Our Adventurous Actions in August

August is
always a special month to look forward to in any Dominican Calendar!  Not only do the words Arise, my love, my dove, my beautiful one, for winter will soon be over
and the rain over and gone 
come to mind, but it also means celebrations of
the most solemn kind for the Feast of Our Holy Father on August 4th.
At this time, any true daughter of St Dominic will always be preparing days in
advance, sometimes even weeks, for this most joyous day when not only the
order, but the whole Church will celebrate the founding of the Order of Friars
Our preparations
here in Tynong began with a little surprise. Never does it snow due to the temperate
climate, even in Winter, but one late day in July we had a rather odd hail
storm which left our surroundings looking like it was covered in a white
blanket. For our Singaporean Sisters it was pure delight and we resolved then and
there to try to fit in a day when we could take them to see and experience “real
snow”. True is the saying that the most simple things in life give one much
joy. What joy one experiences too when one gives up all earthly possessions and
consequently all temporal cares in order to devote oneself entirely to
obtaining heavenly treasures.
At last the Vigil came and First Solemn
Vespers was chanted in the evening at the Church along with dedicated Dominican
Tertiaries and devout faithful, with Rosary and Benediction following soon
after. We were fortunate enough too to have Fr Marc Nely SSPX visiting
at that time from Menzingen. Father naturally presided over Vespers and also
celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass the next day. It was a lovely
liturgical start to the Feast Day, since a Dominican is first and foremost a
contemplative. The Sacrifice of the Mass is always the climax of our day and
the Divine Office a preparation and continuation of that Sacrifice. Some
authors have compared the Mass to the Sun and the Divine Office, to the sun’s rays,
which spread far and wide the glory of the sun.  Our Holy Father St Dominic Himself, once a
Canon Regular, would tend to the Sacred Liturgy with much devotion and He
always made the Mass the Centre of His life to the point that witnesses would
frequently see him celebrate Mass with tears in his eyes.
Consequently, In imitation of our
Saintly Founder, we had a good holy start to the morning, and only then did we
proceed to have a special breakfast with Father and a most jolly and recreative
morning. We divided ourselves into four teams and competed in various games devised
by our Creative Canonical Novices. I must say, the most amusing game we
participated in involved working as a team to carry 4 eggs, one at a time, from
one end of the room to the other with a tea towel – no touching eggs with hands
allowed. It was very interesting to see how each group worked in order to accomplish
the task at hand.  Needless to say we
were eating quite a few eggs thereafter but having lots of fun nevertheless.

Just after noon we partook of a
splendid meal prepared by a lovely Cook in the Parish by the name of Mrs Lisa Braaksma.
It was very very difficult not to tuck in enthusiastically since we had to be
mindful of our traditional SISTERS vs STUDENTS netball game at 2pm. And what a
game! Neck to neck all the way until the last quarter, when the final whistle
brought the game to an end and a victory for both teams, since the scored
turned out to be 17-17. Might I add the point that each quarter saw a whole new
team of fresh and youthful girls play, while their opponents, the gracefully
aging Sisters, plodded on playing a full 40 minute game.

The presentation of the Cup was
followed by an afternoon tea for Benefactors, Tertiaries, Friends and Faithful as
well as Past Dominican Pupils and the enjoyable day ended with the Divine
Office – II Vespers, Matins and Compline.

On the Feasts of the Assumption
and Ascension, we usually try to ASSUME or ASCEND something, so on August 15th,
off we went to Mt Baw Baw to give our Equatorial Sisters a chance to experience
what it is like in real snow. This gave us a day filled with such wonderful
memories that we sang all the way home.
Soon after, our Sister Mary Anna,
accompanied the St Thomas Aquinas College School Choir to an Eisteddfod.  And for those wondering what this peculiar
word is all about, it is an annual festival, with competitions in stage,
speech, dance and music. The girls performed beautifully and the adjudicator mentioned
that as a choir they had a rare sweet quality of voice. They proudly walked
away at the end of the night with a 1st and 3rd place,
two lots of prize money and a rather prominent trophy.
Now Spring is here, the flowers
are in bloom, the brightly coloured parrots fly to and fro, the sun is shining,
the kangaroos are hopping about once again and one feels like leaping over the
hills singing the praises of God. Again do the beautiful words of the Canticle
of Canticles come to mind: The flowers
have appeared in our land, the time of pruning is come; the voice of the turtle
dove is heard; Arise, my love, my beautiful one and come……I have found Him whom
my soul loveth.