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Letter from General Prioress – Our Lady of the Holy Rosary 2021

Por | 2021, Letter from General Prioress

Our Lady of the Holy Rosary 2021

Dear sisters,

            We are in October, the so-called “month of the Rosary” and in it we celebrate the feast of Our Mother, the Lady of the Rosary. Is there a better way of honoring her than by praying the rosary? She has appeared a lot of time with “rosary in hand”.  She loves the rosary, because though it may seem that its prayer is a mere manifestation of Marian piety (it is, as well), nevertheless its foundation is Christological, the protagonist is Jesus Christ, the Son of the Virgin Mary.

            Indeed, the various mysteries of the Rosary are like “photographs” of emblematic moments in the life of Jesus, perceived through the eyes of Mary.  In the Gospel of her feast day (Lk 1: 26-38), we contemplate the mystery of the Annunciation of the archangel, Saint Gabriel, to the Virgin. The dialogue between the messenger and Mary is very important; important in her YES, “let it be done to me according to your word”. Important because it marked the beginning of the fulfillment of the promise of salvation: the Incarnation of the Son of God. The protagonist is Jesus who became incarnate in his womb; Mary acts as an instrument.

            The rosary is a simple and profound prayer that leads us to contemplate the face of the Lord.  Guided by the hands of Our Mother we approach the Son. In the contemplation of each mystery of the rosary we can learn from Mary the contemplation of the beauty of the face of Christ and experience the depth of the entire Gospel message. The rosary is nourished directly from the Gospel; therefore, it helps us embrace the evangelical values.

            With good reason, Pope Saint Paul VI said of the Rosary that it is a compendium of the Gospel; but without contemplation, it is a body without a soul and its prayer is in danger of becoming a mechanical repetition. The Rosary requires a slow, thoughtful and attentive prayer that facilitates meditation on the mysteries of the Lord, seen through the heart of Mary.

            Sisters, may Our Mother, the Lady of the Rosary, help us to strengthen our union and communion with Christ.

HAPPY FEAST DAY OF OUR LADY OF THE ROSARY!

 

                                                                  My fraternal embrace and prayer,

                                                                                  

                                                                                   Sor Mª Asunción González, O.P.   

                                                                                               General Prioress

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Letter from General Prioress

Por | 2021, Letter from General Prioress

Dear Sisters,

Once again, the Lord has given us the opportunity to celebrate the feast of Our Father Saint Dominic. This year in the context of the eighth centenary of his “dies natalis” under the theme “At the table with St. Dominic of Guzman”. The motto is derived from the painting called “Mascarella”; the oldest painting of St. Dominic which reflects one of the fundamental pillars of the Dominican charism “The Community Life”; a table around which his children sit as a family, in communion within the community.

For St. Dominic, community life constitutes a value and a fundamental pillar. In choosing the Rule for the Order, he chose that of Saint Augustine, which begins by reminding the religious that “they live in the same house to form a single family having one heart and one soul in God”. Community life is the fertile soil where the mission- preaching, gains strength. For this reason, he asked the novices two things before accepting them into the Order: obedience and commitment to community life. 

             Wanting to imitate the Apostles throughout his life, Dominic had as a model for the community of his brothers the first apostolic community. In this community the first Christians “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayers. All believers lived together and had everything in common. Praising God and enjoying the good favor of the people”. 

             Dominic lived community life in its fullness. He participated in all the activities and submitted to the community in everything. “He thoroughly observed the Rule – according to the witnesses in the canonization process – and does not easily dispense himself from it. He followed the community in the choir, the dining room for the meals and in all places” according to the schedules; he adapted himself to the community in everything, and although he often spent the nights praying in the church, he is present in the chapel with his brothers for the morning prayer “. However, community life is not only about being present in the regular observances; because one can be physically present but emotionally far away; the gestures and details of his closeness and tenderness towards the nuns and brothers are recognized by everyone. Saint Dominic taught us that life in common requires charity towards each sister, presence and active participation in the activities of the community, rejoice with those who are rejoicing, sympathy with those who are sad, listen to each person and accept everyone.

             It also means putting everything in common; not only the material things or the fruit of one’s own work, but also the values, gifts and qualities that each sister has; sharing their ideas, helping each other and placing the common good first before individual interest. I believe that the reason why Dominic was exemplary in community living was because of his humanity, he was fully human, fully alive.

Dominic’s humanity is characterized by contrasts: strong but tender, decisive but open, firm but compassionate.

