In the Trinidad and Tobago branch of the Irish Province, there has always been extensive collaboration between the various members of the Dominican Family, especially between the friars and contemplative nuns of Rosary Monastery.
|Renessa Tang Packis presented as Sr Mary Magdalen by Rosary Monastery Prioress Sr Ann (Bradshaw), as Fr Stanislaw Gurgul OPand Fr Thomas Lawson OP look on.|
|Dominican Nuns of Rosary Monastery with Dominican friars of the Irish Province. Photo by Dominican aspirant Sean Crepin.|
There is a history of mutual support that stems from since 1874 when the first nuns, as refugees from Venezuela, were welcomed to Trinidad by the diocesan authorities and the Dominican Fathers. The Dominican friars did all they could to make their adjustment smooth. Here is an example of the support received in the words of a past Prioresss of Rosary Monastery, "The only consolation we knew in those dark days came to us through the Dominican Fathers. They protected us, and gave us all the spiritual assistance of which we were in need. All this was done at great personal sacrifice caused by their innumerable duties and the distance of our Convent from the heart of the city. The edifying example of such good religious was a powerful means of sustaining us in such a long and difficult trial…" – The Sisters of the Holy Order of Preachers in Trinidad by Fr Bertrand Cothonay OP(1891). Moreover, past Archbishops who belonged to the Order who lent great support to the fledgling community include Archbishop Patrick Vincent Flood OP, Archbishop John Pius Dowling, and Count Finbar Ryan OP.
This legacy of generosity of the early friars in Trinidad continues more than a century later. Over the years, we have had excellent chaplains like Fr Paschal Tiernan OP and Fr Brendan Clifford OP. Our more recent chaplains, Frs Karol Wielgosz and Stanislaw Gurgul OP, have continued in this pattern of generous service. Last year, we at Rosary Monastery were blessed to have ex- Provincial Fr Pat Lucey OP as our official visitator; he also generously helped to build up our formation resources. Fr Vincent Travers OP also visited, sharing with us his insights and his writings and taking a kind interest in our community. To end off the year we were graced by an inspiring talk on the Year of Faith by Fr Ferdinand Warner OP.
On April 7, 2013, the Octave of Easter and Divine Mercy Sunday there was a wonderful show of support from our brothers as five from the community attended the clothing ceremony of our novice Renessa Tang Pack, now Sr Mary Magdalen of the Resurrection. During Vespers, Fr Stan gave a short homily on the goals of the novitiate, then he and Fr Thomas Lawson OP stood by to bless the scapular and rosary before Sr Ann clothed our novice with them. It was truly delightful having our brothers in St Dominic chant Divine Office with us and we got some inkling of how life at the time of the founding of Prouilhe may have been. The date of the ceremony also had special significance for our Polish brothers of the Irish Province, Fr Stan and Fr Karol, since it was the feast day of the devotion spread by one of their national saints Sr Faustina.
A million thanks to all our brothers for their spiritual and moral support and to those who attended our most recent ceremony, Fr Stan and Fr Lawson, and also Fr Karol and Sean Crepin, our official photographers of the day.