Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas, Continued

Our Christmas celebrations began on Christmas Eve when Fr. Paul Philibert, our chaplain, blessed the creches in the community room....

...and the refectory.

We have Christmas decorations up all over the house, including this scene in our chapter hall: 

And yesterday, on the feast of St. John the Evangelist, we celebrated Sr. Mary John's "real" feast day! Although we often celebrate close to the solemnity of the nativity of St. John the Baptist, her official feast day is on December 27--because her patron is St. John the beloved disciple. At evening recreation, we watched happily as she opened a box of lovely presents sent from the Monastery of the Blessed Sacrament in Farmington Hills, Michigan. 

A lovely tile from Prouilhe with the "O lumen ecclesia" (a song to St. Dominic) printed on it!

More note paper--a prioress can never have too much of this! 

We hope all of you are enjoying a blessed and happy Christmas season, and pray you will have a wonderful New Year 2013!

Holy Innocents

On this day, the liturgical celebration of the Holy Innocents martyred in Bethlehem so long ago, we especially remember the victims of the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut two weeks ago today. We are praying for the victims and the survivors. May God grant them peace. 
Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord, 
and may perpetual light shine upon them
and upon all innocent victims of hatred, war and violence.

Monday, December 24, 2012

No Room At The Inn

Every year we begin our celebration of Christmas with Solemn Chapter, held in the Chapter Hall, including the singing of the Announcement of Christmas and a sermon given by one of the sisters. This year, Sr. Mary Rose delivered a beautiful sermon, which we offer below in order that the world may enjoy it and not just the sisters!

To meditate on Christmas can be a daunting task, for the Infancy Narratives read something like a romance or a fairytale: a poor couple, an evil king, exotic visitors, heavenly messengers, narrow escapes, celestial signs. It all sounds so far removed from our everyday experiences. However, there is one experience recounted in Luke's telling that some of us can probably relate to: trying to find a room in a hotel. I personally can recall a cold night in Flagstaff, AZ. My father, after many hours of driving across the desert, was going from hotel to hotel looking for a room for his family. We children, peering out of the van windows, could see the red neon lights under each hotel's sign flashing "No Vacancy". I do not remember how the night ended, but the memory of going from place to place remains. 

Often dramatic or cinematic presentations of Mary and Joseph's arrival in Bethlehem portray St. Joseph knocking on many doors looking for lodging. What St. Luke actually says is, "They found him lying in a manger because there was no room in the inn," (Luke 2:7b), implying that there was only one inn in Bethlehem, which, given the size of the village, is quite likely...The full inn could be interpreted spiritually as St. Luke's way of saying what St. John articulated as "He came to his own home, and his own people received him not." (John 1:11) It is often interpreted personally as a warning to make sure that there is room in one's own heart for the Lord's coming, not having it overcrowded with distracting anxieties or over-attachment to spiritual and temporal goods. These interpretations are legitimate and useful; however, literally, there is no reason to think that the inn refused to receive Mary and Joseph out of ill will, greed or snobbery. It was not that Mary and Joseph were unable to pay for lodging. It was simply that there was no more room. True, no one went so far as to give up their own place to a young mother about to go into labor, but it is often assumed the stable Mary and Joseph ended up in was the inn's, which would indicate that the innkeeper was not heartless...It seems that God the Father was engaging in the kind of hyperbole Jesus would come to love, exaggerating to make a point. To give a faint indication of how far His Son was stooping, He has Him born among the animals....

...When God enters one's life, this is what happens: everything changes. Both Joseph and Mary had heard God knocking at their doors: Mary through the angel Gabriel and Joseph through his dreams. Both let Him in. And the world has never been the same. This has happened to us as well: in our initial call, in the daily promptings of grace. Entering the monastery was life-changing, so we should not be surprised if God continues to turn our world upside down. He does this so His Son can enter. 

Let us ask St. Joseph, then, to intercede for us that we may pursue our own vocation in single-mindedness, in the concrete circumstances of our own time, in trust that God will come to dwell with us for we know, as Joseph did, that God can turn a stable into heaven.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Fourth Sunday of Advent 2012

"This is the real commitment of Advent: to bring joy to others. Joy is the true gift of Christmas." --Pope Benedict XVI

At the root of today's gospel is joy--which is one of the fruits of the holy Spirit. Joy permeates this story. Joy is most notably in the heart of our Lady who not only travels to visit her cousin Elizabeth, but makes haste in the effort. Joy is also experienced by the babies in the womb, tumbling about in the darkness, as they hear the dialogue of their mothers and sense each other near. 