Dominic had to overcome many obstacles, many adversities in life, however nothing of harshness, rigidity or intolerance is ever seen in his character. According to the memory of witnesses who lived with him, Dominic stood out especially for his tenderness, sensitivity and compassion- virtues that humanize.

He lived and fully exemplified what Pope Francis affirms “only tenderness can change people”.

Dominic´s heart broke; he is deeply moved by the sufferings and needs of others. He went out and put himself in place of the other, he sympathized with their pain and joy. He was warm and treated everybody humanely. These are just some of his traits, his true humanity. It was not sufficient for him to feel sorry, he did something and responded to injustices and to the needs of others. We know very well the many episodes in his life in which he tried to remedy the suffering of somebody to the extent of giving his own life.

The Master of the Order, Fr. Gerard, challenged us in one of his letters about the jubilee: What does it mean for us to be at table with Saint Dominic in the here and now?

We have to ask this question specially at this time when the fear of being contaminated from Covid 19 virus overwhelms and threatens us and use it as an excuse to “keep our distance”.

I think that to sit down at the table of St. Dominic today implies that we intentionally become attentive to the needs of the sisters specially the weak, those who are most in need, those who are apparently self-sufficient; to listen patiently to each one, listen to their fears, their concerns, their anxieties and encourage that each sister can freely express her concerns and be comforted with respect and kindness. Not all have the same sensitivity and the ability to face the “fears” of life. As the saying goes: “those who are strong have to bear the infirmities of the weak”. 

To sit at the table of Dominic in our present time commits us to dare to talk to each other, in all honesty and truthfulness say what we care about our community, what troubles us, what we like, as well as the concerns of our fellowmen.  For this we have to support as well as sustain each other and seriously discern the urgent needs of our present society.

A community does not advance humanly or spiritually if it is not nourished, expressed and manifested with gestures, attitudes and words. Only if we express our humanity and tenderness, as did our Father, can we witness the greatness of the love and fellowship and respond to the cries of injustice and needs of humanity. Dominic was well aware of the reality of his time, he got involved and committed himself to making a better world.

Let us learn from Dominic how to pay attention to the sisters whom we live with; to accept and welcome their weaknesses and vulnerabilities, just as he accepted that of the friars with whom he lived.  Let us avoid closing in on ourselves but let us open, as he did, our eyes, ears and arms to the cry of those who are in need.

I think Dominic would be delighted to live in communities today where there is genuine concern, love and support for each other; where each one strives to discern the signs of the times making this civilization a little more pleasant to live in.

HAPPY FEASTDAY OF ST. DOMINIC. May this jubilee year serve to renew ourselves by following the teachings and examples of our Father.

With fraternal embrace and my prayers,

 

                                            Sor Mª Asunción González, O.P.

                                                   General Prioress

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Letter from General Prioress – St. Catherine of Siena

Por | 2021, Letter from General Prioress

Dear Sisters,

 

On the 29th we will celebrate the feast of our sister, Saint Catherine of Siena, and I would like to share this reflection with all of you.

Speaking of Catherine of Siena, is to speak about one of the most admired and beloved figures of the Catholic Church. Throughout her life, this simple woman served tirelessly in a humble and sacrificial, helpful and generous way, with an unlimited and courageous dedication to the mandate of her God, at the service of the Church and the Roman Pontiff.

For Catherine, to speak about the Church is not just any way of speaking: it is to speak with passion about the Church that she loved, for which she lived and died: “If I die, know that I die with passion for her, the Church – the Mystical Body of Christ. ”

Speaking of the Church in Catherinian manner is to talk about a Church that does not evade temporal conflicts because it is concerned with the human person and his full realization, distant from interested alliances and worldly privileges. John Paul II, when he declared the saint Patroness of Europe, said ” the young Sienese entered confidently and with fiery words at the heart of ecclesial and social problems of her time.”

She never hesitated to offer every moment of her life for the unity and fidelity to the Church until the time of her death. On her deathbed she prayed: “O God eternal, receive the sacrifice of my life in this mystical body of Holy Church. I have nothing to give, save what Thou hast given me. Take this heart, then, and press it out over the face of Thy Spouse.”

However, if we look carefully at her life, we realize that she excels in her proclamation of the universal call to holiness, obedience to the Magisterium of the Church, the filial affection for the Holy Pontiff and the certainty that, without Jesus Christ, any human project is impossible.

