Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Visiting Friars: Fr. Thomas Crean, OP

We had the special joy of visiting with Fr. Thomas Crean, OP in the parlor last night! Fr. Thomas is a Dominican friar of the English Province who has been visiting Lufkin in order to celebrate the wedding Mass of the sister of one of our nuns here at the Monastery. This is his first visit to the United States and while he hasn't done much sight-seeing he has sampled many of the local delicacies (barbeque, anyone?). Fr. Thomas is currently studying at the International Theological Institute in Austria. He also holds a degree from Oxford and has also spent time at Cambridge, where some of us were delighted to learn he met (and actually had lunch with) the philosopher Elizabeth Anscombe! Fr. Thomas is also a published author, and at least two of his books--God Is No Delusion, an answer to Richard Dawkins, and The Mass and the Saints are available in America from Ignatius Press. We had a lovely visit with Fr. Thomas and while it seems unlikely he will ever find his way to Lufkin again, one never knows what the future may hold! (And by the way, his patron is St. Thomas Aquinas!)

Friday, October 24, 2014

Dominican Rite Mass in Lufkin


We had the rare privilege of a Dominican Rite Mass celebrated in our monastery today! The celebrant was Fr. Thomas Crean, OP, a Dominican friar from England (we hope to bring you more on him soon). It was a low Mass, but we did sing the Sanctus and Agnus Dei, as well as a communion hymn and a closing hymn--this last because of course we have exposition of the Blessed Sacrament after Mass each day until about 8 PM when we have Benediction. A friend of Fr. Thomas from England was the very capable server and (fortunately for us) said all the responses. For those who don't know, the Dominican Rite Mass is always in Latin because it was suppressed after the changes of Vatican II and never adapted into the vernacular.  However, after the Tridentine Mass was allowed again, so too were other Latin Rite Masses, including this one. Until the late 1960s we had the Dominican Rite Mass in our monastery, so there were some sisters who remembered when to kneel, when to stand, etc., and were able to give the rest of us a little prompting when needed! Our altar is situated in the center of our sanctuary, so it was easy for Father to celebrate Mass facing east. If you are interested in the Dominican Rite, we urge you to check out the Dominican Liturgy blog here. There are also videos and other resources you can explore! We don't know when or if we will have Mass in Latin again here, but it was certainly a wonderful event--and a pleasure to experience the traditional Dominican Rite Mass which many of us here have heard about but never actually attended. Deo gratias!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Thank You, Father Mark Padrez, OP!

Our retreat officially ended this morning, and we are happy to tell you it was really excellent. Of course the Holy Spirit guides every retreat, but we also give thanks to our great retreat master, Fr. Mark Padrez, OP!

Fr. Mark in the Gate Parlor

Fr. Mark gave us ten conferences on growing in holiness through the virtues, and everyone (including Father!) seemed to really enjoy them. We also had some "quiet days" for reflection during our retreat, which we always appreciate. Now we return to regular life (and work!) on this beautiful feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. We thank everyone who prayed for us during our retreat. Please know that we were praying for all of you as well! And of course we continue to do so, always...

We wish Fr. Mark all the best as he continues his work in the western province--and we hope he will be able to return someday to our monastery. We're keeping that intention in our prayers as well!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Check out the Fall Newsletter!

The Fall issue of Monastery Bells is in the mail! If you'd like to read it--or get a preview if you receive it by snail mail--please click here. This issue contains some things that have never been seen before now so do take a look!

We'll be officially out of retreat tomorrow--stay tuned for news about our retreat!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Annual Retreat 2014

 
An image from the wooded area inside our monastic enclosure

This evening we begin our annual community retreat! Our retreat master this year is Fr. Mark Padrez, OP, provincial of the Dominican Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (also known more informally as the Western Province). We are excited about his coming as we have never met him before, but we have heard many good things about him and look forward to his retreat conferences! Please check back to find out more about the retreat and other news of what's happening here!