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543 Springfield Ave
Summit, NJ, 07901
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News & Events

"Our" Seminarians' Visit!

Summit Dominican Nuns

On Friday, April 17th, we had the joy of a parlor visit with "our" seminarians. "Our" seminarians are seminarians from Immaculate Conception Seminary who asked to be paired with one of us as prayer partners. One of the seminarians, during the visit, asked for special prayers and warned that if a plague of frogs or some such catastrophe befell the monastery it would be because of the grace he was in need of. Right away exclamations of "It was him!" echoed from the sisters. We explained how the community has been experiencing its own plague of sickness since the new year. We were, of course, just teasing him, but it was a good reminder that suffering joined to Christ's suffering is redemptive and "merits" grace for others.  Don't let your sufferings (big or small) go to waste! "Offer it up!"

Awhile ago our novice mistress, Sr. Mary Catharine, and one of our externs, Sr. Mary Cecilia, went to the seminary to give a talk on the contemplative life. While there some of our seminarians craftily attempted to find out what sort of treats the sisters like but rarely get, without the sisters catching on to their intention. It was discovered that ice cream cake is highly prized but rarely donated. So what did our seminarians bring to the visit? A wonderful ice cream cake!  We couldn't let them go home empty handed, and in fact, Sr. Judith Miryam (of Polish heritage) had baked two huge babkas to give to her seminarian (also of Polish heritage)!  We are sure he will share with the others.

Please keep in your prayers the seminarians who will be ordained to the diaconate next month, as well as our Dominican brothers who will be ordained to the priesthood.

Blessed Clara and Blessed Maria

Summit Dominican Nuns

Imagine being married at twelve and widowed at fifteen or being widowed twice by the time you were twenty-five! Such were the first years of our two blesseds, Nuns of the Order of the Preachers whose feast we celebrate on April 17th.

Both our beatae came under the holy influence of St. Catherine of Siena and eventually entered the Dominican Monastery of the Holy Cross in Pisa, Italy. In 1535, both founded the monastery of Saint Dominic renewing regular observance.

After the death of her husband, Clara entered the local Poor Clare monastery. Her brothers found out and took matters into their own hands. They forcibly removed her from the monastery and kept her locked in her room. For five months she was unable to leave or see anybody but then finally on the feast of St. Dominic her mother got her out and she went to Mass and shortly thereafter entered monastic life again, this time the Dominican Monastery of the Holy Cross.

Blessed Clara was known for her prudence and charity and even forgave the assassin who murdered her father and brothers and even welcomed his widow as a nun into the monastery. She held study in high regard and urged her Sisters to be faithful to this observance.

Blessed Clara died in 1419 and upon her death Blessed Maria became prioress. Blessed Maria died in 1431.

New York Catholic Youth Day

Summit Dominican Nuns

This past Saturday the Archdiocese of New York held its Catholic Youth Day at St. Joseph's Seminary, Dunwoodie. One of the many blessings of having extern sisters is that we are able to have a presence at events such as this to plant the seeds for future Dominican vocations.

The Sisters of Christian Charity in Mendam graciously agreed to take our Sr. Mary Cecilia with them into New York.  The theme for NY Catholic Youth Day was "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God". Besides music and games there was also opportunities for confession, adoration, and a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Dolan. In between activities the youth could browse displays set up by different religious as well as other organizations. Sr. Mary Cecilia set up a table with information about our way of life and offered vocation pamphlets to anyone who was interested. She said that about 1500 young people attended the event, most of high school age. One surprise for sister was discovering that the musician for the event, Ike from the Ike NDolo Band, was someone she had traveled on a missionary trip with! 

One of the organizers spoke to the sisters about the importance of their presence at this event. She emphasized that this might be the only time that some of the attendees would ever see a religious sister or brother. Just their presence could plant the seed of a future vocation.

Sr. Mary Cecilia with Ike from the Ike NDolo Band

Cardinal Dolan processes up the aisle at the beginning of the Mass

Easter Monday

Summit Dominican Nuns

Fried eggs, sausage and croissants! Yum!

Fried eggs, sausage and croissants! Yum!

Easter Monday is very special in our monastery! Liturgically it is EASTER and the liturgy is celebrated with all the solemnity of Easter Sunday. It is a free day for the sisters with even laundry being postponed until Tuesday and it is the only day when we have a cooked breakfast!

