We preach for the salvatiom of souls.
The Dominican Family of Trinidad and Tobago

Who are Dominican Nuns?

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Dominican Nuns
Before a woman becomes a fully integrated Dominican nun she must pass through a period of formation to appropriate the spirit and the way of life left to the Order by St. Dominic. This period is gradual and the person entering the monastery passes through various stages.

The first stage is not structured — it is when the interested person regularly visits the monastery and gets to know the nuns and something about their way of life and they get to know the woman. Sometimes this may entail spending a few weeks residing with the nuns and experiencing their living vocation. This is called the aspirancy.

The second stage is when the woman decides to commit herself to live the Dominican way of life. She becomes a postulant. She enters the monastery for six months to a year though if she finds that this manner of living is not for her, she is free to leave at any time.

Stage three is the novitiate, a two year period under the direction of the Novice Mistress when the novice studies the Rule of St. Augustine, the Constitutions of the Dominican Nuns, the three vows, liturgical and private prayer, community living and study, Dominican history and spirituality. It is a period of intense prayer and contemplation of the word of God.

At the end of the novitiate, during which the novice wears the Dominican habit, she makes her simple vows and commitment to the Dominican way of life for three years. This is called Simple Profession. The period is the fourth stage.

At the end of this period the young professed is integrated fully into the monastery with final and Solemn Profession, a commitment for life.

 

Dominican Nuns are contemplatives who, consecrated by the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, reside in cloistered monastic communities, animated by the charism of St. Dominic, offering liturgical and private prayer, pondering the word of God like Mary, working silently in humility and practising asceticism — for the salvation of the souls of all people in this world.

St. Dominic established the nuns ten years before the foundation of the Order of Preachers. The success of the first friars was undoubtedly due to the monasteries of nuns which quickly sprang up in southern France and Spain.

Communities which are entirely dedicated to contemplation, so that their members in solitude and silence, with constant prayer and penance willingly undertaken, occupy themselves with God alone, retain at all times, no matter how pressing the needs of the active apostolate may be, an honourable place in the Mystical Body of Christ, whose "members do not all have the same function" (Rom. 12:4). For these offer to God a sacrifice of praise which is outstanding. Moreover the manifold results of their holiness lends lustre to the people of God which is inspired by their example and which gains new members by their apostolate which is as effective as it is hidden. Thus they are revealed to be a glory of the Church and a well–spring of heavenly graces. (II Vatican Council Decree Perfectae Caritatis
, 7)

 

PRAYER

Life in the Monastery flows around and from prayer, liturgical and private. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the heart and apex of each day’s celebrations. Adorning the Mass is the Liturgy of the Hours or Divine Office, the public and official prayer of the Church, spread over the day so that the whole course of the day and night is made holy by the praise of God. In addition, each nun spends hours in private prayer and contemplating the word of God.

The solemn celebration of the liturgy is the heart of our whole life and the chief source of its unity. (
Constitutions of the Nuns)

 

STUDY

"A Dominican should love to study and study to love." (fr. Timothy Radcliffe, Master of the Order). Study is one of the four pillars on which the Order of Preachers is built. For Dominicans, without study as a basis, the contemplation of God and his word is diminished. Study is not an end in itself, nor is it pursued to gain degrees or secular self–development — it is always oriented to contemplation. The capabilities of the individual are accepted and it is clearly understood that more is learnt at the foot of the Cross in prayer than from books. The main text that is studied is the word of God as found in the Sacred Scriptures and theological topics are provided regularly.

"Whatever you do, think not of yourselves but of God."
 (Saint Vincent Ferrer, O.P.).

"Do you desire to study to your advantage? Let devotion accompany all your studies, and study less to make yourself learned than to become a saint. Consult God more than your books, and ask him, with humility, to make you understand what you read. Study fatigues and drains the mind and heart. Go from time to time to refresh them at the feet of Jesus Christ under his cross. Some moments of repose in his sacred wounds give fresh vigour and new lights. Interrupt your application by short, but fervent and ejaculatory prayers: never begin or end your study but by prayer. Science is a gift of the Father of lights; do not therefore consider it as barely the work of your own mind or industry." (St. Vincent Ferrer, O.P., Treatise on the Spiritual Life)
.

