These past few months have been an incredible whirlwind of activity here at St. Dominic’s Priory!  We haven’t been able to update our news section very much as our website sister has been busy building this new site, fixing the bugs, and working hard at maintaining our site’s security.

A recent major victory: our contact forms are working!!!  (THANKS BE TO GOD!!!)

So, this post will be rather packed.  Make yourself a lovely cuppa, take a comfy seat, and buckle your seatbelts for a quick tour of the past few month’s highlights!

AUGUST

Our St. John Paul II Walking Pilgrimage to Walsingham for the New Evangelisation at the beginning of August was superb!  Not only did God bless the pilgrims with good weather, great food, fabulous catechesis, and wonderful fellowship, we’re sure the prayers offered by our pilgrims were powerful!  And we were extra blessed to have Fr. Dominique-Benoit, OP join us as our chaplain from the Dominican Province of Toulouse!  If you’re interested in joining us for next year’s pilgrimage, make sure you clear your caendars for 30 July – 2 August and REGISTER HERE.

For more photos, have a look at our JPII Flickr Album.

A couple of weeks after the pilgrimage, we entered into our biggest apostolate of the year: FANNING THE FLAME SUMMER CAMP!  (Much excitement!)  It’s all hands on deck, a completely packed priory, and paddocks full of tents and happy campers!   We even had another Province of Toulouse friar with us on camp and for a few days afterwards — Br. Antoine, OP! The theme of this year’s camp was “An Amazing Adventure” with the scripture verse: If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another. – 1 John 1:7 

For more photos, see our 2019 Fanning the Flame Flickr Album.

A few days after summer camp finished, we went straight into our annual Cream Teas Garden Party preparation!  Thanks be to God, we still had Br. Antoine, OP with us to help us with baking and overall good cheer!  We made a tonne of scones and sold out of all our fruit ones!  We know for next year to do quite a bit more of those!

SEPTEMBER

Now, September was absolutely INCREDIBLE!  So, so, so many graces and blessings abounded!  The first of many was the beautiful gift of three postulants on the 7th of September!

Pictured from L-R: Ciara (Ireland), Hannah (Canada), Lorraine (Ireland); Sr. Mary Benedicta (Postulant/Novice Mistress) standing behind.  Please keep our postulants in your prayers as they continue in their discernment of religious life with our community.

More photos HERE.

Literally a DAY after that (8th of September), we celebrated the Clothing in the Dominican Habit of the Novice Formerly-Known-As-Elena!

And now known as Sr. Lucy!  (Stay tuned for a post about her new name!  And just to say, her name patroness is most likely not who you think it is…. curious yet?)

More photos HERE.

Six days after Sr. Lucy’s clothing in the Dominican habit, we celebrated the First Profession of Sr. Carino on the Feast of the Exultation of the Cross – 14th September!  What a day!  We were blessed to share this day with Sr Carino’s family, as well as our guest celebrant and homilist, the newly ordained (only a week ordained at the time of the Profession) Fr. Toby Lees, OP!

For mroe photos, click here.

Then at the end of the month, our community oh-so-gladly welcomed our annual 8-day silent retreat!  This year our retreat was preached by Fr. Dominic Allain, a diocesan priest from the Archdiocese of Southwark and the international Pastoral Director for Grief to Grace Ministries.  The sisters were so grateful for his conferences and pastoral care, and we continue to pray for him and his ministry.  If you’re interested in reading some of his articles from the Catholic Herald, you can find them here.

OCTOBER

The major event for us in October was our annual Diocesan Day for Catechists held at St. John’s Cathedral in Portsmouth.  We had a full house and were delighted to have Fr. Mark Hogan (our Vicar for Evangelisation) give our keynote talk in the morning.

That was followed by time for networking, Holy Mass, lunch, workshops, and finally ending our day with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  All in all, it was a rather full day, but one that leaves (hopefully) leaves you feeling full of enthusiasm, appreciation, and hope as we continue working in the Lord’s vineyard!

NOVEMBER

November was a rather packed month as well, namely by our annual Amata Dei discernment retreat, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Market preparation!

For our annual Amata Dei retreat we were blessed to have five incredible young ladies join us for the weekend.  Originally, the retreat was fully booked, but a few ladies weren’t able to make it; God willing, they’ll be visiting next year!

Please keep these ladies in your prayers as they continue to discern our Lord’s will for them.  (Also, a few of our sisters aren’t pictured here as they were attending the Diocesan Youth Sunday events at Portsmouth Cathedral.  And the fifth young lady had an orchestra concert to play in.)

Thanksgiving! Even though we are an English congregation of Dominicans, we are quite international! We celebrate Thanksgiving with our American sister and enjoy a gorgeous feast thanking God for all His blessings upon us this year! There was much cooking and baking!

Thanksgiving preparation – Green Bean Casserole!  Classic American recipe!  Yum!

Our chaplain, Fr. Richard, joined us for Thanksgiving — with fond memories of his Thanksgiving spent in the U.S. when he was “on loan” on the west coast!

We were also joined by Fr. David O’Sullivan – a dear friend of our community.  Here he is getting to know our Irish postulants.  Much laughter and joy was shared!

Three days later, we had our Christmas Market!  Let’s just say there was A LOT of baking in this priory!

“Happiness is a freshly baked cookie in one hand and a cup of tea in the other.” – Sr Lucy

Despite being a somewhat seemingly slow day for our Christmas Market, we enjoyed the day, met a lot of new people, chatted with some good friends, and were able to raise a bit over £1,000 towards our future Novitiate Wing.  (See more info here about our convent needs.)  A few photos from our Christmas Market on 30th November:

Our amazing pizza crew!

Alrighty, that’s going to be it for now — hope you’ve made it through this post, enjoyed your lovely cuppa, and hope you’ll be back to check out our next update post: December – Deck the Halls!

There shouldn’t be as big of a gap between news updates for future posts…  God willing, our website will be functioning properly from now on.  (Yes, we’re praying!)