The weather was so beautiful that several of the sisters headed out to the garden to start tilling and planting! Everything is starting to bud and each tree and garden plot brings forth new marvels everyday! Our monastery spring truly radiates the joy of the Resurrection!

Sr. Judith Miryam and Sr. Mary Magdalene enjoy the delicious breakfast they cooked for us!

Sr. Judith Miryam and Sr. Mary Magdalene enjoy the delicious breakfast they cooked for us!

Sr. Mary Magdalene is happy to till the garden for another year of planting!

Sr. Mary Magdalene is happy to till the garden for another year of planting!

Usually Sr. Mary Catharine is BEHIND the camera but we caught her planting lettuce!

Usually Sr. Mary Catharine is BEHIND the camera but we caught her planting lettuce!

Meanwhile Sr. Joseph Maria and Sr. Mary Magdalene started digging up the hydrangea plants to move to the hermitage. An hour later, more help from Sr. Mary Catharine and 3 broken shovels and it was still firmly in the ground so....

Meanwhile Sr. Joseph Maria and Sr. Mary Magdalene started digging up the hydrangea plants to move to the hermitage. An hour later, more help from Sr. Mary Catharine and 3 broken shovels and it was still firmly in the ground so....

They got the postulants to help and it was out in no time. Two more to go.

They got the postulants to help and it was out in no time. Two more to go.

What took the (young) professed to do in an hour took the POSTULANTS about 15 minutes! They got the next 2 hydrangea out in no time and the sisters began transplanting them to the side of the hermitage!

What took the (young) professed to do in an hour took the POSTULANTS about 15 minutes! They got the next 2 hydrangea out in no time and the sisters began transplanting them to the side of the hermitage!

Great work everyone! We should have cooked breakfasts more often!

Great work everyone! We should have cooked breakfasts more often!

The Wait

Summit Dominican Nuns

The monastery has been a beehive of activity this Holy Saturday, a day which feels like the longest day of the year! Not only are the Sisters preparing spiritually for the great Vigil and feast of Easter but there have been many practical preparations as well! There was the chapel and choir to adorn first of all! A heartfelt THANK YOU for all who brought flowers to honor our Lord! Then there was the cleaning, the community room to decorate and don't forget the kitchen! There sisters were preparing for Guadeamus after the Vigil and a group of sisters decorated eggs for Easter morning breakfast!

Below are a few excerpts from Matins & Lauds of this morning. The first is the Oratio Jeremiae. Then there is the Christus Factus Est responsory and lastly the traditional Preces from the Dominican Rite. We alternate singing them in Latin and English and this year they were in English to an adapted tune written by +Sr. Maria of the Cross, OP. We know their rendering is much less than perfect but we hope you will enjoy them nonetheless!

New Website!

Summit Dominican Nuns

It's almost too obvious to announce that we have a new website!
We're in the process of integrating content from our old site which will take some time. We hope to have it completed soon!

Holy Week Schedule 2015

Summit Dominican Nuns

Palm SundayUsual monastery schedule

Holy Thursday

  •  Matins-Lauds —6:50 AM
  • Rosary & Sext—11:30 AM
  • Mass of the Lord's Supper—5:00PM Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament inside the nuns' monastery. No Compline.

Good Friday

  •  Matins-Lauds—6:50 AM
  • Rosary & Sext—11:30 AM
  • None—2:40 PM
  • Celebration of the Passion of the Lord—3:00 PM No Vespers
  • Compline—8:15 PM

Holy Saturday

  •  Matins-Lauds—6:50 AM
  • Rosary & Sext—11:30 AM
  • None—3:00 PM
  • Vespers—5:30 PM

Easter Vigil is private. Closed to the public.

Easter Sunday

  •  Lauds—6:40 AM
  • Holy Mass—8:00 AM
  • Sext—12:00 PM
  • None & Rosary—3:10 PM
  • Vespers—5:30 PM Compline, closed to the public.

Solemn Chapter of the Annunciation

Summit Dominican Nuns

sr maria sermon 1 Chapter Talk by Sr. Maria Barrett Today is the feast of the Annunciation. On this great day, the eternal Word of God stooped down from heaven, was made flesh, and came to dwell among us. In His great goodness, in the wise folly of His boundless love for us, God gave Himself to us, humbling Himself and taking the form of a slave so that we who had been conquered by sin and evil might in Him be made their conquerors.

