Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

"If Christ is growing in us, if we are at peace, recollected, because we know that however insignificant our life seems to be, from it he is forming himself; if we go with eager will, in haste, to wherever our circumstances compel us, because we believe that he desires to be in that place, we shall find that we are driven more and more to act on the impulse of his love. And the answer we shall get from others to those impulses will be an awakening into life, or the leap into joy of the already wakened life within them." 
-- Caryll Houselander, The Reed of God

Friday, May 27, 2011

Still More of the Novice Directresses Meeting!

The novice directressses got a new speaker this week, Sr. Dominica Brennan, O.P. of the Springfield Dominicans.
 Sr. Dominica with Sr. Mary Margaret. Sr. Dominica actually taught Sr. Mary Margaret at Rosary High School in Aurora, IL (we won't say when!).

We were so happy to have Fr. Dominic Izzo, O.P., the friar-consultant for the Association of Monasteries of the Nuns of the Order of Preachers in the U.S. with us for a few days, too!
Can you spot Fr. Izzo in the midst of all these nuns?

Our last evening together was both joyful and poignant--joyful because we have all gotten to know and love each other more through personal contact, but poignant because all the novice directresses soon had to return to their home monasteries! We hope at least some of them will be able to visit us again someday.

Sr. Mary Margaret explains a map of Texas for our guests

Lots of dancing going on! We reprised our Tet dance and also performed this African dance (well, most of the dancing was done by our two African sisters, but we helped somewhat!)

Sr. Mary Jeremiah gave us a brilliant exegesis (or is that "Tex-egesis"?) of the poem "Jack and Jill"!

Everyone was delighted to receive a Texas passport, so someday they can come back to our monastery.

You can see some more views of this meeting at the excellent blog by the nuns at Our Lady of the Rosary Monastery in Summit, NJ here.

Thanks to all who made this wonderful meeting possible and thanks to all the sisters who attended for enriching our lives with your presence! 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Translation of Our Holy Father Dominic

St. Dominic died on August 6, 1221. For some reason (his successor as Master of the Order of Preachers, Blessed Jordan of Saxony, refers gently to the "brothers whose simplicity outweighed their prudence") he was simply buried in the church of St. Nicholas of the Vineyards in Bologna, Italy and more or less forgotten by the brethren, who were apparently too busy carrying on Dominic's work to think of Dominic himself! Some, as Blessed Jordan points out, disagreed with this policy, but they "offered no opposition because they were fainthearted." It doesn't speak well for the first followers of St. Dominic! Finally, twelve years after Dominic's death, Pope Gregory IX encouraged the brethren to move his body to a more suitable tomb. The brethren had misgivings about this, fearing that Dominic's body--which "had lain in a mean tomb exposed to the elements"--would be found decomposed. However, their fears were foolish. When the tomb was opened "a wonderful odor poured out from the opening and its fragrance caused astonishment among those present. Everyone shed tears and feelings of joy, of fear and of hope rose in all hearts." The body was taken to its new  tomb (or "translated", hence the name of today's memorial). Blessed Jordan writes, "This marvelous aroma, which the holy body breathed forth, was evidence to everyone how much the saint had truly been the aroma of Christ." This day, May 24, 1233, was the beginning of the canonization process of Dominic and it was completed on July 3, 1234, when he officially became St. Dominic. Since 1267 St. Dominic's remains have resided in this tomb in Bologna:

 O wondrous hope, which at the hour of death you gave to those who mourned you, when you promised to help them even after death!
Father, keep your word, and aid us by your prayers, alleluia. 
As in the past so many signs of healing made you shine forth, so now bring us the help of Christ to heal our drooping spirits.
Father, keep your word, and aid us by your prayers, alleluia.

Friday, May 20, 2011

More of the Novice Directresses...

Here they are in two formal poses:

Front, from left: Sr. Maria Guadalupe (Lufkin, TX), Sr. Mary Veronica (Lancaster, PA), Sr. Mary Angela (Nashville Dominicans), Sr. Mary Rose (Farmington Hills, MI), Sr. Mary of the Sacred Heart (Menlo Park, CA). Back, from left: Sr. Maria Pia (Bronx, NY), Sr. Anna Marie (Elmira, NY), Sr. Mary Magdalen (Squamish, BC, Canada), Sr. Mary Catharine (Summit, NJ), Sr. Mary of the Precious Blood (Marbury, AL). 

The same group with Sr. Mary John, prioress of our monastery and also President of the Association, in front!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Novice Directress Meeting at our Monastery

Some of the novice directresses from various Dominican monasteries--all happen to be members or affiliates of the Association of  Monasteries of Dominican Nuns of the Order of Preachers--are meeting here in Lufkin this week to discuss topics of interest and hear talks from various speakers.We are so excited to have them here with us!