Joy comes from Love, and God is love. Thus, the more we are united with him, the more joyful we will be, even in the midst of dark times. The joy of the Trinity goes beyond the fleeting joys of this world, beyond the gifts we give and receive for Christmas, and remains in the heart until the soul is drawn up to Jesus in the heavenly court. Today we pray for this joy, and we pray that all mankind will feel it in the complete gift of self. In this way, we too can mirror the joy of Mary and Elizabeth and rejoice that we have a Lord who will be with us forever.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Third Sunday of Advent 2012

Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!

In these, or similar words from the Entrance Chant and the second Scripture reading today from the Letter to the Philippians, the Church cries out with joy in the house of God. There are few Sundays in the Church year so charged with gladness as today. What is the reason for so much joy in the midst of this preparation for Christmas? The good news: "the Lord is near."

The Lord is close to us through grace, which is His presence flowing from the sacraments. Paul tells us in Philippians what a Christian must be, how one must act, and the spirit that should animate the heart. The life of grace in our souls shows itself by hearing good fruit in our lives, especially the four fruits of "goodness, trust in God, prayer and peace". Christ is present invisibly among us, in the hidden form of sanctifying grace. This too is the joyful message of the Gospel: Christ is in our midst through grace.
Grace makes us a child of God. Only a person of grace can approach God as a loving Father.  Prayer is the key to God's heart. Every prayer is answered even though what we ask for is given to us in another form. Through prayer in time of trial we find comfort and strength, no matter the external outcome. Grace is the divine life within us that enables us to be at peace with ourselves, with God, and with our neighbor. Peace is a special fruit on the tree of grace. It is Christ's peace that enables us to be satisfied with our lot in life. Peace and joy go together. Grace is the solid foundation for true Christian joy. A person living in God's grace is content and happy knowing that he or she is loved and cared for by God.

Christmas Novena

It's time again for our Christmas Novena! This novena lasts from December 16 (today!) until the 24th and includes all our sung Masses as well as our prayers. We will be remembering you all, the readers of this blog, in a special way during our novena! Thank you so much for your support and may you be blessed abundantly by our Infant Savior this Christmas!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe is Mother and patroness of the new world, America. She is our mother! To us, as to all of God's people, she says: "I am the Virgin Mary, Mother of the true God, of Him through whom all live, the Creator of men, the Master of our immediate surroundings and the Lord of Heaven and earth. I am your merciful Mother, yours and the Mother of all who live united on this earth. I am the Mother of those full of love for me and who will cry out to me and place their trust in me...I shall hear their groaning and their sadness and I shall console them and lighten all their troubles, wretchedness and suffering." Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Second Sunday of Advent 2012

"God has commanded that every lofty mountain be made low, and that the age-old depths and gorges be filled to level ground, that Israel may advance secure in the glory of God" (Baruch 5:7) Here Baruch records for us the return of the Israelites from their exile in Babylon. It reminds us of the crossing of the Red Sea--an event in which the Israelites marched amidst the wall of seawater and tread on dry ground as they escaped on their way to the land of freedom. As we set out on our own journey toward the land of freedom during this Advent time, we remember that as we face the challenges of life we have a God who is faithful--who gave to Moses and Abraham the strength of faith to trust and believe in the Lord who clothes the flowers of the field and feeds the birds of the sky. He will give us this same faith if only we ask Him for it!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception 2012

The Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary is a powerful example of God's largess--a magnificent gift to Mary and through her to all humanity, indeed all creation. With a certain measure of risk, God created the first man and woman with free will and they abused that gift by choosing to disobey God's commands regarding life in the Garden of Eden. When, in the fullness of time, God was ready to begin His new creation, He chose another sinless pair, Christ His Son and Mary of Nazareth. A familiar hymn, which we sing frequently at the Liturgy of the Hours, summarizes this story so well:

When, in His own image
God created man,
He included freedom
In creation's plan...
God to man entrusted
Life as gift and aim.
Sin became our prison,
Turning hope to shame...
Then in time, our make
Chose to intervene...
So that man's devotion
Newly might begin.

The Immaculate Conception is God's first intervention in his plan for his new creation. He once entrusted humanity's future to a "frail humble maiden", creating her sinless at her conception so that in complete freedom, she would be able to choose to obey God's will and so offer to her brothers and sisters in all generations the incalculable gift not only of true freedom, but also of everlasting salvation through the Son she accepted to bear when at the Annunciation she said YES to God rather than Adam and Eve's NO.  