Yet today is not called the feast of the Incarnation, but rather the feast of the Annunciation. The great mystery of the incarnation was made known to us, through the message of an angel. God chose to work this marvel of love through the Mary’s surrender to His word. Let us ponder this event: Gabriel announces the joyful news to Mary: “you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Singing the Last Gospel, Dominican Nuns

All this is beyond Mary’s power to accomplish, but she does not become flustered or assume that she needs to do all that is humanly possible towards achieving it; rather, with perfect confidence in God, she asks how He wants to bring it about. The answer reveals new marvels: Mary is to be not simply the mother of the long-awaited Messiah, but also the bearer of her God, the marriage-chamber of God and man, and the ark of the new covenant. It staggers the mind: that uncreated Wisdom should take one’s flesh and become man. Yet all this is to be God’s work, through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit.

verbum caro responsory, Dominican Nuns

And so she responds very simply. What God wants of her is beyond her, and He wishes to bring it about in her through His own action. All that remains for her to do is to surrender herself completely to whatever He wants to do: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word.” Simple words, yet of great power, for they allow God to act as He wills. Simple words, yet not easy to say and less easy to live, surrendering the comfort of having something she can get done, of having any focus other than what God is asking of her in the moment.

Chapter Hall, Dominican Nuns

Mary is the great contemplative, the model for all contemplatives. What God asks of us is also beyond any ability we have, and can only come about as a result of His action. Let us ask Mary to help us live as her true children, ever more surrendered to God, ever more focused on God even in the practical daily things of life that God asks of us in the moment. Let us ask her to help us pray those words, “be it done unto me according to thy word,” and to truly allow God to do with us what He likes. We know that what He, in His great love, wants to do with us is better than anything we can imagine or achieve: He wants to conform us to Himself, remaking us after the pattern of Christ, the Divine Word, so that through us He might draw others to Himself, and that together we might be united to Him forever!

Year of Consecrated Life: sisterly sharing!

Summit Dominican Nuns

DSC_7571DSC_7568   DSC_7573

One of thDSC_7569e benefits of celebrating the Year of Consecrated Life is that religious communities have been exchanging visits and getting to know each other and their charisms. On Friday we were so happy to welcome Sr. Brittany, FMA, and the Salesian aspirants who reside here in New Jersey and having the visit on the feast of St. Joseph meant cookies!

Sr. Mary Martin gave a short presentation on the history of the Order and our vocation as contemplative Nuns. This was followed by questions and answers as they got to know more about us and we got to know more about the Salesian charism and mission. St. John Bosco is a great heavenly friend to many so they were not strangers but many of us didn't know so much about St. Maria Domenica Mazzerello, foundress of the Daughters of Mary, Help of Christians, known popularly as the Salesian Sisters. We like that St. Dominic was her patron! Our prayers are with these newest shoots growing in the Salesian garden and we pray for their holiness and increase in numbers! Come again, Sisters! It was a delight to be together!

St. Joseph brings a New Postulant

Summit Dominican Nuns

Yesterday, right before First Vespers of the Solemnity of St. Joseph, Danielle Brisebois, 24, entered the enclosure to begin her postulancy. DSC_7544

Sr. Danielle is the youngest of four children and grew up in Massachusetts. She graduated from Ave Maria University with a degree in history. Prior to entering the monastery, sister worked at her family's catering business as she began paying off her student loans.

Student loan debt is the #1 obstacle facing aspirants to religious life today. Thankfully, Sr. Danielle received a St. Joseph grant from the Mater Ecclesiae Fund for Vocations, making it possible for her to enter immediately! These grants make it possible for men and women with student loan debt to pursue their vocations in religious life. Sr. Danielle is the third sister in our community to receive a grant from MEFV.


Please keep Sr. Danielle in your prayers as she begins her religious life!


Laetare Sunday

Summit Dominican Nuns

"Laetare Jerusalem: et conventum facite omnes qui diligitis eam: gaudete cum laetitia, qui in tristitia fuistis: ut exsultetis, et satiemini ab uberibus consolationis vestrae." laetare-sundayThe introit for the Fourth Sunday in Lent begins with the Latin word "laetare", giving this Sunday its name. We are now half-way through Lent and in place of the liturgy's persistent call of "repent" we are told "rejoice!"

