Thursday, December 6, 2018

Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas!

 Chuc Mung 
Giang Sinh! 

Joyeux Noel!



Nakutakia
 Krismasi Njema!




From the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate 
     Phuong, Rolande, Cathy, and Lorraine
















Sunday, November 18, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving !



Thanksgiving Day is the time to remind one another of the many reasons to be grateful. As we celebrate Thanksgiving Day, we give thanks and rejoice in the Lord who has blessed each of us with so much and in so many ways. Also, I am reminded that the word thanksgiving is composed of two words “thanks” and giving.” Through the Holiday of Thanksgiving we are reminded to give thanks, and to give.

Early this month, on November 1st, the ICN “Inter Community Novitiate” gathered to celebrate “All Saints’ Day” in honor of all the saints, known and unknown. Ten days later, at the CDN, we celebrated the birthday of Sister Cathy, one of the co-directors. She shared with us that, at every celebration for each decade of her life, she took a moment to reflect on all the graces that she had received in the last decade.





Through our classes at Aquinas, the ICN, our panel discussions, and other social gatherings, I have been building intimacy in my relationship with God, and through encounters with others. These gatherings have allowed me to share special moments such as stories, meals or just having deep conversations. In our discussions, we always experience laughter, warmth and love.






Now, I pause for a few moments to take time to pray, reflect on my life and give thanks. I give thanks for the graces of God, for the gifts of my family, for the friends and for my loved ones.  Especially, I give thanks for my co-directors and co-novice at the CDN, the novices and novice directors at the ICN, and for those who have been a part of my life, sharing their faith and lives with me during this novitiate year. I am thankful to God and to all who have prayed and supported us these past months in various ways. 


In the spirit of Thanksgiving, please receive from the community at the CDN our gratitude and warmest wishes for a peaceful day. We hope that you have a very blessed and happy Thanksgiving.


























































































































































































































































































Sunday, November 4, 2018

OUR HALLOWEEN PUMPKIN


                                                              
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hat made special our Halloween celebration was the carving and exchange of pumpkins among our intercommunity novitiate congregations. We carved our pumpkins and exchanged them.  The pumpkin we received as a community was carved by the Daughters of Charity.  For me, its meaning and the way it appears, reminds me of the meaning of the life of Jesus given to us through love, and which we share with our beloved departed. 

The bright light which we see through the pumpkin is itself a symbol of resurrection.






May we always see life, love, light and hope in our Halloween,
All Saints, and
All Souls Celebrations.

Monday, October 22, 2018

To Be A Novice

All of the novices in the Inter Community Novitiate (ICN) recently came together to participate in the planning and preparation for a mass celebrated during one of our meetings. The entire process was mainly devoted to celebrating our cultural diversity, and we had an explosion of willingness to share and to learn from each other, especially as we discerned how to pray within our preferred worshiping styles. I must admit that we even surprised ourselves with how well we came together since most of the preparation was done separately then brought together in a single hour, which certainly required trust among all of us. We brought items (cloths, statues, flags, etc.) that represented our culture, using it to create the environment in front of the altar. We sang the Gloria in Bemba, the language of indigenous people of Zambia. We represented seven different languages (English, Spanish, Vietnamese, French, Tonga, Mandarin, and Tagalog) in the readings and intercessions. We celebrated through dance during the offertory with a song in Swahili. We did all this in a spirit of prayer, of ministry, and of joy. It truly was an intercultural image of being Church – in fact, it was our own way of being a witness to the mission of God.


Every time we gather for the ICN, we take part in a shared path of formation through a spirit of community and of study. We share our charism as the novices from each congregation in the ICN are given an opportunity to present their congregational history and mission. We share at table with good food, good company, fun conversations, and much laughter. We share our stories and experiences as we engage in discussion on the topics of personal and communal discernment, Enneagram types, transition and the movement to our true self, communication skills in community and in our congregational charism, communal theological reflection in a parabolic mode (using the lens of the parables), and the journey to interculturality for Jesus, for us, and for our congregations. Each topic has challenged us and encouraged us as we walk this sacred journey to personal and communal growth. Yes, our ICN days are quite full, and there are more topics to come that will continue to challenge us (and hopefully encourage us) to go even deeper into awareness, freedom, and growth.


I am blessed to belong to this company of novices. We are novices still discovering our identities in religious life and in our own congregations – still discovering how to live our call to religious life and how to do so through our congregational charism and mission. With so much work ahead of us, at least we have discovered each other as companions on this formation journey. We have discovered the blessing of cultural diversity, the value of collaboration, and the support of friendship in the family of religious women and men.
Until next time, please pray for us and all novices around the world. 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

MEET THE YOUNG PREACHERS!


We are very privileged to be reflecting about our call to preach as Dominicans and most importantly as baptized Christians. 