 

ASCETICISM

Most people when they think of asceticism have ideas of mortification, self denial, sacrifice, penance. This is the negative aspect. The positive is avoiding sin and the occasions of sin and growing in the Christian virtues. The idea is clearly understood in sports where athletes deny themselves and undergo vigorous training to win a perishable crown\ as St. Paul pointed out in his letter to the Corinthians (I Cor. 9: 24–27).

“There is also a need to rediscover the ascetic practices typical of the spiritual tradition of the Church and of the individual's own Institute. These have been and continue to be a powerful aid to authentic progress in holiness. Asceticism, by helping to master and correct the inclinations of human nature wounded by sin, is truly indispensable if consecrated persons are to remain faithful to their own vocation and follow Jesus on the way of the Cross.” (Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation, Vita Consecrata, No. 38)Three of the special ascetical practices are work, cloister and silence.

WORK

Work in the Monastery is manual and humble: cleaning, cooking, sewing, the packaging and shipping of Altar Breads to several of the Archdioceses and Dioceses in the Antilles, the repairing of statues and the making of vestments for churches. This is balanced by community recreation and free time.

The monks [and nuns] of today likewise strive to create a harmonious balance between the interior life and work in the evangelical commitment to conversion of life, obedience and stability, and in persevering dedication to meditation on God's word (lectio divina), the celebration of the Liturgy and prayer. (Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation, Vita Consecrata, No. 6).

CLOISTER

The ascetical practices undertaken by the first monasteries included separation from the world, solitude (hence the word “monk” which means ‘alone’) after the example of Jesus who found a quiet place for prayer by himself, celibacy as Jesus was celibate, poverty like Jesus who had no place on which to rest his head, obedience to a superior as Jesus obeyed scrupulously his Father, wearing a veil or habit (after the example of St. John the Baptist and the prophets), — in a word, living by the Gospel.

The ancient spiritual tradition of the Church, taken up by the Second Vatican Council, explicitly connects the contemplative life to the prayer of Jesus “on the mountain”, or solitary place not accessible to all but only to those whom he calls to be with him, apart from the others (cf. Mt 17:1–9; Lk 6:12–13; Mk 6:30–31; 2 Pt 1:16–18).

This association of the contemplative life with the prayer of Jesus in a solitary place suggests a unique way of sharing in Christ's relationship with the Father. The Holy Spirit, who led Jesus into the desert, invites the nun to share the solitude of Christ Jesus, who “with the eternal Spirit” (Heb 9:14) offered himself to the Father.

The enclosure therefore, even in its physical form, is a special way of being with the Lord, of sharing in “Christ's emptying of himself by means of a radical poverty, expressed in ... renunciation not only of things but also of "space", of contacts, of so many benefits of creation”, at one with the fruitful silence of the Word on the Cross. It is clear then that “withdrawal from the world in order to dedicate oneself in solitude to a more intense life of prayer is nothing other than a special way of living and expressing the Paschal Mystery of Christ”. It is a true encounter with the Risen Lord, a journey in ceaseless ascent to the Father's house. (Pope John Paul II, Verbi Sponsa
, No. 3)

SILENCE

St. Dominic was described as a man who spoke either to God or about God. The nuns try to follow this example and silence in the cloister is one of the mainstays of creating an atmosphere of silent recollection in the heart where they encounter God.

