Houston Dominicans Celebrate a Beloved Tradition

The Dominican Sisters of Houston revive a beloved Christmas tradition.

The Dominican Sisters of Houston have revived a long-cherished custom: the singing of the chant Verbum caro factum est de virgine Maria. 

In decades past, the beautiful melody would waft across the chapel before Midnight Mass. 

For a long time after, it remained only a silent memory.

Over the years, a number of sisters expressed the wish to sing it again. Finally, thanks to a combined effort, it became a reality. On December 28, the feast of the Holy Innocents—a significant date in the history of the Dominican Sisters of Houston—the congregation once again sang the beloved service. 

Also in keeping with the Holy Innocents tradition, the evening concluded with entertainment. In times past, the novices and postulants prepared a skit for the enjoyment of the professed sisters. 

This time the evening featured a piece written by Sister Benignus Galiano (who recently celebrated her 100th birthday). The presentation, titled “Creation Anew,” had a Christmas tie-in.  

The play was written a few decades ago, and all the original participants are now deceased. 

Technology to the rescue! Where once the parts (birds, fish, sky, etc.) had been taken by sisters, now they were represented by animation, thanks to the talents of the youngest Houston Dominican, Sister Kelly Biddle.

And the congregational archivist, Laura Grove, supplied photos of all the original cast members, making for a grand trip down memory lane. 

The evening was capped off with Christmas petit fours and—what else?—egg nog!