Saturday Evening Vespers with Dominican Nuns

One of the joys of travelling for me is taking advantage of the many (seemingly hidden) convents, monasteries, cloisters, and the like where I can pray the Liturgy of the Hours in community. I used to travel frequently for business, and one of the perks was exploring the richness of prayer by visiting communities such as the Holy Spirit Sisters in St. Louis, the Georgetown Visitation Monastery, the Dominican House of Studies near the national basilica, and more. These wonderful houses of prayer often lie hidden–but fortunately a quick GoogleMaps search quickly turns them up 🙂

This past week I had the pleasure of visiting the cloistered Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of the Blessed Sacrament  in Farmington Hills, Michigan for Saturday evening vespers.

The nuns did a lovely job making sung evening prayer accessible to the random visitor. The few sisters on the outside of the cloister greeted myself, my husband, and our 6 month old son (as well as the one other visitor) and made sure we had the right books to participate. During the prayers, one even checked back a few times to make sure our bookmarks were in the right place. It wasn’t a suffocating amount of attention, but just enough to make sure we could participate vocally as much as desired without being confused by the particular details of chant tones, prayers, etc. that individual communities often develop.

And then, the best surprise–preaching! Now, I’m not sure if they always preach at evening prayer or just on the eve of Sundays/solemnities, but one of the nuns gave a homily of about 10 minutes. Since she was behind the cloister, we could not see her…but her gentle, reflective style of preaching was spiritually moving to listen to. It was a mediative style that wove the Gospel reading of the next day, with the evening psalms, with touches of Pope Francis’ encyclical Lumen Fidei woven in.

While there are many reasons to promote the communal praying of the Liturgy of the Hours in parish life, I think the opportunity for preaching from the community to come forth is quite a compelling one.

2 thoughts on “Saturday Evening Vespers with Dominican Nuns

  1. Hi. Sorry, I couldn’t tell where you’re located but could you tell me of anywhere in South Bend, IN that regularly prays the liturgy of the hours?



    • Hi Amy,

      I used to live in South Bend, so I’m happy to be able to pass along some tips for that area 🙂

      –Sunday Evening Vespers are held at 7:15 at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on Notre Dame’s campus (academic year only). This is a beautiful, sung vespers w/ candles. No preaching however…but the music is provided by various liturgical music ensembles on campus and is top-notch. This is “cathedral style” in that it chooses from, rather than exactly replicates, the Book of Christian Prayer.
      –Thursday Night Prayer is held at 9 pm in Moreau Seminary (also during the academic year only). Moreau Seminary is located on Douglas Rd. This is sung and includes candles and preaching by the temporarily professed seminarians. This is “cathedral style” in that it chooses from, rather than exactly replicates, the Book of Christian Prayer.
      –St. Matthew Cathedral Parish (on Miami BLVD) occasionally does a mostly spoken evening prayer. All Souls Day and Our Lady of Guadalupe come to mind as times of the year that they do this. It is a non-adapted version (aka exactly from the Book of Christian Prayer).
      –The Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (on Dragoon Trail) pray the Hours daily, and many are open to the public.



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