You can think of Laetare Sunday as Lent's half-time. It is a time to pause, review how you've been spending the first three weeks of Lent and see what you need to adjust going in to the last three weeks. St. Paul tells us: "Every athlete exercises discipline in every way. They do it to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one. Thus I do not run aimlessly; I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing." (1 Cor 9:25-26) Maybe we've lost our focus. Maybe we've forgotten our destination and have begun to run aimlessly.

One way that we can lose focus during Lent is by spending too much time looking at our penance, or even worse--at ourselves doing penance. We can become so determined in 'succeeding' in the penance we have undertaken that we miss the point. The point of Lent is Easter. Lenten penitence is a preparation for Easter joy.

Today the liturgy reminds us of our destination. Now is the time to regroup, refocus, repent, and rejoice!


Notre Dame's "Nun Run"

Summit Dominican Nuns

nun runYesterday morning we had the pleasure of meeting 13 young women from Notre Dame University, St. Mary's College, and Holy Cross College. Sr. Maria Gemma and Sr. Benedicta, Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, are accompanying the women on a "nun run"--a whirlwind tour to multiple different religious communities for women discerning religious life. Their caravan  (actually, just a 15-passenger van and SUV) arrived in time for our 7:15 Mass. Afterwards they enjoyed (hopefully!) a delicious breakfast of scones before meeting with our community. The visit began with a little twist. Instead of the women asking us questions, we threw a few at them. The questions had to do with our community or Dominican trivia. Whoever was the first to answer correctly won one of the books we publish! Then they had a chance to ask us questions before it was time for them to race off to Steubenville, Ohio for the next community on their list.



Building the Contemplative Life in the Garden State

Summit Dominican Nuns

AN NRO INTERVIEW by Kathryn Jean LopezMarch 11, 2015 4:00 AM

Sr. Mary Catharine Dominican Nuns Summit An hour from midtown Manhattan, a Dominican cloister looks to expand. About an hour’s train ride from midtown Manhattan is one of the most peaceful and joyous spots I’ve found in the Northeast corridor. It’s a monastery that’s home to a group of cloistered Dominican nuns. The chapel there at their Rosary Shrine exposes the Blessed Sacrament for Adoration daily. Along with the perpetual prayers of the nuns, it is as a beacon from a summit — Summit being their mailing address in New Jersey. (And hence the address from where their soaps and the occasional puzzle are shipped.)

Pope Francis has called a “Year of Consecrated Life” in the Catholic Church, meant be a time for prayerful focus on the countercultural witness of lives lived so radically. In a letter to consecrated men and women, he said, in part: I am counting on you “to wake up the world,” since the distinctive sign of consecrated life is prophecy. As I told the Superiors General:

“Radical evangelical living is not only for religious: it is demanded of everyone. But religious follow the Lord in a special way, in a prophetic way.” This is the priority that is needed right now: “to be prophets who witness to how Jesus lived on this earth . . . a religious must never abandon prophecy.”

Read the rest HERE.

Sr. Mary Veronica and Sr. Mary Jacinta begin Integration

Summit Dominican Nuns

Sr Mary Veronica and Sr Mary Jacinta Today Sr. Mary Veronica and Sr. Mary Jacinta take the next step towards Solemn Profession as they begin their period of integration. Integration is the time during which a temporarily professed sister leaves the novitiate and 'integrates' into the professed community. Our Constitutions require at least one year of integration before Solemn Profession. Sr. Mary Veronica and Sr. Mary Jacinta have moved into the very last empty cells in the professed dormitory! In fact, we already have two professed sisters living in the old "Lay Sisters" dorm which separates the professed dorm from the novitiate.

This leaves only our postulant Sr. Maria in the novitiate with novice mistress Sr. Mary Catharine....but not for long!

Please keep Sr. Mary Veronica and Sr. Mary Jacinta in your prayers as they begin this new stage of their journey in religious life.