We turn to Mary then, as the perfect model of faithfulness to God and ask her: O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

First Sunday of Advent 2012

The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and Judah. In those days, in that time, I will raise up for David a just shoot; he will do what is right and  just in the land. In those days Judah shall be safe and Israel shall dwell secure; this is what they shall call her: "The Lord our justice." 
-- Jeremiah 33:14-16

Happy New Year! These words of the prophet Jeremiah are a hopeful beginning for our new liturgical year. Today is like a new school year in which we will be educated and formed by the mysteries of Christ's life proclaimed every time the Liturgy is celebrated.  

Behold, the days are coming when I will fulfill the promise...

The Lord is coming, and every year we have a time to prepare our hearts and minds to be more aware of this and to welcome his coming to us. We are preparing for Christ's coming at Bethlehem and at the end of time. But He also comes to us every moment of every day. Let us ask Him for the grace to welcome Him every day: in the joyful and difficult moments, in temptations and in prayer, in small and great events, in our neighbors and friends, and in each stranger we encounter. An Advent well spent will bring forth God's special blessings and make us stronger in Faith, Hope and Charity.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Pumpkin Bread Baking!

One of our sisters (now deceased), Sr. Mary of the Trinity, once wrote a beautiful song called "My Thanksgiving". It has the refrain, "I could never end, I would never end, my thanksgiving, Lord..." and this is the way we feel today as we begin to distribute pumpkin bread to our many local friends and benefactors! While the Thanksgiving holiday may be over, our thanksgiving both to God and to all our friends and benefactors goes on endlessly. And so this past weekend we baked up many, many loaves of pumpkin bread to offer a small token of our gratitude and appreciation for all the help we receive to live our contemplative monastic life! Here are some scenes from the baking: 

 Sr. Mary Dominic mixes the dry ingredients

 Meanwhile, Sr. Maria Cabrini prepares the pumpkin!

Sr. Bernadette Marie and Sr. Mary Rose mix it all together

Sr. Mary Christine, Sr. Mary Gabriel and Sr. Mary Jeremiah fill the loaf pans

More loaf pans! Sr. Mary Christine, Sr. Mary Gabriel, and Veronique work together

 Sr. Mary Giuse fills a loaf pan by herself

Ready to be baked!

The delicious finished product

We hope all those who receive our pumpkin bread will enjoy it! We wish we could send some to everyone around the country but this is impossible...still, we keep you all in our prayers each and every day! Thank you for all your generous support and love!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe

Christ the King! A difficult concept for us to understand here in the United States, where we have a President and Congress, elected by the people. But Christ's kingship is of a different order. We are citizens of our respective countries, but also followers of this divine King, who told Pontius Pilate in the Gospel of the solemnity, "My kingdom does not belong to this kingdom is not here." (John 18:36) But He adds, when Pilate presses him, "Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice." (John 18:37) The kingdom of Christ is founded on truth, and those who hear His voice, belong to his kingdom, invisible though it may be at the present time. Daniel prophesied,"...all peoples, nations, and languages serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed." (Daniel 7:14) And in Revelation John writes again, "Jesus Christ is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and ruler of the kings of the earth." (Revelation 1:5) He is true and faithful in all things. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. With such a King, we do not need to fear any earthly power. We know Christ has won the final victory! In the image above, we see St. Michael the Archangel standing behind Christ, sword in hand. It is fitting, because he is the angel whose name means, "Who is like God?" God is, God alone, the eternal King and ruler of all peoples, nations, times, and seasons. To him be glory forever!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

 We are thankful for so many things, we won't even try to list them for fear of leaving something out! But we will just say THANKS to God for all the blessings He has given us this past year. They have been abundant and we are so grateful. We pray He will continue to bless us in the future!

We just finished a great retreat with Fr. Bob Perry, OP. Sorry, no pictures of him! He spoke eloquently about faith, hope and love, and inspired us all to deepen our religious commitment and our relationships with God and neighbor.

We've also been getting ready for our Thanksgiving dinner--an American tradition which includes turkey and dressing among many other things!

