April 27 - "Christ is risen, alleluia!"

Happy Easter, dear friends! May the joy of the risen Christ be with you all. Just like St. Mary Magdalene, one of the patron saints of the Order of Preachers, let us go and tell our brothers and sisters that our Lord is risen from the dead, because His “love is as strong as death, Passion fierce as the grave” (Song 8:6).

We hope that you had a beautiful celebration of Christ’s Pasch, and are grateful for those who were able to join us throughout the Triduum. Don’t forget—Easter is not “over”, but is really just beginning! Every day this week, we celebrate Easter Sunday all over again, with the same Divine Office and the Gloria at Mass. After the Octave, we keep celebrating the Resurrection until Ascension and Pentecost. And, of course, every Sunday throughout the year is the day of our Lord’s Resurrection. Alleluia!

Here are just a few pictures from our monastery’s celebration of Holy Week.


Palm Sunday

We go forward in procession with branches, carrying cedar boughs cut from the forest just outside our chapel door.

Good Friday

The office of Tenebrae at Matins and Lauds, and the veneration of the Holy Cross at three o’clock.
In the Dominican tradition, each sister who is able approaches the Cross with a series of prostrations, finishing with a venia (a profound act of humility and reverence) as she kisses the Cross. The Cross remains, with burning candles, until after Compline.


Holy Saturday

Like Good Friday, our morning begins with the office of Tenebrae at Matins and Lauds. After each psalm or reading, a candle is extinguished, symbolizing the increasing darkness as Christ enters His Passion and tomb. After the solemn intercessions, the final candle is carried out of the church and the office ends in total darkness. Here, a sister is chanting the end of the Lamentations of the Prophet Jeremiah, calling us to return to God for mercy.



Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday

Our Easter Vigil begins between our chapel and the forest, just before midnight. The Paschal candle is blessed and lit from the Paschal fire, and the coals for the Vigil’s incense are taken directly from the flames. Our chaplain carries the light into the church, symbolizing the light and hope of Christ’s Resurrection.

After seven readings and seven psalms or canticles proclaimed in almost total darkness, the lights are lit, the Gloria is sung and the bells are rung for the first time since the beginning of Lent! After a Pauline reading and the Gospel, the liturgy of the Eucharist begins. In Greek, eucharistia means thanksgiving, and on this night, we give thanks more than ever that “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not be lost but may have eternal life" (Jn 3:16).


And so:

“Christ is risen, alleluia!”

“Indeed, He is truly risen, alleluia!”

May God bless you all, and those you love, this joyous Easter season.

April 9 - Lent in the Monastery

A few weeks ago, a visitor asked a sister, “What do you do for Lent in the monastery?” And sister thought, “That would be a good article for the website.” So: what happens at Queen of Peace Monastery for Lent?


On Ash Wednesday, the first change you’ll notice are the psalm tones, the musical arrangements we use to chant the Liturgy of the Hours. Our liturgy has different psalm tones for Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter and Ordinary time, with each season’s tones reflecting its spirituality. The tones for Lent are sober, and often in a minor key. However, the Benedictus and Magnificat are always sung in a major key, as they recall the good news of our salvation in Christ! Along with special hymns and the Mass of the Samaritan Woman (composed by fr. André Gouzes, O.P.), this once-a-year music immediately leads us into the “wilderness” (as the Gospel for the first Sunday of Lent reads).

Each sister’s personal prayers and practices are private, but as a community, Lent is really a time to slow down and enter more deeply into silence. During Lent, we refrain from unnecessary correspondence and visits with family and friends. Our food is usually quite simple, but there is an extra focus on simplicity and frugality, with the money saved being given to the poor. We look at what we really need, spiritually and materially, and let go of what is taking up space that should be reserved for the Holy Spirit. We remember to seek again the beauty of our life with God, for the salvation of souls and life of our world.


This spiritual wilderness prepares us for Paschal Triduum at Easter. As Lent continues, the readings of the Liturgy ask us, again and again, to return to Christ, to be more deeply united to Him, and to leave behind whatever separates us from His Love. Like St. Paul, we say: “I want to know Christ, and the power of His Resurrection, by sharing in His sufferings and becoming like Him in His death, if somehow I may attain the Resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already achieved this, or reached the goal, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own.” (Phil. 3:10-11) To choose Love, above all else, is a kind of death—to selfishness, to anger, to all the other passions that the Desert Fathers and Mothers write about. But because this Love is God, this “death” leads to life for us and for the world, as we share more fully in the life of Christ and the Holy Trinity.

As Holy Week approaches, you can begin to see little pockets of activity as sisters prepare for the Paschal Triduum. Some preparations are routine; others, sisters work very hard to keep as a surprise for the community until the Vigil itself!


Above all, we ask the Holy Spirit to make this season fruitful, to lead our community and each one us into deeper union with God. We wait, and pray, and watch for the “wilderness” to bloom.


May God bless you, and those you love, as we prepare to enter Holy Week. If you’re in the area, you are most welcome to join us for the liturgy during Triduum. You can find our schedule here.

Sr. Marie Thomas Lawrie
March 25 - Solemnity of the Annunciation of Our Lord

Happy Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord! For a treat, here is the hymn we sang at Lauds this morning. As we and "all creation" rejoice in Mary's "yes" today, let us pray to receive the Lord with courage and humility, just as she did.


The hymn was originally written by St. John Damascene and is used in the Liturgy of St. Basil the Great. Our musical setting was composed by our Dominican brother fr André Gouzes, and translated into English for us by one of our sisters. Those of you who have visited our chapel will also recognize the icon of Our Lady, who is to the right of our altar (to the left is an icon of St. Dominic).

We hope that you have a beautiful feast!