A sermon preached at Vespers for the Opening of the Academic Year at Fisher House, the Roman Catholic Chaplaincy to the University of Cambridge by Sr Ann Catherine Swailes o.p.
A Dominican and a Carmelite walk into a bar…
This isn’t the opening line of a terrible joke, but an invitation to a kind of thought experiment for the opening of the academic year. Those of you who are new to Cambridge will doubtless have been bombarded already with well-meaning, and more or less helpful, advice about what to expect from your time here and how to make the most of it. Some of this will have been in official induction sessions in college or faculty, but more useful information is often communicated in more informal settings.
PART II of the clothing ceremony
After the reception of the habit and greetings by the Prioress General & the Community:
Having come this far I commit you now to the care of your novice mistress Sister Angela Mary who will assist you in adapting to our Dominican way of life by studying and observing the Rule and Constitutions.
However, I cannot let the saint of the day go unmentioned because St Vincent de Paul has a timely message for novices and all of us, especially as regards the priority of charity.
by Sr M. Pauline Burling (Prioress General of our Congregation)
PART I:Address to the novices to be at the beginning of the Clothing Ceremony.
“If anyone wants to be a follower of mine let him renounce himself (herself) and take up his cross and follow me. For anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, will save it.” (Mark 8:34/5)
Postulants kneel 'What do you seek?' 'Gods mercy and yours.'
On 12 September you entered our Novitiate House formally prior to receiving the Dominican habit. In bygone decades you would have been called postulants because during these 15 days of preparation - much shortened, of course, when compared to 6 (9) months some of us present had. Hopefully with the graces received, and possibly increased during your retreat, you may be even more resolved to ask (postulate) for the Dominican habit and thereby start the Novitiate proper.
A reflection by Sr Valery Walker
JOHN 6.60 – 69 Ben Ant. Sunday 21 “To whom shall we go, Lord? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and we know that you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Alleluiah! Our Lord says in today’s Gospel, “It is the Spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer.” And yet in last week’s Gospel we heard him say, “ If you do not eat the flesh of the Son of man …you will not have life in you.” Clearly, therefore, since the flesh offers life, but it is the Spirit that gives life, we must hold “flesh” and “Spirit” together and understand that by this union something new is brought about.