Sr. Bernadette Marie and Sr. Mary Thomas attempting to carve a turkey

Sr. Maria Cabrini tosses the salad while Veronique washes apples

We pray you will have a joyful and blessed Thanksgiving day--wherever you may be in the world, it is a good thing to stop and give thanks to God!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Presentation of Mary / Pro Orantibus Day 2012

This is a celebration of the hidden life of Mary. There isn't too much known about her life--even this memorial, which recalls her presentation in the Temple to serve the Lord, comes from an apocryphal source. But we do know that whatever Mary did before she became the Mother of Jesus and also afterwards, she was always the perfect handmaiden of the Lord, and the exemplar for all disciples of Jesus. She listened to the word of God and acted on it faithfully. She always said Yes to God! No matter how much we might like to know the details of Mary's life, that is the most important one and the one we can all follow in our own lives. 

Today is also Pro Orantibus Day, a day designated by the Church for prayers for those living the cloistered contemplative life--a day "for those who pray". Like Mary's life, ours too is a hidden life, sometimes seemingly without much effect in the larger scheme of things, but we have faith that our prayers, praise, adoration and sacrifices have an effect that will only be truly known in eternity. Please pray for all cloistered contemplative communities today, that we will all grow in holiness and receive good vocations who will continue this great work of God. May we all strive to be like Mary, who kept all the words of God and "pondered them in her heart".

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Annual Community Retreat 2012

Tonight we begin our community retreat with a day or so of silence and prayer. Then our retreat master, Fr. Bob Perry, OP will arrive from his usual post at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX to give our retreat conferences. Things will be a little quiet due to retreat silence but there will be a post or two over the next ten days. We'll be emerging from retreat, all renewed in our love for God and His creation, on Thanksgiving morning (November 22). We keep you in our prayers during this sacred time and hope you will be praying for us, too!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Singing Workshop!

We just finished another enjoyable and helpful week of lessons on singing, musical technique and the theology of liturgy with Sr. Kathleen Harmon, SNDdN! She worked with us both individually and as a group, providing us with all kinds of suggestions on how to improve the quality of our liturgy. Because, after all, liturgy is one of the most important things we do!

Sr. Kathleen instructs the Mass chantresses, Sr. Mary Gabriel and Sr. Mary Thomas

 Yes...that's what the music says!

Explaining the importance of the Responsorial Psalm at Mass to the community...

...and the community is hanging on every word!

As a result of Sr. Kathleen's expert help, we are gradually implementing changes in the way we sing the Responsorial Psalm at Mass, making it a true proclamation of the Word of God. And of course we are always trying to improve the quality of our musical sound overall.  If you are ever in the Lufkin area, perhaps you might like to stop by some day for Mass and see (and hear) for yourself! We are so grateful to Sr. Kathleen, who is definitely an active sister but has a great understanding of the cloistered monastic vocation and is such a help to us in developing a musical style which fits our life and also helps us to praise God from the heart of the Church. Thank you, Sr. Kathleen, and we look forward to seeing you next year!

Friday, November 9, 2012

67 Years on Lotus Lane

It was November 9, 1945--just a few months after the foundresses arrived in Lufkin on July 26, 1945--that enclosure was established here at the Monastery of the Infant Jesus. 

This was the original "farmhouse" monastery on Lotus Lane.

Today, 67 years later, things have changed a lot--at least on the outside!

But some things haven't changed. Our adoration of the Blessed Sacrament continues daily, as does our singing of the Liturgy of the Hours and Mass. We still continue our lives of prayer and sacrifice for the whole world. And we even have two of our original foundresses from 1945 still with us here on earth. We are so grateful to everyone who helps to make our life possible.

For more interesting pictures of the early days, check out our history page here. 
And for interesting pictures of our Dominican life today, check out the rest of our website here.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dominican All Souls Day 2012

Today we remember all the members of the Dominican family who have died. Here at the Monastery we especially remember two of our sisters who died this year, Sr. Mary Catherine, OP and Sr. Mary Therese, OP, as well as our former chaplain, Fr. John Dominic Logan, OP, who also died this year. We pray that their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed will rest in peace and that they will intercede for us and for all the Dominican family still here on earth. We miss you and we live in the hope that one day we will all be reunited in Heaven!

Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Dominican All Saints Day 2012

We once had a Dominican chaplain who told us when he was in the novitiate (pre-Vatican II) he had to memorize the names of all the Dominican saints! Of course that would be extremely difficult now that the number of saints has increased substantially, thanks to the canonizations of the Vietnamese martyrs among others in recent years. But today is also a day to remember all the saints of the Order who are not canonized, who probably never will be...the saints we live and work with every day. Sometimes it seems we are too close to holiness to fully grasp it when we live with it--we see all the little flaws and quirks and such, and miss the bigger picture. But if we open the eyes of faith, we can see God's goodness shining through all people. We give thanks to God for all our Dominican saints, those we know and love, those we don't know but remember today as they intercede for us in Heaven. May they intercede for all the people of the world, that we may all grow in love for God and neighbor every day!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

All Saints Day 2012

Today the Church Militant (those of us here on earth) celebrates the solemnity of All Saints, rejoicing in the Church Triumphant (in Heaven). This is a wonderful feast because it honors everyone in Heaven. All of these saints intercede for us before the throne of God! In addition to the many canonized saints (those the Church assures us are in Heaven) there are countless saints we remember today: parents, grandparents, friends, benefactors, sisters and brothers, godparents, neighbors, people like Dorothy Day or Oscar Romero who are not canonized but surely must be interceding for us! And if we are not sure whether someone we love has entered the glory of Heaven just yet, we have tomorrow's feast of All Souls to pray for them as they continue their Purgatory! Let us ask all the saints to pray for us today, and let us live in the joyful hope that our true home is Heaven too.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Visit from Bishop-Elect Strickland

Bishop-elect Joseph Strickland came out to the Monastery this afternoon to celebrate Mass for us and stayed for a lovely visit afterwards. He shared with us about his recent retreat in Subiaco, Arkansas with the Benedictine monks there and discussed the new coat of arms which he will use as bishop. 

Bishop-elect Strickland with Sr. Mary Margaret and Sr. Mary John

He will be ordained on November 28. We hope to see his ordination on television, and we look forward to seeing him come again soon--this time as Bishop! Thank you so much for your continuing service to the Church and especially to our diocese of Tyler!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Year of Faith

Today is the first day of the Year of Faith, proclaimed by our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI! It's also the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. And the 20th anniversary of the publication of the Catechism. And there's a synod of bishops convened to discuss the New Evangelization. There's a lot going on, and a lot to pray for! In his apostolic letter Porta Fidei, the Pope writes that this year is "a summons to an authentic and renewed conversion to the Lord, the one Savior of the world." (6) He also writes, "It is the love of Christ that fills our hearts and impels us to evangelize. Today as in the past, he sends us through the highways of the world to proclaim his Gospel to all the peoples of the earth." (7) These are words that resonate with us in a special way as we try to proclaim the Word and our love for Christ through this blog! Because, as the Holy Father continues, "It is faith that enables us to recognize Christ, and it is his love that impels us to assist him whenever he becomes our neighbor along the journey of life." (13) We cannot keep this Good News about Christ to ourselves! Even from the cloister we must proclaim it! This is part of our vocation as Dominican women, and we are glad to preach in our own small way. 

Our prayer is that this Year of Faith will be a blessed one for all the people of the world, that they may grow in faith, hope and love and be strengthened in their lives as sons and daughters of God.

Check out the official website of the Year of Faith HERE.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pray the Rosary!

October is the month especially dedicated to praying the rosary, and here at the Monastery we pray the rosary together every day except Sunday (when we have a different schedule so we pray it privately). The Rosary is a powerful prayer--in fact, today's feast, the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary, commemorates the great victory at Lepanto in 1571. Pope Pius V (a Dominican Pope) encouraged Christians to pray the rosary for victory, and Don Juan's Christian forces successfully defeated the Islamic Turks. Today we are still fighting all kinds of battles, and while action is often necessary, there is great wisdom in this advice: 

As contemplative nuns, that's what we do when faced with difficulties--our first option is always prayer. With everything that's going on in our nation and the world today, consider taking 15 minutes each day to pray the rosary, or some other prayer of your choice. Prayer can change the world, starting with you!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

St. Francis and St. Dominic 2012

St. Francis and St. Dominic are both great saints who are kind of misunderstood. We might think of St. Francis primarily as a proto-hippie, preaching to birds and petting wolves, and while he did these things, he also received the stigmata as a sign of his love for the crucified Christ. We might think of St. Dominic as more the "establishment" type, rooting out heretics and preaching against sin, and while he did these things, he is also known as the "joyful friar" who went on his travels through Europe singing hymns. When we look beneath the surface, we see the connection between them, and we see why the Church needs them both. They are two types of holiness for the faithful to imitate, both mendicant friars, both determined to change the Church and the world through a return to Gospel living. They accomplished their tasks in very different ways, and yet there was a common thread running through both their lives, a love of evangelical poverty, a desire for martyrdom, love and respect for the Pope...the list goes on. Here at our monastery we have several statues of St. Francis in addition to a few of St. Dominic (it's easier to find a statue of St. Francis, since he's infinitely more popular than St. Dominic) and we gladly honor him as our "Holy Father St. Francis". May he intercede for all the Franciscans--and Dominicans--today and every day!

