Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Lot to be Thankful For...

We had a great Thanksgiving holiday and hope you did too! 

Sr. Bernadette Marie and Sr. Mary Gabriel make a wish!

 Sr. Mary Veronica and one of the turkeys she prepared...

We always eat in the community room on Thanksgiving...which gives us an opportunity to talk while we eat (a rare privilege!)

Sr. Maria Rosario and Sr. Mary Catherine enjoying the delicious meal

Many thanks to our friends who helped make our Thanksgiving dinner possible! We are so grateful to all of you! May God bless you abundantly!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Retreat with Fr. Gabriel O'Donnell, OP

We should admit right now that this picture was NOT taken at our monastery...none of the pictures we took turned out, unfortunately. But we still want to show you Father Gabriel O'Donnell, OP (if you don't know him already). He gave us a marvelous retreat on the theological virtues (faith, hope and charity) and the cardinal virtues (prudence, fortitude, justice and temperance), relating them to the monastic life--and he added a talk on humility as well, which was most welcome! Fr. Gabriel is the academic dean at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC and we are so grateful he was able to take some time out of his busy schedule to come and give us this retreat. We hope you will be able to return to see us again one day soon, Father!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Presentation of Mary / Pro Orantibus Day

Today we celebrate the memorial of the Presentation of Mary in the temple, an event not mentioned in the Gospels, but significant because it symbolizes Mary's complete dedication to God. Blessed Pope John Paul II said, "Mary appears to us today as the temple in which God has placed his salvation and as the handmaid who was totally consecrated to the Lord." And Yves Congar, OP writes, "As the type of all faithful souls and of the Church herself, Mary expressed spiritually and supremely in her life that 'presentation' which, for each one of us, is to begin by the service of faith and to be consummated in heaven."

Today is also Pro Orantibus Day, a day "for those who pray", meaning for cloistered religious. We hope you will join us in praying for more vocations to the cloistered religious life and especially to our monastery! 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Christ the King

"And now, Lord Jesus, come and remove the stumbling-blocks within the kingdom which is my soul, so that you who ought to may reign in it. Greed comes along and claims its throne in me; arrogance would dominate me; pride would be my king. Comfort and pleasure say: We shall reign! Ambition, detraction, envy, anger fight within me for supremacy, and seem to have me entirely in their power. But I resist insofar as I can; I struggle against them insofar as I receive your help. I protest that Jesus is my Lord. I keep myself for him since I acknowledge his rights over me. To me he is God; to me he is the Lord; and I declare: I will have no king but the Lord Jesus! Come then, Lord, rout them by your power and you will reign in me, for you are my king and my God, who grant victories to Jacob."
--St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Annual Retreat Time

Tonight we begin our annual retreat. Our retreat master this year will be Fr. Gabriel O'Donnell, OP, and we are really looking forward to his conferences. We will finish our retreat on November 24. Please keep us in prayer and we will be praying for you in a special way during this graced time!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Friends and Family

People often ask us, "Do you ever get to visit your family and friends?" Well, we don't leave the enclosure to visit them, but they can come to us! We have several parlors--that is, rooms where nuns can visit with people who come to see them. 

 Sr. Mary Lucy and family

Sr. Mary Thomas and family

Sr. Miriam and family

We do have a fixed counter or other separation to maintain enclosure, but this is simply a reminder that we are cloistered nuns, separated from the world. It doesn't prevent us from enjoying time with our families! Usually, a family is allowed to visit for a few hours each month. If a nun's family does not live close enough for a monthly visit, she may be allowed to spend longer periods with her family over a couple of days--especially if they don't come very often. We encourage our family and friends to come join us in the chapel (on the extern side, of course) when we pray together or have daily Mass, and many of them do this.

But our visitors aren't limited to family! Sometimes we get some surprises, like a recent visit from our dear friend Fr. Ron Foshage, MS. He came up from Jasper, TX to hear our confessions and brought along a marvelous Protestant family of talented musicians who played for us.  It was a wonderful ecumenical encounter. And to our delight, Fr. Ron joined in and played the violin!

There were three violins, a viola, and a cello. Everyone played beautifully!

In addition, some of the younger girls sang for us! Their harmony was simple but lovely. 

We thank God for all His many gifts, which He brings to us without us ever having to leave the enclosure!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dominican All Souls Day

That's right! Just as we have a Dominican All Saints day to remember in a special way all our Dominican saints, we also have a Dominican All Souls day to remember all our deceased brothers and sisters of the Order. It's sometimes said that it's good to live as a _____(fill in the blank with a religious order you choose!) but die as a Dominican. Why? Probably because of all the prayers, Masses and general suffrages for the dead that we have as an Order. We have no less than three special days for praying for our dead (our parents, our friends and benefactors, and today's remembrance). Mechthild of Magdeburg once had a vision of a deceased Dominican friar suffering in Purgatory. He explained that because of the dignity of the Dominican Order, he did not go to hell, but he would be in Purgatory for some time! He asked her for some help (prayers and Masses offered for his soul). It's impossible to know the validity of such a vision, but it does make you think!  Incidentally, if you would like us to remember your beloved dead in prayer this month (and always) just send their names to us HERE and we will do it!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Dominican All Saints Day

Today we celebrate all the Dominican saints--and there's a lot of them. In addition to the many Dominicans who lived holy lives and died more or less peacefully, there are over 100 Vietnamese martyrs in the Dominican family, and quite a few newly beatified Dominicans from the Spanish Civil War, as well as all the Dominicans who were martyred in China and Japan and other places. And we'd like to remember some of the Dominican saints who are patrons of sisters here at the Monastery: 

Blessed Sybillina 
St. Catherine de Ricci
St. Agnes of Montepulciano 
St. Margaret of Hungary
St. Dominic
St. Thomas Aquinas
St. Rose of Lima

Of course, we should also mention some "honorary" Dominicans who have namesakes in our community as well--St. Mary Magdalene (Apostle to the Apostles and the first preacher of Christ's resurrection!) and St. Augustine, who wrote the Rule that Dominican friars and nuns still follow today. May all the holy Dominican men and women intercede for us today and every day!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

All Souls Day

Today and all this month we remember our beloved dead--those that we know had faith and those whose faith is known only to God. Here at the Monastery of the Infant Jesus we always pray in a special way for the dead during November, and we'll be doing the same thing this year as well. We would be happy to pray for anyone you would like us to remember--just send us an email HERE and we'll include that person in our prayers. God bless you!