Snowy Saints

Summit Dominican Nuns

This winter has been eerily similar to last winter: snow, snow, and more snow! While most people have grown tired of the white stuff and are more than ready for spring, our postulant Sr. Maria gave a winter twist to "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade". That's right, when winter gives you snow, make snowmen! Or, if you happen to be a nun, make a snow saint! You can't quite tell from the pictures, but Sister made a snow St Thomas Aquinas complete with the sunburst on his chest. DSC_7340 DSC_7330 DSC_7334

The Morning Offering

Summit Dominican Nuns

blog series1  

Have you ever wondered how we are pray for all those for whom we have promised to pray? As nuns we are bound to pray not only for those who ask our prayers but for the whole world. How do we fit it all in? One way we do this, besides the adoring rosary, is through our morning offering.

We begin every morning before Lauds with a simple prayer called "The Morning Offering". The morning offering is not a specifically monastic practice. In fact, Pope John Paul II said that the Morning Offering is "of fundamental importance in the life of each and every one of the faithful". Its purpose is to offer up the whole day at its very beginning, consecrating the day to God. Our consecration at our Solemn Profession offers up and consecrates to God the whole of our lives. Our very life becomes a prayer, worship. The morning offering again renews this gift for each new day. Our particular morning offering mentions specifically that we offer to God through the hands of Mary all of our "prayers, communions, rosaries and good works" for all of our "families, relatives, friends and benefactors". Not one of our families, relatives friends or benefactors? We offer up our prayers also for the "sick and the dying, for the poor souls in purgatory and all poor sinners". Not sure you classify? (You do! We are all poor sinners!) But just in case, we also pray for "those for whom we have promised and are bound to pray"--which is just about everyone!

The morning offering is just one more way "we've got you covered".

Below is our morning offering:

O adorable Trinity, we offer you, through the hands of our Blessed Mother, all our prayers, communions, rosaries and good works in behalf of our families, relatives, friends and benefactors; for the sick and the dying; for the poor souls in purgatory and all poor sinners; for all those who have been recommended to our prayers, for those for whom we have promised and are bound to pray. O God we humbly beseech you to hear our prayers, and grant our petitions. We ask this through the merits of the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.


Association Council Adventures

Summit Dominican Nuns

A few weeks ago two of our sisters headed off to the Monastery of the Infant Jesus in Lufkin, Texas for a meeting of the Association council. Sr. Mary Catharine is first councilor and Sr. Denise Marie is treasurer of the council. The sisters flew off while the rest of the community was in the midst of a stomach flu epidemic, and we hoped and prayed they wouldn't bring the bug to our sisters in Texas! (And it seems like they didn't!) DSCN0158




After their meeting, as the sisters were flying back to New Jersey, they got stuck in North Carolina when their connection home was cancelled due to a snow storm. They did some quick thinking and sent an SOS to the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration at the St. Joseph's Monastery in Charlotte. Thankfully the Poor Clares were able to take in our sisters for the night! Not only were our sisters able to find beds for the night, but they were also able to pray the Divine Office with the Poor Clares and attend Mass before catching a new flight back home the next day.

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A big 'thank you' to the Poor Clares for their gracious hospitality!

"Open Parlor" Event

Summit Dominican Nuns

Back on Sunday, February  8th we had our "Open Parlor" event for the Year of Consecrated Life. Snow was predicted so we were uncertain how many people to expect. Some sisters thought no one would come, others thought it would be packed. We decided to err on the side of too much when it came to refreshments. (L-R) Sr. Mary Jacinta, Aspirant Tracy, Sr. Mary Catharine, and Sr. Maria display some of the goodies they baked for the event.

Sr. Judith Miryam with her earthquake cookies fresh from the oven.

The sisters who predicted a packed house turned out to be right! So many people stopped by to say hello and to pray with us. We met many, many people who have been coming to our chapel for years and had never met us! They were so grateful for the opportunity, and we were so happy to meet them.

Gathering on our side of the parlor.

Booklets on the history of Rosary Shrine were put out.







Unfortunately not all of us were able to come to the parlor. Some had duties elsewhere (such as keeping their hour of rosary in choir!) but others were sick from a bug that's been going around. If you stopped by for a visit with the Lord in the past few weeks and noticed that the Blessed Sacrament was reposed, it is because so many sisters were sick that we were unable to cover all the hours of 'guard'. Thankfully everyone is back on their feet and the Blessed Sacrament is back on the Throne!