Day 6 NYC – Soap Sisters, Stollen, and Soup Dumplings – ACTION ITEM!

I had a great road trip today.  Finally I was able to trek out into the darkest depths of New Jersey to find the Summit Dominicans, the famous “Soap Sisters” about whom I’ve written often. Your job, after reading what follows, is to go to the site of the Soap Sisters and order as much stuff as you can afford.


I get this stuff for my mother.

They mentioned that they are going to shut down their website tomorrow sometime, I believe, to get ready for Christmas, so GET WITH IT!

First, to fortify myself before the voyage, some panetone for breakfast with strong coffee.  The panetone were shipped to me here by a Madisonian and they are being shared with the priests in the rectory.


Off we go!


There’s a reason why you need to see this shot here.


How would you like to have this job?


The monastic complex that the sisters have right in Summit, NJ, is way to small.  They are raising money, through donations and through the sales of their products, to build another urgently needed wing.


They had Benediction going on, the wall in the sanctuary is the divider also for the cloister’s chapel.


Outside the parlor (“parlor”, a place where people parley… talk), they have their products on display and for sale.


The sisters came swarming into the parlor. They removed a few of the screens and wheeled in some Christmas Stollen and coffee, both delicious.   Did you know that the history of Stollen is tied up with the history of the Advent fast and butter?  Several Popes were involved in this.  It seems that the first generation of Stollen was made during the Council of Trent.   I’ll let you look up the rest.


One member of the community came rushing in, creating a bit of a stir as all the sisters rushed to protect the coffee and cake.  Eventually, they showed us how Sabina also can demonstrate the “venia”, lying prostrate and still on the floor until someone knocks.


With the sisters. They were very kind and gave me and my driver gift baskets.  The conversation was great.  I am super impressed with this community.   They all seemed very happy.  There were some pretty funny moments.  One of the sisters, recently clothed, explained how, during her clothing she punched the Prioress in the face.  And there was the tale of the first tea stain on her scapular, at which the other sisters said “Yay!”  It must be a badge of nun honor.

BTW… they need another Vietnamese sister… who can cook.   So… anyone?


Then it was back to Manhattan and lunch.


There is a Michelin 1-star Chinese place in Midtown.  Sort of like Z cat-nip.

Cucumbers in garlic.


Double-cooked pork, in honor of ISIS.


Kung Pao Chicken, without the nasty breading.


Lamb in cumin.


Xiao Long Bao… but, frankly, not as good as the place in Queens.  I can’t imagine those being surpassed.


On the way home, we were treated to this giant rat.  Apparently rats are against asbestos.


Each time I come to this city, I try to get a good shot of a rat in the subway.  Everyone needs a hobby.


Which brings me to the now famous NY subway “Pizza Rat”

Yes, it’s a metaphor for life.

More later…

For now, your job is to go to the site of the Soap Sisters and order as much stuff as you can afford.  NOW.  Click HERE.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in ACTION ITEM!, Just Too Cool, On the road, The Campus Telephone Pole, What Fr. Z is up to and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. APX says:

    Their lavender facial bar and facial moisturizer are most wonderful, as is their peppermint foot cream especially after a long day of being on your feet all day.

    I’m too poor right now, but I do plan on ordering some beeswax tapers in January so I have them for Candlemas.

  2. Woody79 says:

    I’ve seen bigger rats in Chicago.

  3. Imrahil says:

    re Stollen:

    It sometimes raises astonishment when we Catholic cultures start to do some abstinence – and the outcome is: pancakes, kaiserschmarren (in some localities the traditional friday dishes), pasta, gingerbread, pretzel (which has its cross-shape for this reason), chocolate, tempura (of Japanese Catholics) and so on and so forth. Plus, of course, the traditional strong beer (and in Advent, it seems, the mulled wine) once we really start to get serious about it…

    “When ye fast, do not make a sad face.”

  4. AlexandraNW says:

    Thank you for sharing the sights from your trip, Father, and thank you for urging us to check out the Sisters’ online shop. I was delighted to see that they sell 100% beeswax candles. Order placed!

  5. ChesterFrank says:

    The inflatable asbestos rat is a Union Rat.

  6. benedetta says:

    How lovely to hear of your visit with the Dominican Sisters in NJ and see their delightful faces! The photos from visit to ny rat photojournalism is a study in contrasts…

    For those who are getting with it in time for their annual shop closure, I highly recommend the very festive Medieval animals goat milk soap set:

  7. capchoirgirl says:

    Yes! Buy as much as you can afford! The Christmas soap–Natale–is AMAZING! I always stock up every year.
    Such a wonderful group of sisters, and their monastery is beautiful.

  8. It looks as though Fr. Z has found one of the few places within two hours of my home where Sunday Mass is offered and I have not been there. I may want to save Summit for spring or summer though. Right now I would probably have to leave around 6 AM to get there by 7:30 AM, and it is still dark at this time of year. They will see me one day, though; I am grateful for this news.

  9. Jenson71 says:

    Refreshing and hopeful to hear about a monastery that is too small for its religious. Thanks for the link showing your previous posts. I had missed them previously and will have to read the September NY Times feature on the nuns. Great stuff, and now I have a Christmas gift for my mom.

  10. jherforth says:

    God bless these sisters! And thanks to Fr Z for introducing me to their soaps. I bought a bunch last Christmas as stocking stuffers for my wife and she is absolutely hooked on their soaps. She says that their soaps are the best face wash that she’s ever used.

  11. Out of curiosity, was the restaurant Lan Sheng?

  12. VexillaRegis says:

    Stollen! I bought us two of them yesterday from a German baker. Mmmmm!!!

  13. Mariana2 says:

    I have a suspicion that monasteries with dogs are the best. There is Hilda at Silverstream Priory, and now this doggy!

    I’d kiss the hem of the person who could direct me to gluten free Stollen and panettone!

  14. robtbrown says:

    For those who have an ALDI grocery store within reach, they will sell stollen every year beginning in Advent (including cherry stollen). Also Panettone.

  15. The Masked Chicken says:

    “When ye fast, do not make a sad face.”

    Make a pancake face, with M &M s…or a stollen smile or a garlic giggle.

    The Chicken

  16. NBW says:

    The food looks wonderful! I expected New York rats to be bigger.

  17. Café China on East 37th Street.

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