Whoever wants to be a friend of Jesus and become his authentic disciple — be it seminarian, priest, Religious or lay person — must cultivate an intimate friendship with him in meditation and prayer. The deepening of Christian truths and the study of theology and other religious disciplines presupposes an education to silence and contemplation, because one must become capable of listening to God speaking in the heart.(Pope Benedict XVI, Address to Pontifical Roman Universities
, October 2006)

The Shroud [of Turin] is an image of silence. There is a tragic silence of incommunicability, which finds its greatest expression in death, and there is the silence of fruitfulness, which belongs to whoever refrains from being heard outwardly in order to delve to the roots of truth and life. The Shroud expresses not only the silence of death but also the courageous and fruitful silence of triumph over the transitory, through total immersion in God's eternal present. It thus offers a moving confirmation of the fact that the merciful omnipotence of our God is not restrained by any power of evil, but knows instead how to make the very power of evil contribute to good. Our age needs to rediscover the fruitfulness of silence, in order to overcome the dissipation of sounds, images and chatter that too often prevent the voice of God from being heard.  (Pope John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation, Address on Shroud of Turin, May 1998)

 

PREACHING

Preaching has become associated with sermons, usually by priests. This would not necessarily be the Gospel understanding of the term. There a preacher is a herald who announces, in the name of the one who sent him/her, the message that is intended to be shared so that the person receiving may develop faith. The way of life of the nuns is perfect preaching: they reveal the mystery of God to a world in need of spiritual values and priorities; they do this by silent and humble witness, a counter–culture proclamation in a world that seeks power, pleasure and material wealth; they emphasise the goal of all life, the heavenly kingdom. This was part of the charism they received from St. Dominic.

“The Church is deeply aware and, without hesitation she forcefully proclaims, that there is an intimate connection between prayer and the spreading of the Kingdom of God, between prayer and the conversion of hearts, between prayer and the fruitful reception of the saving and uplifting Gospel message”. The specific contribution of nuns to evangelization, to ecumenism, to the growth of the Kingdom of God in the different cultures, is eminently spiritual. It is the soul and leaven of apostolic ventures, leaving the practical implementation of them to those whose vocation it is. (Pope John Paul II, Verbi Sponsa,
No. 7)

 

FORMATION

Before a woman becomes a fully integrated Dominican nun she must pass through a period of formation to appropriate the spirit and the way of life left to the Order by St. Dominic. This period is gradual and the person entering the monastery passes through various stages.

The
first stage is not structured — it is when the interested person regularly visits the monastery and gets to know the nuns and something about their way of life and they get to know the woman. Sometimes this may entail spending a few weeks residing with the nuns and experiencing their living vocation. This is called the aspirancy
.

The
second stage is when the woman decides to commit herself to live the Dominican way of life. She becomes a postulant
. She enters the monastery for six months to a year though if she finds that this manner of living is not for her, she is free to leave at any time.

Stage three is the novitiate
, a two year period under the direction of the Novice Mistress when the novice studies the Rule of St. Augustine, the Constitutions of the Dominican Nuns, the three vows, liturgical and private prayer, community living and study, Dominican history and spirituality. It is a period of intense prayer and contemplation of the word of God.

At the end of the novitiate, during which the novice wears the Dominican habit, she makes her simple vows and commitment to the Dominican way of life for three years. This is called
Simple Profession. The period is the fourth stage
.

At the end of this period the young professed is integrated fully into the monastery with final and
Solemn Profession, a commitment for life.

 

Interested in finding out more about the above? Then if you have a longing to give yourself totally to Jesus, especially with an attraction to “go up the mountain to pray”, Write to or contact:

Sr. Prioress,
Rosary Monastery,
St. Ann’s Avenue,
St. Ann’s
Port of Spain,
Trinidad & Tobago

Tel: (868) 624–7648 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (868) 624–7648      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
e.mail:
rosarymop1930@gmail.com


 


 

The Sister of the Monastery

Sr. Gabriel Quesnel, Prioress (July 2004), Jubilarian

Sr. Regina Basso,

Sr. Imelda Beharry,

Sr. Ann Bradshaw,

Sr. Thomas Diaz, Jubilarian

Sr. Jacinta Lee, Jubilarian

Sr. Rose Zuniaga.

 

Address: Holy Rosary Monastery, St. Ann’s Road,
St. Ann’s, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago
Tel: (868) 624-7648
e.mail: rm1930@tstt.net.tt


 


 
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To preach, to bless and to praise.