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Rose from St. Therese

You may be familiar with the pious concept of praying to St. Therese for something and asking her to send a rose as confirmation that God has heard your prayer and will hopefully grant what you are asking for in the way you ask for it! (Because God doesn't necessarily answer our prayers the way we expect Him to.) We have a sister in our community who once made this request in a halfhearted way, not really expecting anything to happen...and then she received a dozen roses! She's a believer now!
In honor of St. Therese, a website called Imagine Sisters is proposing that you should offer a rose today to a young woman you think might have a call to the religious life. We think that's a great idea--we need more sisters in the world! And very often a woman interested in religious life is waiting for a "sign" of some kind--a word of encouragement from a friend, from a priest, a special passage of Scripture that suddenly speaks to her heart, circumstances mysteriously arranging themselves to make religious life possible. Even if you don't want to offer a rose, you can still encourage a young woman to consider religious life--maybe direct her toward a website like the Imagine Sisters project website, which has some nice information on vocation discernment, or maybe direct her to OUR website! 

May St. Therese intercede for all of us to find our vocation in life as she found hers at the heart of the Church!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Congratulations, Sr. Mary Rose!

Our sisters are home from the Assembly, and we are delighted to announce that our own Sr. Mary Rose was elected to the Association Council!

 Sr. Mary Rose serves as bursar (treasurer) of our community, and includes playing the organ for the Liturgy and Mass among her many other talents.

The entire new council, from left to right: Sr. Mary Catharine from Summit, NJ  (Councilor), Sr. Mary Thomas from Farmington Hills, MI  (Councilor), Sr. Mary Rose from Lufkin, TX (Councilor), Sr. Anna Marie from Elmira, NY (Vice-President) and Sr. Maria Christine from Menlo Park, CA (President)

Congratulations to all the newly elected officers and many thanks to all who made the Assembly so successful. You all are in our prayers!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

New Bishop for Tyler Diocese!

It's official...after over a year of waiting our diocese has a bishop!

 It's Msgr. Joseph Strickland of our own Tyler diocese!

We are filled with joy! 

You are in our prayers today and every day!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Monastery Bells

It's that time again! Our latest issue of "Monastery Bells" went out in the mail this morning. If you want to get a sneak peek at the contents, or just read it on line, you can do it HERE. Just choose the link for "Fall 2012". If you are living in the United States and wish to receive "Monastery Bells" in your mailbox--and this free subscription includes extras like our novena slips and other things--you can give us your address HERE. We never sell or distribute our mailing list to anyone! Sorry, we can't send to foreign addresses because of the expense. However you decide to read it, we hope you enjoy "Monastery Bells"!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What do nuns do at recreation?

People ask us this question all the time. We pray a lot, we work a lot, and yes, we do have time for what we call "recreation"--basically the chance to talk freely to each other and have a good time for about an hour twice a day. But what exactly do you do? Well, it all depends! We play games on Sunday nights. Sometimes we sit in a big circle and discuss things as a community--usually this happens when we have a guest or a new postulant and we all want to ask questions, or when the prioress or another sister has news she wants to share with the entire community. Mostly we sit around at tables in the community room and talk--that's a lot of fun for us, since we spend so much of the day in silence! Several of the sisters like to do handwork while they are talking... Sr. Mary Jeremiah who recently completed this lovely macrame owl! We also enjoy crocheting, knitting, cross-stitch, quilling, and almost any other kind of handwork you can think of! Some sisters like to go to a corner of our community room and listen to music, and sometimes we work on puzzles. Occasionally we all go to the parlor for a visit with someone (or some people) who come to visit us, whether friends, relatives, or groups who would just like to meet the nuns! We laugh a lot, and always have a good time. It is truly "re-creation"--a chance to deepen our relationships with our sisters and relax after an intense day of prayer and work. We always end recreation with a special prayer to our provident God, Who has brought us all together and sustains us in our Dominican way of life. We  have much to be thankful for, and we are thankful!