Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Lovely Lilies

This year on the Feast of the Ascension and Mother's Day we feel like Easter is just beginning. There are bundles of lilies all over the place - indoors and outside!!

If you like the traditional white Easter lilies we have a simple way to increase your bounty. Lilies are perennials, meaning they grow every year. Each year when the lilies from the Chapel after Easter have died, several Sisters vie to get the "dead" ones. We just plant them outside in our gardens, or you can plant them in flower pots, as our sacristan did last year. Then, the next year at the appointed time, up come your new lilies. Unfortunately, they do not bloom in time for Easter, at least in East Texas, but they usually appear in time for Pentecost (late May or early June).

This year our Chapel has a large renewal of Easter lilies! There are many in the gardens and others have been cut for various shrines around the property. Any gardener knows that there are "good years" and "not so good" years. Last year was a "not so good" year, but that makes this year double the beauty with bumper crops of lilies. We enjoy their beauty and fragrant aroma.

Praise the Lord! He is Risen!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

May is for Mary

Today is the first day of May and we begin our special community devotions to Mary for all our relatives, friends, and benefactors, and their intentions.

Every evening we stop our recreation period 5 minutes early and line up by twos in the hall. When the prioress gives the signal we begin our procession to a special statue of Our Lady outside. As we process, the chantresses intone to Litany of Loretto to Mary. We gather around the statue and when the Litany is finished we conclude with a prayer. We end the month of May with a crowning of Mary made by a Sister in the Novitiate and sometimes a special hymn.

Those large pink flowers on either side of Our Lady are begonias. They are usually medium to small flowers, but these are a special variety and are huge, the size of roses.

There are usually special flowers around the Statue which we call, "Our Lady of the Pines". But, you might recognize it as the statue that St. Therese said smiled at her when she was very sick as a child.

May this new month bring you many beautiful blessings!

Thursday, April 26, 2018

What's Your Vocation?

It's probably not what first came to your mind. In fact, the basic vocation of every human being is radically the same, and yet, radically different in that we are each individuals with different life experiences and talents.

Our Basic Vocation is Holiness! To become Holy like God (Leviticus). We are created precisely for this, to resemble and live in the Presence of the Triune God for all eternity!!

Pope Francis recently issued an Apostolic Exhortation entitled, Gaudete et Exsultate, "Rejoice and Be Glad", on this very subject. If you would like to read the pope's entire text, you can find it HERE. A friend of ours has written an article in which he offers 10 key points from the pope's document for our growth in Holiness.

Holiness is
  1. ... the deepest meaning of our life. "‘This is the will of God, your sanctification.’ Each saint is a mission, planned by the Father to reflect & embody, at a specific moment in history, a certain aspect of the Gospel.” “To the extent that each Christian grows in holiness [that] he or she will bear greater fruit for our world.”
  2. ... found in ordinary daily life. It is often found “in our next-door neighbors,” among our “own mothers, grandmothers and loved ones,” who “living in our midst reflect God’s presence.” We are all called to this holiness “through small gestures,” mindful that “every minute of our lives can be a step along the path to growth in holiness.”
  3. ... begins with desireSt. Thomas Aquinas stressed that to become a saint we have to “will it.” The whole Church should "devote herself anew to promoting the desire for holiness” and praying that God will “pour out upon us a fervent longing to be saints for God’s greater glory.” 
  4. God carries out the work of our sanctification through the traditional “means of sanctification already known to us: the various methods of prayer, the inestimable sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation, the offering of personal sacrifices, different forms of devotion, spiritual direction, and many others.” 
  5. ... is more simply living the Beatitudes. “In the Beatitudes, we find a portrait of the Master, which we are called to reflect in our daily lives: … being poor of heart, … reacting with meekness and humility, … knowing how to mourn with others, … hungering and thirsting for righteousness, … seeing and acting with mercy, … keeping a heart free of all that tarnishes love, … sowing peace all around us, … accepting daily the path of the Gospel, even though it may cause us problems, that is holiness.”
  6. ... flows from a life of prayer“Holiness consists in a habitual openness to the transcendent, expressed in prayer and adoration. ”There is not without prayer.”
  7. ... our prayer must overflow into charityThe ultimate criterion on which our lives will be judged, he says “is what we have done for others.”
  8. ... our holy, self-giving love must be cheerful“Far from being timid, morose, acerbic or melancholy, … the saints are joyful and full of good humor.” The exhortation is entitled “Rejoice and Be Glad” because the Christian life is marked by “joy in the Holy Spirit,” which is what helps make holiness “the most attractive face of the Church.” Each of us is called to have that joyous face.
  9. ... a battle that requires perseverance, patience, courage and meekness. “You cannot grow in holiness without committing yourself, body and soul, to giving your best to this endeavor,” because “The Christian life is a constant battle. The battle is not just against the ways of the world or against our human weaknesses and inclinations; it’s also a “constant struggle against the devil” who incessantly seeks to divert us from the path of sanctity—and from God—in this world and in the next. For that reason, “Those who really wish to give glory to God by their lives, who truly long to grow in holiness, are called to be single-minded and tenacious.”
  10. ... not principally a solitary battle, but one waged in communion with God and his faithful in heaven and on earth. “Growth in holiness is a journey in community, side by side with others,” something we see in the Holy Family in Nazareth, in the early Church, in so many homes and religious communities today. We are surrounded by a “great cloud of witnesses” (Heb 12:1) urging us on to victory, so that we may truly become one as God is one, a communion of saints within the Triune communion. Among all the saints, stands Mary, who “teaches us the way of holiness and walks ever at our side.”

(HT: Fr. Roger Landry)

As a former chaplain loved to say,
"Adelante! Keep marching with the saints!"

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

New and Older Friends

Yesterday we welcomed a number of friends and visitors. In the morning we met our Southern Province Novice, Carlos. You can read more about the visit with our Dominican Friars at our Facebook site.

Then in the afternoon, we welcomed back Fr. Gavin Vaverek. We joke that we have seen more of him since he left the parish a few months ago than we did when he was pastor.

He spoke to us for almost 1 1/2 hours about CONFLICT: what it is, what causes it, how to resolve it. Especially interesting are his very real examples from everyday life.

Thank you Lord, for Father Gavin. 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Palm Sunday of the Passion of Our lord


From the Gospel:
"While they were eating, He took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "Take and eat; this is My Body." Then He took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My Blood of the Covenant, which will be shed for many." (Mark 14:22-24)

Today we read the entire account of Jesus' Passion from the Gospel of Mark. This narrative will be with us the entire coming week. We need to ponder this mystery with Mary during the coming days.

Today we recount and relive the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem. But the joy does not last for long. He is soon attacked, conspired against, arrested, beaten and crucified for each of us. He does this in total selfless love.

Make an act of Spiritual Communion asking for an increase in faith, and reflect on the Mystery of the Eucharist