At the beginning of our Preaching class at Aquinas, we were given an assignment to write a paragraph and share with others about our preaching vocation. I believe, that as a baptized person, I am called to preach the good news of Jesus Christ to others. This is a call from Jesus himself when he says in the scriptures, "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations... teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20). 

While reflecting on this call, I have come to realize that my missionary and preaching vocation are intertwined. One of my classmates shared this: “I see myself as one who has known God in Jesus Christ and has been transformed by his love, and who seeks to help others to encounter God in a similar way that they may be converted even as I am being converted. I find that the Dominican motto, ‘To contemplate and to share with others the fruits of contemplation’ constantly explains and enriches this identity for me.”

We are constantly reminded by Fr. Gregory Heille, OP, about how we, as preachers, are growing as good proclaimers of the Word in our communities and how we are proclaiming the scriptures in ways which communicate the Word of God meaningfully to the listeners. We are learning that one of the most important approaches to proclaiming the Word effectively is pausing and phrasing at the natural and logical places.  There is a meaning which is conveyed while pausing. For instance, are we aware that these two sentences below (Luke 23:23) have completely two different meanings which can raise some theological concerns?

Jesus answered him, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise."

Jesus answered him, "Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in paradise."

If the reader uses the comma as the place for pausing, we will discover that the sentence has two different meanings. Hence, as proclaimers of the Word, we have to bear in mind that we are mediators of meaning to the listeners. We can’t go without mentioning other elements like voicing and clarity of diction from the reader. They also carry a lot of meanings.
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All in all, as young preachers, we are still struggling in our preparations for preaching especially when it comes to considering this puzzle: ‘’WHAT, SO WHAT, AND NOW WHAT?’’  We are convinced that, as we are being trained as preachers of the Word, we are also being trained to preach with our daily actions.


Sunday, October 7, 2018

Growing Together in the Dominican Family

As part of the novitiate experience, novices visit Dominican Congregations in the United States to learn more about the communities.

Last week, we went to visit the Dominican Sisters of Springfield Illinois at their Motherhouse. We also had a day of reflection with Sister Sharon  Zayac who taught us about the Universe story. The Sisters embraced us with open arms and made us feel like family. I was so moved when I heard the Sisters tell us, “You are our novices, you are all welcome to visit us anytime here.” The Sisters invited us to pray, have meals with them, and gave us a tour of their house. I felt very close and connected. I came to understand more about the relationship with our other Dominican Congregations as a family, and how we support each other, especially the novices at the CDN.


I am so grateful to receive the love from the Springfield Sisters, and this reminds me how I want to live in the CDN as a family during my novitiate year. It also reminds me of the image I saw at Jubilee Farm with big trees providing shade for plants and flowers, and the flowers and plants needing shade to grow. All the big trees, plants, wild flowers, and native flowers are growing together to make the field beautiful.

Two months ago, each Novice took the soil from the ground of her Motherhouse and planted the three different plants into one large planter as a living symbol of this new beginning for our CDN community. Now the plants are in the same soil, receive the same water, lean in the same way toward the same sun.
Look at the planter today. Although they are different, they still grow, and survive! Our lives as novices in the CDN are like the plants in the planter in the way we lean together to walk in the path of becoming a Dominican.

Please continue to keep us in your prayers. I am deeply grateful for your prayers and support; we hold you in our hearts and prayers. 


Healing the Whole


“Let us be united,
Let us speak in harmony;
Let our minds apprehend alike.
Common be our prayer;
Common be the end of our assembly;
Common be our resolution;
Common be our deliberations.
Alike be our feelings,
Unified be our hearts;
Common be our intentions;
Perfect be our unity”

            From The Rig Veda, Earth prayers from around the World.   


Sunday, September 30, 2018

Life Through A Camera _ September 2018

We are definitely creating memories together whether on the road or at home. Here's a glimpse of how we continue to build our community life!

Traveling to Kentucky


We were welcomed to St. Catherine Motherhouse by our Sisters of Peace.
We explored their farm and took home enough beef to last us the whole year.



 What else did we do? 
Walked through the Shaker Village (they didn't smile in pictures)
Prayed with the monks at the Abbey of Gethsemani and visited Thomas Merton's grave
Learned Dominican history at St. Rose Priory Church




Having Too Much Fun

Crokinole = a Canadian board game
By the end of the year, we may be good enough to compete in a professional tournament.



Balloon Glow = grounded hot air balloons + night time + all lit up at the same time



St. Louis Cardinals versus L.A. Dodgers
 (Dodgers won!)





Inter Community Novitiate


We really wanted to take a group picture so we took one as it was beginning to rain. 
We seem to like each other.




We are novices from: 
Adorers of the Blood of Christ
Collaborative Dominican Novitiate
Congregation of Mary, Queen of the World
Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul
Oblates of Mary Immaculate
Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, Houston
Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio
Sisters of Mercy
Sisters of Providence


Until next time...
remember us in your prayer
as we remember to take pictures to share.