Icing on the cake for this great feastday of the world-saving “Yes”, our dear friends the Dominican nuns of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Monastery in Summit, NJ has received their two postulants as novices and clothed them in the habit of the Order of Preachers. God’s blessings be upon Sr. Mary Veronica of the Cross and Sr. Mary Jacinta of the Most Holy Rosary, who we see standing here with their novice mistress, Sr. Mary Catharine of Jesus (whose lovely singing voice can be heard here)
In our Dominican tradition, on the day the young nun receives the habit she is clothed piece-by-piece, by the prioress and novice mistress. It is a passive action. The new sister kneels there and the tunic, belt, scapular, cappa, veil, rosary, and crucifix become the symbol of her intention to become transformed by Christ into the new person reborn through obedience, transfigured by Christ Crucified.
In our monastery the new novice sews none of her future habit. This is because in being given the monastic habit, being given clothing not her own, she becomes a member of this monastic community. From this day forward everything she uses — including everything she wears — belongs to the community. With the community she holds all things in common like the first Christian Community of the Acts of the Apostles. She throws in her lot with this communio trusting that through them God will provide for what she truly needs.
The experience of one’s clothing day remains etched in heart and mind. For Dominican nuns, that means etched in lines that are black and white! White for purity; black for penance. Two years after her clothing, a novice will profess vows, and a black veil will be placed on her head signifying that she has become “recognized as a house of prayer . . . and a temple of intercession for all people.”
That’s a tall order. Humanly it is not possible. It is only because God wants it so that the newly professed nun can carry the world in her heart.
That’s a piece worth reading again!
Last night, in another house tradition, one of their youngest-in-religion delivered a homily to her community
On this wonderful feastday let us ask our Lord, through the prayers of his blessed, assenting mother, to bless these new novices in their intentions and grant his grace in perseverance to the growing Summit novitiate and to discerners and novitiates throughout the world!
Also, enjoy this excellent reflection from Fr. James Martin, S.J.