Moniales, the blogsite for the Dominican Nuns of Summit, New Jersey (affectionately known around here as the Sisters of Our Lady of the Incredible Soaps and Hand Creme) is a favorite stop of mine. There are many great blogs run by Catholic priests and by religious, both male and female, but the blogmistress at Moniales manages to give a comprehensive sense of what monastic life is like in the 21st century -the juxtaposition of the modern with the ancient, and how they manage to fit- and to also surprise us. Sometimes one checks in and finds an arresting discourse, or even a recipe. Other times, an informative glimpse into a life and a love that can seem so mysterious from the outside.
Today, the sisters are sharing with us their tradition (one that has been picked up in the Catholic blogosphere) of pulling patron saints and scriptural quotes for the upcoming year.
Online, this practice, common to religious life, has been adopted by some Catholic bloggers; the notion is not so much that you have selected a saint to prayer-partner you, but that the saint has chosen you, in order to help you along your way. I must admit that every year I have had a saint pulled for me, I have winced and said, “Who? WHY?” but inevitably, over the course of the year, I come to understand why I have ended up with that specific saint, and yes, I do learn something. In this way, I have become acquainted with St. Gerard Majella, St. Titus and -for 2010- St. Philip Neri.
Neri was a cheerful and charming saint, and since I lack charm and did resolve not to be “so pissy and bitchy” this year, perhaps he will teach me much. And I am happy to have a priest-saint to pray with in the Year of the Priest, to remind me to keep praying for my own priests, and for more heroic priests.
And just in case Moniales visitors think the life too grim, they share a fun video of some of the novitiate out sledding in the snow. And just think, when they’re with their snowball fights, they dried off, got right back into silence and into choir, where they prayed for all of us.