Vocations Discernment Retreat and Visit from Fr Albert, O.P.

The time of the vocations discernment retreat finally arrived after months of preparation! Sixteen young ladies came from various parts of New Zealand, Australia, and Tasmania. Parishioners had been generous in their loans of bedding, and even a house across the road was lent for the purpose of housing some retreatants (and a Sister to watch over them, of course!). All 16 girls were settled into the convent, a classroom made into a dormitory, or the house.

Fr Albert, O.P. had come from the snow in Minnesota, U.S.A., to the warmth of Wanganui to give this retreat on vocations to the religious life. Father’s conferences brought before the retreatants’ minds various topics including Divine grace in the soul, mental prayer, and the state of perfection. The young ladies got a taste of the teaching of St Thomas Aquinas from his Summa Theologicae and other great saints, in particular St Maximilian Kolbe.

It had been arranged to use the parish church for Mass and the Divine Office, our chapel being too small to accommodate the number of girls and Sisters. Each day began with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, according to the Dominican rite, and ended with our biggest Salve procession yet! The history of the Salve procession is a beautiful one. Mother Francis Raphael, O.S.D. relates in her book The Spirit of the Dominican Order that “[f]rom the very beginning of the Order the Salve was recite after Compline, as we find from that vision in St. Dominic’s life in which we are told that our Lady made herself known to him by saying: “I am she whom you invoke every evening; and when you say, Eia ergo, advocata nostra, I prostrate before my Son for the preservation of this Order.” But it was not sung processionally, as it is now, until the time of Blessed Jordan, the successor of St. Dominic, when the dreadful sufferings endured by the Brethren from diabolical apparitions induced him to order it in the Chapter of Paris, A.D. 1226. Its effect was the immediate disappearance of these troublesome visitants; and in their stead Mary took possession of the Dominican choirs, as we would fondly hope, never to yield her place to another.

“Salve, Regina…”

It became, if we may say so, the fashionable devotion to go to the church of the Friar-Preachers after Compline to assist at the Salve, and many therefore were the witnesses of the heavenly apparitions which our chronicles describe.

“Eia ergo, advocata nostra…”

The Queen of Heaven was seen to descend into the choir, as the Friars came out in procession, and to place herself in the midst of them, and, as they sang the last words, O dulcis Virgo Maria, inclining at her sweet name, she blessed them and disappeared. . . . A devout woman of Lombardy…saw the Divine Mother assisting at the Office, and when the Friars said Spes nostra, salve, our Lady graciously returned the salutation, and at the words Eia ergo she interceded for them with her Son; and at those other words, Jesum benedictum, etc., she held out the Child Jesus to the Brethren, giving Him to each one of them to kiss; and then, blessing them, disappeared.” Our Blessed Mother surely must have smiled lovingly upon her children as they bade her goodnight.

“O dulcis Virgo Maria…”

Once the retreat was finished, Father Albert, a true son of St Dominic, preached a three-day Rosary mission for the parish. Each night he gave an instruction, led the praying of the Rosary with a meditation before each mystery, and preached a sermon.

And just like that it was time for Father to return to his duties in the U.S.A. We would like to thank him for all his hard work during his visit and pray that someday he may return!

Finally, we ask that you keep us in your prayers as we begin our annual retreat, which will be a preparation for two of our novices who will make their first temporary vows on January 6th. We wish you all a most blessed and happy Christmas!

2 thoughts on “Vocations Discernment Retreat and Visit from Fr Albert, O.P.”

  1. Dear Sister

    I am simply so full of joy to see the beauty of the Salve Procession. What a wonderful account of the intervention of Our Blessed Mother in this procession and how sweet and tender were her actions. I am delighted also to see so many young ladies at the vocations retreat and to see the positive promotion of vocations by the Good Sisters. In recent decades, in the modernist church, we seem to have been more intent on making difficulties for vocations, rather than welcoming them and nourishing them.May Almighy God Bless your great work always, Sisters and May the Queen of Heaven and Earth, keep you close to her Immaculate Heart.

  2. God bless the sisters! God bless the friars!

    I like very much to see this wonderful work. Unfortunattely in Brazil we have no dominican convents, not even modernist ones (Deo Gratias). Fhirst time I saw a real traditional dominican friar was three years ago. We have a traditional community here, and one of our brothers moved to Avrille, preparing for priesthood… Than, he went to the seminary of La Reja (Argentina) and spent one year there, to finish his formation, and his firsth mass was here, with the assistance of Fr. Pierre Marie (O.P).
    I have the pics, if you wanna take a look…


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