They say that one morning, upon waking up from a mystical experience, Catherine confided to her confessor what she heard from the Lord who pronounced these words: “The cell will no longer be your usual home; indeed, for the salvation of souls you shall also leave your city… you shall bear the honor of my name and my doctrine to small or great, be they lay, clergy or religious. I shall place on your mouth a wisdom, which no one can resist. I shall lead you before Pontiffs, Heads of the Churches and of the Christian people, so that through the weak, as is my way of acting, I shall humiliate the pride of the strong”.

Father Timothy Radcliffe, on the occasion of the proclamation of Catherine as Doctor of the Church, addressed the entire Order through a letter in which he highlights the relevance of her message because “Catherine’s Europe was, like our world today, marked by violence and an uncertain future… there was a decline of vitality in the Church, a loss of a sense of purpose and a crisis of religious life. She refused to resign herself in the face of this suffering and division, but embarked on the not easy task of reforming and pacifying the Church and society, and she did so because she was consumed by the urge to bring God’s love and mercy to everyone.”

Catherine never sacrificed truth or justice for an easy or cheap peace. She knew how to live up to the occasion, as a lay woman, playing a significant role in the Church and in society. She became the female incarnation within the Order of Preachers of its evangelical project, making herself an undisputed reference for all of us throughout time.

Sisters, do we have the courage to assume, like Catherine, the mission of being peacemakers in the community, the Church and society?

St. Catherine, on your feast day we implore you to teach us to be like you, mediator of unity, instrument of peace, defender of justice, lover of dialogue with God and with our neighbors.

            HAPPY FEASTDAY OF ST. CATHERINE OF SIENA!

Un abrazo fraternal y mi oración,

 

 

                                            Sor Mª Asunción González, O.P.

                                                   General Prioress

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Letter from General Prioress – Lent 2021

Por | 2021, Letter from General Prioress

Dear Sisters,

          

            Once again, we approach the season of Lent, and the Lord places before us the opportunity of taking time more dedicated to prayer. Lent is a perfect moment to return to the simple, to the little, to the hidden. And from there discover our iniquities and cleanse our heart. When we look at the world today, in the midst of this scenario of death and disease, of hopelessness and fear, we are called to be the light of hope, the messengers of God’s love and forgiveness. And that light only shines when we nourish it with prayer and silent, expectant contemplation.

            During this Lenten season let us renew our determination to allow ourselves to be transformed by the abundance of the mercy of our God.  The Holy Father in his Lenten message proposes fasting, prayer and almsgiving, which are the conditions and expression of our conversion.    

            PRAYER, which keeps us aware of the Mystery of love that inhabits us. It is a heart-to-heart dialogue, a friend-to-friend conversation. The more we allow ourselves to be fascinated by his Word, the more we will be able to experience his gratuitous mercy towards us. Prayer enables us to embody a sincere faith, a living hope and an effective charity.

            Faith calls us to accept the Truth manifested in Christ and testify to it before God and before our brothers and sisters.

            Pope Francis tells us that through recollection and silent prayer, we are given hope as inspiration and interior light, illuminating the choices and challenges we face in our mission. In giving hope to others, it is sometimes enough simply to be kind, putting aside our worries in order to pay attention to the other, either through a smile, a word of encouragement, or simply by listening.

            Fasting which is lived as an experience of deprivation, to open our hearts and mercy to those who are in need. Fasting frees us from everything that binds us and moves us to share with the poor and needy, knowing that whatever we do for them, we do it for God himself. Let us ask ourselves how the needs of the poor affect us and how do we act accordingly.  The little we have, if shared to others with love, transforms our lives and generates happiness.  Sharing, the Pope tells us, makes us more human, while accumulating carries the risk of making us less human, bound by our own selfishness.

            Charity is a gift that gives meaning to our life. Living Lent in charity means caring for those who suffer, victims of the scourges of our time, feeling abandoned, full of anxiety of the uncertainty of the future due to the COVID 19 pandemic.

            Sisters, in this season of Lent, let us examine our life in the light of the Word of God, so that we would be able to change our hearts and learn to live in a more human way.  God is beside us and He wants to heal our life. That is why conversion is not something sad, but the discovery of true joy.

            Let us ask Mary, our Mother, to keep us determined and vigilant this Lent. Let us ask her to teach us shed our selfishness day by day, to learn to live with joy our freedom as children of God.

 

                                                                       My prayer and fraternal embrace,

 

 

                                            Sor Mª Asunción González, O.P.

                                                   General Prioress

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