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!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Visit with Mother Susan Catherine

Recently we were delighted to welcome Mother Susan Catherine, superior of the new community called the Daughters of Divine Hope, to our monastery. Mother Susan Catherine officially established this community in our home diocese of Tyler, TX in 2011 and is already preparing for the first vows of her novices! Mother Susan Catherine herself just made her final vows on September 14th of this year. We have known Mother Susan Catherine for many years and are so happy that she is following God's call in this way. We encourage women who may be interested in active religious life to check out her community's website: We wish Mother Susan Catherine and her novices all the best, and we hope they will flourish in our diocese and--who knows--elsewhere, too, as God wills! 

Mother Susan Catherine and Sr. Mary John in our large parlor. Sr. Mary John helped Mother Susan Catherine with advice on religious life in the early days of planning and establishing the Daughters of Divine Hope.