It was 42 degrees Celsius in the shade by the monastery's kiln shed today, and while some nuns may be pondering Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in their fiery furnace, the garden appears to be loving it. We recently spotted two fauns in our north field, the hay in the south field was valiantly baled by a local farmer (prior to the heat wave, we had on and off rain for most of the month), and a small frog was found seeking refuge near the fragment of Notre-Dame-de-Prouilhe stone in our chapel. And, finally, the place where all our labour begins and ends (and the final destination of our dahlias too). God is good!
On Sunday, June 20, we celebrated the Solemn Profession of Sr. Florentina Marie of the Heart of Jesus. Sr. Florentina Marie was born in Moshi District, Tanzania, and was a sister of Our Lady of Mt. Kilimanjaro for over three decades before discerning a further call to the contemplative life. The ceremony was presided over by Archbishop Michael Miller CSB of Vancouver, and many friend and family were able to witness this beautiful consecration—the first for Queen of Peace Monastery since our foundation.
"I, Sister Florentina Marie, make profession
and promise obedience to God
and to blessed Mary and to blessed Dominic,
and to the Master of the Order of Friars Preachers,
and to you Sister Marie Tersidis,
prioress of Queen of Peace Monastery, and to your successors,
according to the Rule of blessed Augustine
and the Constitutions of the Nuns of the Order of Preachers,
that I will be obedient to you, and to your successors,
During this same Mass, we also celebrated the blessing of our new tabernacle, generously donated by a group of generous benefactors and handbuilt by a local craftsman. The panels were designed by Sr. Claire Marie, and feature the four living creatures from Ezekiel 1:5, representing the four evangelists. We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to all those who made this new creation possible, and pray that it will give glory to God and beauty to our chapel for generations to come!
We wish you a very happy Pentecost and, today, memorial of Mary, Mother of the Church! For the past three days, we've been blessed with the presence among us of Archbishop Luigi Bonazzi, Apostolic Nuncio to Canada. It has been an absolute joy and honour to welcome him and celebrate these beautiful feasts of the Church together in communion with our Holy Father Pope Francis and the Church throughout the world. Come, Holy Spirit!
We had other, less expected guests earlier this week, during the middle of our Pentecost retreat. After Matins and Lauds one morning, a sister noticed a dark shape high up in a tree in our middle field. It turned out to be a bear! What this picture doesn't show is that there was another bear, of a similar size, hanging out just a few trees over! The monastery's binoculars were passed around, and as best we could tell, our ursine arborists were cheerfully munching breakfast. They had climbed down by Mass, which was perhaps fortunate, as readings for the day included Psalm 68—and "Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up" suddenly took on a new and unexpected meaning!
Finally, this week we were delighted to receive our first copy of Sr. Jean Marie's new book, The Quest for the Divine: Philosopher, Prophet and Mystic, which explores the "essential connection between contemplation and daily life" through the writings of Etty Hillesum, Meister Eckhart and Eric Voegelin. It is available on Amazon, and will be available in the monastery's gift shop shortly!
And finally, just in case you haven't seen it yet, our spring newsletter is now posted here in English et en Français.
This past fall, a friend of the community graciously donated two gently used floor looms. Soon enough, words like "heddles", "treadles" and "warp" began flying around community recreation and scraps of paper with scribbled patterns could be found lying around the novitiate. A few months later, and...well, you can see for yourself!
For the past two years, Sr. Florentina Marie has been hard at work in our downstairs candle workshop, hand-pouring Paschal candles (as well as all our altar candles, Advent candles and other interesting creations) and letting them cure. This January, she spent time with our Franciscan Poor Clare sisters at St. Clare's Monastery in Duncan learning how to decorate and finish the Paschal candles with a variety of fine wax designs. Thank-you, dear sisters, for your gracious and joyful support! Here are the "first fruits" of this year's candles.
It is our joy and privilege to sing the public prayer of the Church throughout the day in the Divine Office. Composed of psalms, canticles and readings from throughout the Scriptures, the Divine Office has its roots in the earliest Christian communities, who continued the Jewish custom of sanctifying certain hours of the day (and, thus, the whole day) with prayer. The Desert Fathers and Mothers took this tradition of praying the psalms into the Scetis desert of Egypt, forming the foundations of what would later grow to be cenobitic monastic life.
Over 1700 years later, we still pray in their footsteps: "I will walk in the presence of the Lord in the land of the living."
On the feast of St. Luke the Evangelist, October 18, Sister Elizabeth Marie of the Transfiguration made her First Profession of Vows in the hands of our prioress, Sister Marie Tersidis. It was a joyful day, and we are happy to share a few photos with you! Please pray for Sister Elizabeth Marie as she continues to follow Jesus in the footsteps of St. Dominic.