Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Saturday, November 27, 2010

First Sunday of Advent

The Advent wreath in our chapel
Brothers and sisters: You know the time; it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep. For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed...(Romans 13:11)
Advent is here! In less than a month we will celebrate Jesus' coming into the world. This Advent finds us in a world filled with war and rumors of war. Let us make peace in our world a major theme of our prayers this Advent season as we wait in joyful hope and expectation for the coming of our Lord, the Prince of Peace.
Because of my brothers and friends, I will say, "Peace be within you!" 
Because of the house of the Lord, our God, I will pray for your good.
(Psalm 122)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Christ the King and Pro Orantibus Day

Today we celebrate the solemnity of Christ the King...

One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!" But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." And he said to him, "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."
(Lk 23:39-43)

...and also Pro Orantibus Day, a day of prayer for the cloistered religious life.

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament in our chapel

Pro Orantibus day (a day for "those who pray"--cloistered religious) is celebrated on the memorial of the Presentation of Mary in the temple, November 21--a day that recalls Mary's dedication to God.

St. Ambrose commented on the passage above from Luke, saying, "The Lord always grants us more than what we ask for. The thief merely asked to be remembered, but the Lord said: 'Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.' The essence of life is to live with Jesus Christ. And where Jesus Christ is, there is his Reign to be found." This seems to sum up the happy coincidence of the solemnity of Christ the King and the day designated by the Pope as "Pro Orantibus" both falling on November 21 this year. If the essence of life is to live with Jesus Christ, our King, how fortunate are we cloistered religious who spend our whole lives in Christ's service, praying, interceding, and praising him day and night in his churches and chapels throughout the world! And we are fortunate--and happy! It is absolutely true that Christ gives everything, even more than what we ask for, and takes nothing away. He is the King of all Kings, the One to whom we have pledged our lives.

We invite all young women to consider their vocation to the cloistered life--and maybe to our monastery! Please go to our website for more information about our vocation and our joy-filled life at the heart of the Church and the Order of Preachers.

"It is worthwhile living for his kingdom--and dying for it." --Christoph Cardinal Schoenborn, O.P.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Our Thanks-Giving

We have a tradition of giving baked goods to our local friends and benefactors--usually at Christmas--but this year we thought we'd try a different season and thank them, appropriately enough, at Thanksgiving time! The fall season lends itself to pumpkin bread, so that's what we decided to make. Several enthusiastic sisters teamed up in the kitchen to produce many loaves of pumpkin bread!
Sister Marie Tersidis stirs up the batter...

Sister Mary Giuse and Teresa pour it into pans...

Sister Mary Gabriel admires the finished bread...

Sister Mary Rose packs it for delivery...

Most of the crew poses with some of their work!

We are so grateful to all our friends and benefactors who help make our life of prayer possible. Thank you, thank you so much! We are praying for you always!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Visit from the Provincial!

We recently welcomed the provincial of the Southern Dominican Province of St. Martin de Porres (USA), Fr. Chris Eggleton, O.P.  and his socius (assistant) Fr. David Caron, O.P. for a brief but memorable visit.

Fr. Chris (on the left) and Fr. David (on the right)

Fr. Chris and Fr. David prayed Vespers with us on Monday evening, and celebrated Mass for us on Tuesday morning. They were able to stay for lunch before hitting the road to return to New Orleans. We enjoyed a lot of fraternal visiting, learning about happenings in our province and telling them more about us. It was a wonderful Dominican encounter which culminated in the bestowing of Texas "citizenship" on our two guests. 

This honor was conferred on them by Sr. Mary John, our prioress, and as you can see they were very pleased to receive it! Thank you so much for your visit, Fr. Chris and Fr. David, and--as we say in Texas--y'all come back now, y'hear!

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Glimpse of Dominican Life in Kenya

Fr. Martin Martiny, O.P., the vicar provincial of the Dominican vicariate of East Africa, came to our monastery for a visit recently. He gave us a fascinating power point presentation on the Dominican presence in Kisumu, Kenya, describing the young men in formation to become Dominican friars in Africa; Our Lady of Grace School, which the Dominicans fathers help to run, and their other varied ministries.

 Fr. Martiny, O.P. discusses his work with us after the presentation

Father also talked about the work of the Hawthorne Dominican sisters in Kenya, whose compound is "next door" to the Dominican Fathers. We should not fail to mention that there are Dominican nuns in Kenya, near Nairobi!

Fr. Martiny and Sr. Mary John, our prioress

Thank you for a wonderful fraternal visit, Father, and know that we are keeping you and all the Dominicans and all your ministries in our prayers!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pictures at an Exhibition

Our retreat ended this morning--all good things must come to an end--but we will long remember Fr. R.B. Williams and his exposition of Dominican life, aptly called "Pictures at an Exhibition" (not to be confused with the piano composition by Mussorgsky!).

Fr. R.B. began with the four pillars of Dominican life (prayer, study, community and ministry) and then continued his series of "pictures" with some of the mottoes and phrases commonly found in Dominican life, such as "Veritas" and "Contemplata Aliis Tradere". We were both challenged and inspired! Although we must leave the "desert" of our retreat, we take with us a wealth of new thoughts, prayers, and inspirations to guide us as we return to our "normal" contemplative life. 

Above you can see another sample of Father's "pictures from an exhibition". Thank you so much, Fr. R.B., for a great retreat and for your friendship to our community over the years!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

St. Martin de Porres

St. Martin de Porres was a Dominican cooperator brother in Lima, Peru. The son of a Spanish officer and a freed slave woman, his options seemed limited, but he chose to train as a barber and surgeon. These skills proved very useful in his vocation as a Dominican, although even more important was his boundless love of God and neighbor!  Martin was known for his compassion and charity toward both humans and animals...even mice! Today let us pray to St. Martin de Porres for our needs and intentions, confident that he will present them to our Lord.

Happy and blessed feast day greetings to all the Dominicans of the Province of St. Martin de Porres throughout the world!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

All Souls Day

Our cemetery in the spring

We are blessed to have our cemetery on our monastery property, so we can go and "visit" our deceased sisters very easily. November is the month especially dedicated to prayers for the dead,  so we'll be saying a lot of extra prayers for our departed friends, relatives, and benefactors--basically for all the faithful departed! Do you have someone you would like us to include in our prayers? Please, e-mail their name(s) to us here. We'd be happy to remember them in our prayers by name.
 Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord 
And let perpetual light shine upon them. 
May their souls, and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Solemnity of All Saints

"This life of the saints, in its superabundant and inexhaustible fruitfulness, is at the same time a life of the richest variety and fullness. The one Spirit of Jesus, their head and mediator, is manifested in his saints in all the rich variety of their individual lives, and according to the various measure in which every single soul, with its own special gifts and its own special call, has received and employed the grace of God. The one conception of the saint, of the servant of Christ, is embodied in an infinite variety of forms. The litany of the saints takes us rapidly through this 'celestial hierarchy'. And while every name denotes a special gift, a special character, a special life, yet all are united in one only love and in one gospel of joy and gladness." 
--from The Spirit of Catholicism by Karl Adam