Two of my friends and I made a whirlwind trip to Washington, D.C. over the past weekend for Dominican ordinations. We were in town Thursday-Saturday afternoon, and a lot of that was spent with the Dominicans, so this isn’t a typical travel post, but, like the others, I do note where we stayed and what we did, so you can do the same when you’re in D.C., if you’re so inclined. (Every place I mention that’s bolded is linked at the bottom of the post)
First off, we had amazing weather. It was in the 70s and just perfect. No rain, no clouds–perfect. Which was good, because we did a lot of walking and being outside!
We stayed at the Doubletree Hotel on Scott Circle, near Embassy Row. This worked out really well because they had great valet parking, and we were very close to the Dominican House of Studies (DHS), which is where a lot of the weekend activities were going to be happening. Scott Circle is in the residential part of D.C. We were pretty far past the usual tourist places (the Capitol, the Smithsonians, the White House, etc.), so it was also fairly quiet and not touristy, which was nice. Also–chocolate chip cookies when you check in to the hotel. WIN. Our room was perfectly adequate for three people, even if the bathroom did get crowded in the mornings with three women using it. 🙂
On Thursday afternoon after checking in, we went to the DHS for the Office of Readings and Vespers, and then went to dinner at the Potbelly Sandwich Works on Monroe Avenue, down the street from the DHS. The DHS is across the street from the Catholic University of America and the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The last time I was in their neighborhood (11 years ago), it was sort of scary after dark, but now it’s become really beautiful and here and there are all sorts of little shops and restaurants that have sprung up. Potbelly is one of them. Dinner was quick because we had to get the friars back for holy hour, which was at 7:00, and then compline right after. So most of the first day was spent entirely at the DHS. We got back to the hotel around nine.
The next morning was actual ordination day. The ordinations were held at St. Dominic’s Church in D.C. which is (duh) run by Dominicans.
The church was packed. I counted several religious orders in attendance: the Missionaries of Charity (yeah, that got me excited. Mother Teresa’s nuns! In person!), a Benedictine monk and nun, a Norbertine, a Sister of Life, and of course Dominicans, including the extern sister from the Summit Dominicans, Sr. Mary Magdalene, and Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist (Ann Arbor). The Mass was beautiful and was presided over by the Apostolic Nuncio (ambassador) to Ireland.
After Mass, we headed back to the DHS for the first party of the day. Their cloister garden was beautiful and the perfect setting for this.
After the lunch party, we headed to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, which is the national church for the United States, and is just amazing. Here I visited the shops and got some gifts, as well as books for me. Because, yes, a good Dominican loves bookstores, especially religious ones! I also visited the sanctuary to pray and light candles for people. It was also really cool to see the Jubilee Year doors (see below)–I’d never seen them in person before.
After the basilica, we had dinner at Busboys and Poets,which is basically my Dream Business. It’s a cafe and bookstore (the bookstore is stocked by Politics and Prose, which we visited the next day). The staff was super-friendly and the seating was eclectic (there were velvet chairs!) and comfortable. The food, by the way, was great. My burger was the Ideal Burger.
Dinner was followed by party two, which was less formal than the lunch party, at the DHS. The entertainment was provided by the student brothers’ jazz band, and drinks and h’ors d’oeuvres were served. The party went until 9:30, when Compline was said in the chapel, and I had a great time talking to one of the brothers about Jane and literature. Because that’s how I party, guys.
Saturday started with lauds and Mass at the DHS, followed by breakfast at Busboys and Poets again. I’m glad to report that breakfast was just as good as dinner had been. If I lived in this neighborhood, I’d be here all the time. It was so fun. There were a bunch of fathers having breakfast with their daughters, which was also adorable. We stopped back up at the DHS to say good-bye to the brothers, then headed the Franciscan Monastery on Quincy Street.
Guys–their garden is amazing. Seriously, it’s going to need its own post, so I can just do all photos of the amazing flowers. Around the garden was a walkway which had all the mysteries of the rosary done in mosaic, accompanied by the Haily Mary in just about every language ever known to man, including:
So–more on the Monastery later, I promise, because it was amazing. The garden alone made me want to be a Franciscan!
The monastery was followed by our final D.C. stop, Politics and Prose on Connecticut Ave., so I could sate my Independent Bookstore thirst. P&P is pretty famous in the D.C. area, and for good reason–it’s crazily well-stocked and has tons of author events (there was actually one going on when we were there), and has a book printing press, if you want to get your Great American Novel published. It’s two floors (with an elevator)–cafe, sale books, and kids’ books are on the lower level, and everything else is on the first floor. You will have to climb on the shelves to get certain books. It’s not a great place for short people, but the staff is very helpful! But I found two books about Jane, which made me very happy.
P&P was our last stop in D.C., and then we headed home. I told you–whirlwind trip. Not the typical travelogue for me.
Here are links to where we stayed, ate, shopped, and visited:
- Doubletree Hotel, 1515 Rhode Island Avenue NW
- Dominican House of Studies, 487 Michigan Avenue NE
- St. Dominic’s Church, 630 E Street SW
- Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 400 Michigan Avenue
- Busboys and Poets, 625 Monroe Street E
- Franciscan Monastery, 1400 Quincy Street NE
- Politics and Prose, 5051 Connecticut Avenue NW