Our community decided to try a new way of celebrating the the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary this year. Inspired by a custom in Lyon, France, of placing candles in house windows to thank Mary for delivering the city from the plague in the 17th century, we decided to celebrate the solemnity with a little festival of light. And, because the Immaculate Conception was on Saturday, and supper on Saturday night is a supper celebrating the Resurrection, why not a supper of light celebrating both the Holy Mother of God and Jesus, the “ light of all peoples”? We finished off the celebration of the Immaculate Conception, and continued the celebration of the Resurrection, with sparklers at recreation (discovered by a sister in a hunt for all those candles)!
Just prior to our annual retreat, our community celebrated the election of Sr. Claire Marie of Jesus as our prioress for the next three years. Originally from Alberta, Sr. Claire entered the Order of Preachers in France before returning to help found Queen of Peace Monastery in her home country. Please pray for Sr. Claire and for our community as we begin this new prioral term under the guidance and loving care of the Holy Spirit!
There’s no snow on the ground yet, but during our annual retreat, the snow started creeping down the slopes of the Tantalus range. Not pictured, but also beautiful, are the stars that we begin to see this time of year. Being in a remote valley, there is very little light pollution, and usually a few sisters can be found outdoors before Matins, stargazing.
Pilchuk Creek is roaring as the fall rains get underway.
And, indoors, every corner of the monastery seems to have a project tucked away.
As we come to the end of the liturgical year and prepare for the season of Advent, may God fill you will every joy in believing, and may His peace dwell in your hearts. God bless!
On the Feast of the Archangels, September 29, Sister Marie Thomas of the Divine Word made her First Profession of Vows (aka Simple Vows) and placed herself more intimately under God’s Will, “in praise of His glory”, with all the angels of heaven!
Sister is originally from Northern British Columbia, and many friends and family were able to join us for this wonderful day. The Mass was celebrated by Fr. Dean Henderson, chaplain and friend from sister’s alma mater.
Here are a few photos from the celebration! Please pray for sister as she continues to follow Jesus in the footsteps of St. Dominic for the next three years.
Our monastery is very blessed to be part of a new documentary called "This Mountain Life", made by local filmmakers Grant and Jenny, and focusing on the lives of people who live in the mountains of British Columbia. We got a sneak peek at the film a few weeks ago, and were blown away by the quality of cinematography and respect for the stories of each of the characters. You can find out more about the film here; or, really, just get a glimpse for yourself:
If you’re in Western Canada, you can check out upcoming screenings at the Vancouver International Film Festival screening on October 2 and 4, and the Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival screening on November 3.
Please join us in praying for all those who seek God’s face in the mountains, that we might “climb the mountain of the Lord” together and always be ready to support our brothers and sisters on the trek.
The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,
the world, and those who live in it;
for he has founded it on the seas,
and established it on the rivers.
Who shall climb the mountain of the Lord?
And who shall stand in his holy place?
Those who have clean hands and pure hearts,
who do not lift up their souls to what is false,
and do not swear deceitfully.
They will receive blessing from the Lord,
and vindication from the God of their salvation.
Such is the company of those who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob.
- Psalm 24
Our patronal feast of Our Lady Queen of Peace was doubly blessed this year as our two postulants received the habit of the Order of Preachers and became Sr. Marie Étienne of the Most Holy Name of Jesus and Sr. Diana Marie of the Divine Mercy.
Postulancy, which comes from the Latin postulare (to ask), lasts a year in our monastery. During this time, a young woman makes a trial of our Dominican monastic life. If she and the community discern that God may be calling her here, she asks to be received more fully into the community as a novice.
The vestition ceremony itself also begins with a question. "What do you seek?" the prioress asks. "God's Mercy and yours," the candidate (or candidates!) responds. After a short Scripture reading, and talk by the prioress, each sister is clothed in the holy habit of St. Dominic. As an important symbol of the givenness of a vocation, the new novice doesn't clothe herself in the habit, but entrusts herself entirely to the novice mistress and prioress as they literally dress her in the habit and scapular, tie a belt around her waist, attach the rosary and crucifix, and place the white novice veil on her head. Finally, at the end of each clothing comes the moment all the sisters have been waiting for—the revealing of each new sister's religious name, which had been kept a secret from the community until then (which doesn't stop the community from trying to guess!). Finally, each new novice gives the sign of peace to the community and their families while the rest of the sisters sing the Magnificat.
We thank God for the gift of each of these sisters' lives and vocations. Please pray for their perseverance and joy in the Lord as they begin their novitiate!
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!