An Introduction

This blog is for our friends, families and benefactors, who are kind enough
to be interested in our life and apostolate. We also hope that young women
interested in a Dominican vocation may make their way to this blog and find
out more about the details of our religious life.
Who are we?
We are a traditional Congregation of Dominican Sisters formed after the lapse into modernism of the New Zealand Dominican Sisters. We aim to live the total Dominican life with full Divine Office in Latin and traditional Convent Life with Habit, Silence, Recreation, Traditional Refectory and Teaching Apostolate. All this is built on our devotion to the Traditional Latin Mass in both our own Dominican life and the beloved Tridentine Rite as we find it here at St Anthony’s parish Wanganui. At the moment there are eight of us.

Where do we come from?
A fuller account of our origins and the story of our first Sister can be found by following the link to the Asian website of the Society of St Pius X. In summary, we were founded by a New Zealand Dominican Sister who had had to leave her Congregation because of its modernism. She has been joined by young Sisters, and, with the advice and help of the Dominican Sisters of Fanjeaux and the Society of St Pius X, we have been able to build up our community here. We have received young women from New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa.

Where are we?

Our only convent, at the moment, is in Wanganui, a coastal town of 43,000 inhabitants at the mouth of the Wanganui River on the West Coast of the North Island of New Zealand. We live in St Anthony’s Traditional (Latin Mass) Parish where we teach in the schools of the Society of St Pius X. We are, at present living in our new Convent, which is only half built, at 12B York Street, behind St Anthony’s Church. We look forward to the completion of the Convent when we will be able to take up all the customs and ceremonials which are curtailed because we have really outgrown our current living space. This convent is being provided for us by the generosity of the Traditional Catholic Faithful of New Zealand.

What do we do?
Our main work is the maintenance of the Divine Office which we sing or chant according to the Dominican Rite with its beautiful ceremonial. By means of the Divine Office we extend the influence of our daily Mass through the whole of life. Our second work is our life in community where we endeavor to sanctify ourselves and each other. Our third work is the maintenance of traditional schools here in the parish. We help to run St Anthony’s Primary School and the two separate schools (for boys and girls respectively) which make up St Dominic’s College.

The Sisters in Church

St Dominic’s College

St Anthony’s Primary School

How do we train?
We follow the classical model of religious life with postulancy followed by novitiate and then a period of temporary profession. Some of our training is in-house but we also make use of extra-mural study from Massey University in Palmerston North and the University of New England, Armidale, Australia. If the Sisters are not trained teachers when they enter they do their teacher-training through Bethlehem Tertiary Institute near Tauranga. For our formal religious education we rely on the local Society of St Pius X priests who give us lectures. From February 2008 we are also receiving “distance” courses from Holy Cross Seminary, Goulburn, (SSPX), so that we can gain formal training in Philosophy and Theology.

A few snatches from the Archives:

Visit of Father Albert, O.P.
An important step in the history of our Congregation was the visit of Father Albert to run our retreat in December 2005. We enjoyed a very Thomistic Retreat, and also availed ourselves of Father’s expertise in the chant and ceremonial. To show our appreciation we took Father Albert for a ride in a jet-boat on the Wanganui River. It was, unfortunately, a wet day and Father said that it was like going through a car-wash. None-the-less a good time was had by all. We had, out of courtesy, accompanied Father on his very scenic trip.

Sisters go to Europe and America:
In January 2007 Sister Mary Madeleine, O.P., and Sister Mary Rose, O.P., visited Europe and America to gain more knowledge of Dominican Life and teaching-methods. The trip was made possible by a generous donation from the St Joseph Trust and also a very generous donation from a private benefactor. The Sisters were able to visit Fanjeaux, the motherhouse of the Teaching Dominicans of Fanjeaux. While there they were able to visit St Dominic’s house and the “Signadou”, the place where he saw the sign which pointed out to him where to establish the first convent of Sisters, at Prouille. They were also able to visit Prouille, the ancestral convent of our Congregation. In France they also visited the convent at Romagne and the Contemplative Nuns and the Friars at Avrillé. The also fitted in visits to Lourdes and Paris. In America they stayed with the Fanjeaux Dominicans at St Dominic School, Post Falls, where, as in Fanjeaux, they learned a lot about the Dominican methods of teaching. During their whole trip they also refreshed their knowledge of the chant and ceremonial for the Divine Office.

5 thoughts on “An Introduction”

  1. Dear Sisters,

    A friend, Matthew McAuliffe (who will be moving to NZ in 2009 to your parish) sent to me your website address. As I read the description of the acquisition of the choir stalls, my memory was flooded with the recollection of my acquisition of some pews in 1981/82 from the St Vincent’s chapel at Pott’s Point, Sydney of the Sisters of Charity. My wife and responded to their advertisement “Church furniture for sale” but were saddened at the prospect of them “throwing away” such historic items. In case there is insufficient space here, I shall send a separate email.
    Sr Clare asked for $80 per pew (apparently some ‘shysters’ had offered the sisters $20 each) and I responded, “Oh sister! I couldn’t possibly give you $80 for such a pew. I’ll tell you what: How about I offer you – let me say, How about $350?”
    There was stunned silence from Sr Clare. Perhaps she thought she was dealing with a lunatic. Once I explained my position of empathy for the Church, she understood. In fact I spread the word that the sisters were ‘giving away’ pews for $350 and a few friends called and purchased them. Sr Clare thought I had been sent by divine providence. If you wish to see the pews in my home chapel , go to the Passionist website and seek out “Len Attard’s Chapel”. I might send some photos to you by email.
    So sadly, those choir stalls and pews could have been so well used by your house.
    God bless,

    Len Attard.

  2. Nice job, sisters! May God continue to bless you! And may I ask you to please keep me in your prayers for a serious legal situation I'm involved in, especially in the morning of June 9, 2010. Thank you very much. J.Wendling

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