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: http://www.daughtersofdivinehope.org/mainpage.html. 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.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Novitiate Renovations

Our novitiate building is lovely...but the floor is not in good shape. This is hardly surprising, since it was installed over 40 years ago and many a novice has traversed the floor since then. As you can see...

...there are a lot of bad spots, not to mention places where tiles were replaced over the years.

But, as we read in Ecclesiastes, "there is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens" (3:1). We are about to replace the entire floor in the novitiate! Of course, to prepare for this great event, we had to clear out stuff. A lot of stuff! All the books in our substantial novitiate library were packed away neatly and stored; all the pictures and statues and crucifixes came down. And a lot of furniture had to be removed. Some of it we could do ourselves, some was moved by our trusty workmen, and the bulk of the furniture was moved this morning by our faithful Knights of Columbus!

Arriving in the novitiate

Shelves from the novice directress's office

It fit through the door...just barely!

Sr. Mary John watches carefully as the Knights move a filing cabinet

Much of the furniture was moved to our Chapter Hall for the time being. 

The Knights in the Chapter Hall

Sr. Mary John and the Knights of Columbus after finishing up!

We are so grateful to the Knights for their hard work and for taking time from a busy Saturday to help us. And they plan to return and help us move everything back in, too! What a great group of Catholic men! Thank you so much for everything! 

We will keep you posted on our novitiate renovations as they continue, so be sure to check back in for updates!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Visiting Friars: Fr. Al Lopez, OP

Last night we were all enjoying Sunday night recreation when suddenly guests arrived! It was Fr. Al Lopez, OP, in town to preach at St. Andrew's parish for Food for the Poor. He was accompanied by Fr. Joe, the pastor at St. Andrew's. They had just finished Mass and wanted to stop by and visit--of course we were happy to have them, although it was a little late for nuns!

Fr Al Lopez with Sr. Maria Cabrini, Sr. Mary Gabriel and Sr. Mary Margaret.

Fr. Al gave us a wonderful talk on St. Rose of Lima, the topic of his doctoral dissertation and a favorite saint of his. We learned many interesting things and numerous pious legends were put to rest! Fr. Al is a Dominican of the province of St. Albert the Great (the central province) and originally hails from Tuscon, Arizona. The relative lateness of the visit reminded us of St. Dominic's famous late-night visit to the nuns to preach and teach, and yes, occasionally bring friars to visit, too. So Fr. Al's visit was definitely in keeping with Dominican tradition!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Questioned Answered: Labor Day Weekend Edition

In this occasional series, we answer questions that come up. If you have a question you'd like answered, feel free to ask! 
Q: Have things been busy at the monastery?
A: Yes! We've had a lot going on. Some things we'll feature in future posts. Some things we keep private. That's how it is.
Q: How are you planning to celebrate Labor Day?
A: We always have Mass--usually a votive Mass especially for this kind of celebration, such as the Mass for the Blessing of Human Labor--to celebrate the day, because Mass is the best way to celebrate! The Liturgy of the Hours follows the weekday, of course. We sometimes have a "talking" meal in the community room--a meal where instead of eating in silence in the refectory while the reader reads something to us, we are able to converse with each other while eating. It looks like we'll be doing that this year too. But for the most part we'll be celebrating Labor Day by, well, laboring as usual!
Q: You mentioned that you don't usually talk during meals. Isn't that difficult?
A: It is, at first. Most of us are used to meals with family and/or friends, with lots of conversation and laughter. But we keep silence throughout the day here at the monastery, so it naturally spills over into our mealtimes, as well. We do have a designated reader who reads from a book on the spiritual life while we eat, or sometimes we listen to CDs on similar spiritual topics. And this emphasis on silence at meals makes the occasional "talking" meal especially fun. We haven't forgotten how to talk, as anyone who comes to recreation can tell you! 
Q: Do you still keep the monastic fast from September 14 through Easter?
A: Yes. September 14 is the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, and is traditionally the day when fasting season begins. It's coming up again soon! We have regular meals for our main meal at noon, and what we call "collation" for our evening meal. During fasting season, sisters take what they need at their discretion--we don't impose fasting on anyone. However, there's a lot less food to choose from on the serving table!
Q: Anything else interesting going on?
A: We did see the most beautiful rainbow last night...


...and as we looked, we saw something special: 


 ...it was actually a double rainbow! Wow! God is so amazing!