columbia, Corpus Christi Monastery in the Bronx, and our own Monastery. It must also be mentioned that this adventure was made possible by our tech-savy Sr. Mary Ana! She sets up GoToMeeting and troubleshoots whatever problems might arise, helping the other monasteries and instructors to use the program. Thank you, Sr. Mary Ana!