From left: Sr. Mary Rose (Farmington Hills, MI), Sr. Maria Guadalupe (Lufkin, TX), Sr. Mary of the Precious Blood (Marbury, AL), Sr. Mary of the Sacred Heart (Menlo Park, CA), Sister Mary Angela (Nashville Dominican Sisters--novice directress of their congregation and one of the speakers), Sr. Anna Marie (Elmira, NY), Sr. Mary Catharine (Summit, NJ), Sr. Mary Veronica (Lancaster, PA), Sr. Maria Pia (Bronx, NY), and Sr. Mary Magdalen (Squamish, BC, Canada).

Although they are keeping busy with their meetings and discussions, we have been able to have some interesting evening recreations with them. 

From left: Sr. Mary Catherine (a former novice directress!), Sr. Mary of the Sacred Heart (Menlo Park, CA), Sr. Mary Catharine (Summit, NJ), Sr. Mary Magdalene, Sr. Mary of the Precious Blood (Marbury, AL) and Sr. Mary Thomas.

From left: Sr. Mary Dominic, Sr. Mary John, and Sister Mary Angela (Nashville). Sister Mary Angela told us many fascinating things about life as a Nashville Dominican!

From left: Sr. Mary Jeremiah, Sr. Mary Therese, Sr. Mary Magdalen (Squamish, BC, Canada), Sr. Anna Marie (Elmira, NY), and Sr. Maria Pia (Bronx, NY). 

We will bring you more news about this meeting as it happens...There are still several days to go! 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Return Visit from Mr. John Meehan

This week we were privileged to have some lectures on the liturgy by Mr. John Meehan. Mr. Meehan came to our monastery last July for some lectures on the social encyclicals, which we enjoyed so much we invited him back! Mr. Meehan is one of the founders of Magdalen College (now known as the College of St. Mary Magdalen) and also its second President. He presented a kind of theology of liturgy for us which was very enlightening and helpful for understanding the new translations of the Mass which will be used beginning in Advent this year.

Mr. Meehan's spirited lecturing and interesting content kept us all attentive!

  Mr. Meehan with Sr. Mary Rose, a Magdalen College graduate and former student of Mr. Meehan.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary over the entire Order of Preachers

Today is a Sunday in the Easter season, so we will not commemorate this memorial today liturgically, but we will be renewing our consecration to the Blessed Virgin Mary and honoring her Patronage of the Dominican Order in our hearts!
 According to the "Miracles of St. Dominic" narrated by Blessed Cecilia (who knew St. Dominic personally), St. Dominic had a vision of the Lord and the Blessed Virgin Mary:

"As Blessed Dominic looked around, he could see religious of all the orders but his own before the throne of God. He began to weep bitterly...The Lord asked him, 'Why are you weeping so?' 'I am weeping because I see all the other orders here but no sign of my own.' The Lord said to him, 'Do you wish to see your Order?' and he answered, 'Yes, Lord.' Then the Blessed Virgin opened the cloak she was wearing and spread it out before Blessed Dominic, to whom it seemed vast enough to cover the entire heaven, and under it he saw a large multitude of the brethren. Then prostrating himself, Blessed Dominic gave thanks to God and to Blessed Mary his mother."

We can only hope the sisters (as pictured above) were there, too! 
We wish all of you a joyous Mother's Day and give a special thanks to all our mothers, living and deceased!

Monday, May 2, 2011

May Novena Time

During this beautiful month of May, we make a pilgrimage every evening to this statue of Our Lady of the Pines, singing the Litany of Loreto as we go. We have other special devotions to Mary during May, including a May crowning (pictures will come!), hymns, and private devotions, such as extra Rosaries and prayers. Most of all, we have our May novena to Mary, in which we will include all of you! If you have special intentions you would like us to remember in our novena, please send them here and we will include them in a particular way. May Our Lady, Queen of the Holy Rosary, intercede for us all and especially for peace in our world!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Divine Mercy Sunday and John Paul II's Beatification

It seems most appropriate that a Pope so devoted to mercy should be beatified on this, the second Sunday after Easter (also known as Divine Mercy Sunday). We pray for the mercy of God on all people, those who know God and those who do not, those who are searching and those who have given up hope, those who remain faithful to Christ and those who have (for whatever reason) separated themselves from Him. This Sunday reminds us that there is always an opportunity to return to God, the God Who loves us so deeply and infinitely!

 John Paul II was a great Pope, no doubt about it. 
We are so happy he is being beatified today and know that he will be a powerful intercessor for us in heaven.