Sunday, December 14, 2008

Life has been so busy...


A combined school photo of St Dominic's and St Augustine's

Life has been so busy at St Dominic’s School and Convent I scarcely know where to begin or how to condense the information into a short article. Well, no better time to start than the present. I will begin with a pleasurable trip to the Chocolate Factory, which involved the Form 1 & 2 girls and boys, Fr Kurtz, Sister Rose and a kind parent who provided transport for the boys. This little trip was paid by the school since both classes raised the highest amount in each school at our recent Skate-a-thon fundraiser. After Mass and a hearty breakfast, the girls jumped into the convent car with Sister Rose at the wheel, while the boys leapt into a big red transit van with a determined Fr Kurtz at the front. Leaving from the Church at 8.15am it took us about 2 hours to reach the Chocolate Factory.



A jolly lady greeted us at the Factory, gave us what resembled shower caps to wear, then asked us to rub our hands together with some anti-septic spray – everything was done in a highly professional manner. We were given very interesting details – from how to make easter eggs and chocolates with soft centers, to how they package each individual chocolate. It was most enjoyable.



The best part was the end when we were able to TASTE-TEST some of the products and explore their shop. I was particularly excited to find some “sticky specials” for $1. This included a bag of soft centre honey chocolates, which normally would have been $5 for a bag.





Lunch consisted of Pizza and little fizzy drinks, kindly supplied by Fr Kurtz and then we were off to a Car Museum, which was very fascinating. Well worth the journey.





The next day after the little school trip, was all hands on deck to get ready for our end of year prize giving. There were singing practices, props to be made, lines to learn, prizes to arrange etc.


Learning lines...


Making props...


Prayers said outside after a big clean-up!

The effort paid off. The girls sang beautifully under the direction of our Music teacher, Mrs Borberg and the girls had even organized a little song of their own, in French I might add, which was accompanied by one of our students, Mirae Kim. Next was a little Greek myth “Perseus & Medusa” which was dramatized by our French teacher Mr Hays, who unfortunately could not be with us on the night as he was in hospital. The formal part of the evening consisted in a humorous speech by our Mother Superior and engaging speeches by Fr Laisney and our Valedictorian Maria Petersen.


Maria Petersen

Towards the end, our teachers who were in academic dress and the Sisters in their cappas ascended the stage for the actual handing out of prizes. It was most pleasing to see girls who had put in a good year's work go up and receive their reward. Towards the end, everyone was on the edge of their seats wondering who would be Dux. This year it was two girls – Maria Devine and Julia Kelly, whose final scores were so close we couldn’t bear to give it to one without the other. There was thunderous applause as both girls came up to receive their prizes.

We also had a special guest from Massey University who was there to award high achiever scholarships to two of our pupils – Julia Kelly and Adelaide Png. He made the comment that we should be proud of the fact that Massey had given two big scholarships to such a small school.

In fact the school has done very well this year – Virginie Mathey achieved top of the world in French and Julia Kelly won a Film Contest, for which she was awarded an IMAC computer for the school.


Julia presenting the new computer.

At the very end, the students presented a little gift to the Sisters – a beautiful sign which is now out the front so that whoever passes by will see the “Veritas” logo and below “St Dominic’s Convent and Girls’ School.


Our new sign

The next day, Mother and Sister Madeleine were off to Australia to do a little mission in Tynong after Society Priests had asked them to come over to promote the religious life and to foster vocations and to look at “possible” sites for a second foundation, however, we will have to see what God wills for our community. I am sure they will write more on their trip later.


...various presentation evenings.


Meanwhile, Sister Catherine was left to look after the remaining Sisters and postulants. On the 8th December, the feast of the Immaculate Conception and a big day for our convent – our 6th birthday, we had a very active day.



It began with Office and Mass, which included a Franciscan Profession and then after a short practice we sang some special songs at the 10am Sung Mass. The Sisters have recently formed a little polyphony choir and this was our little d├ębut. A little nervous, we sang “O Gloriosa Virginum” and the “Sicut Cervus”. With what little time we had left in the morning, the Sisters decorated the staffroom to celebrate our birthday and we had a lovely lunch together.



The next week we were off to New Plymouth to visit a “free” zoo and a beautiful park. It was a most enjoyable day, however, since I am running out of room I will let the pictures tell the story.


...at the zoo


The sisters prayed Sext and had morning tea at the lake.


Admiring the beautiful flower gardens...


... last look at the mountain before we head back home.

At present we are living a more contemplative life in preparation for Christmas. After a busy school year, it is wonderful to be able to spend some extra time in meditation and have the time to do extra spiritual reading. We also have Latin lessons, lectures from Mother and daily chant practices in preparation for the sung offices and the beautiful “O Antiphons”.



Our little novice is busy constructing the crib for this year’s nativity scene and by the looks of things, it will be a marvel – I wish you all a happy and very holy Christmas.