A Life Well Lived

Sr. Mary Elizabeth, Christmas 2015

Our Sister Mary Elizabeth passed away shortly after 6pm on January 12th, surrounded by the majority of the community and some of her nieces and nephews. Born on January 31st, sister died just shy of her 84th birthday, having been professed for 56 years.

Although born with severe physical handicaps, sister lived a long and full life. Before entering the monastery at age 25, Sister graduated from Rider College, taught, and toured Europe. In the monastery she held the positions of Sub-prioress, Novice Mistress, Bursar, seamstress, and was appointed by the Master of the Order as the first Prioress of our Philippine foundation: the Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary, Cainta, Rizal. 

Sister's zeal and enthusiasm for life was surpassed only by her warm and compassionate heart. She was a sympathetic listener and full of the wisdom of a life well lived, which she was never stingy with sharing.

Sr. Mary Elizabeth will be greatly missed, not only by our community and her family, but by all who have known her.

Epiphany Party

Every year at Epiphany the novitiate hosts a party at evening recreation. It is the one day of the year that the Professed sisters get to go up to the novitiate quarters. It is always fun to see how the sisters decided to decorate each year. There are always cookies and ice cream to enjoy as well. Once everyone is settled we start off the evening of carols with "We Three Kings" as we crown our three "kings." How, you may ask, are the kings determined? The sister who bakes Epiphany breakfast hides three almonds in the scones/muffins/etc. This year Sr. Chiara Marie baked us Irish Scones and the lucky "kings" were Sr. Mary Magdalene, Sr. Denise Marie, and Sr. Mary Amata. Not only are the "kings" regaled with the traditional carol and crowned, but a Mass is said for them at the next available opening. Apologies for some of the pictures, the party is by candlelight!

Winter Wonderland

We awoke to a winter wonderland this morning, and the snow hasn't stopped falling all day! That meant the perfect chance for our younger sisters to get in some sledding during noon recreation. Sledding skills varied with our native New Englander who is an old pro (not to mention our Canadian!), Sr. Clare, our postulant from Singapore who had never been on a sled before, our adventurous "snowboarder," and those who preferred to stay on their feet and just enjoyed watching the fun. We hope you'll enjoy watching the fun as well!

Drawing of Patrons & Christmas Visit

As per tradition, we had our annual drawing of patrons (Saints) on Jan 1st. Our three youngest in religion have the privilege of calling up each sister, announcing their patron, and reading their prayer intention for the year along with a short quote. During Sr. Mary Martin's last prioral term she used quotes by Bl. Humbert of Romans that she had translated. This year most, if not all, the quotes were Biblical. 

Not only does each sister receive a patron and intention, the community as a whole and the novitiate get 'called up.' In fact, Sr. Mary Martin got 'called up' 6 times this year! Once for herself, once for the community, three times for sisters who weren't able to be present, and one more time to receive our chaplain's patron & intention. That's a lot of up and down! 

The community's patron Saint this year is St. Louis Bertrand. Every day when we finish praying the rosary as a community the prioress asks for the intercession of our patron Saint. It can be a struggle at the beginning of the year to remember that it has changed and who the new one is! 

During Christmas week we had two special visitors for a day: Sr. Mary Daniel and Sr. Mary Elizabeth! Because they require more care than we are able to provide they reside at the infirmary of the Caldwell Dominican Sisters. Every few weeks they are able to come home for a day trip. 

Of course we had to show them all of the Christmas decorations, especially the beautifully decorated Chapel and the decked out infirmary. Sr. Mary Daniel enjoyed looking through the many Christmas cards the community received from friends and benefactors. Meanwhile, Sr. Mary Elizabeth was busy writing out her Christmas cards, with a little help from Sr. Mary Martin. Before you know it the day has flown and transport comes to take them back to Caldwell. Until next time!