Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Friday, August 24, 2012

Monastic Theological Studies Program 2012: The Second Week!

Wow! It's been quite a week--a very intense week of moral theology with Fr. Nicanor Austriaco, OP!

Fr. Nicanor, from the province of St. Joseph (also known as the Eastern Province), began with a beautiful discussion of eternal beatitude and moved from there into the basics of moral theology based on the teachings of our brother St. Thomas Aquinas ending with a stimulating discussion on law and grace.

Father teaches the old fashioned way--with a blackboard!

What do you have to say, sisters?? 

Father's lectures were extremely good and very thought provoking...

 ...but he also took time to speak with the students during the breaks! Above, Sr. Mary Thomas and Sr. Mary Gabriel (both Lufkin)  discuss an ethical question with Father while Sr. Maria Teresa (Summit) and Sr. Mary Dominic (Lufkin) share a joke.

 Father Nicanor with the class--still smiling at the end of it all!

We also want to give a hearty Thanks!! to Sr. Mary Jeremiah (Lufkin) who not only coordinated all the classes, but also acted as tutor for our papers on the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas, which we presented in the afternoons this week. The pictures of these were almost identical to our psalm presentations, so if you look back at those you'll get an idea of what went during our seminar sessions this week! Sr. Mary Jeremiah was also responsible for recording all the classes and duplicating them for the students so they will be able to listen and continue to learn over the next year. 

Our students and Fr. Nicanor will be leaving tomorrow. We look forward to seeing the sister-students next year and definitely hope that Fr. Nicanor will be able to visit Lufkin again someday!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

MTS: Psalm Presentations

Part of our Monastic Theological Studies Program is writing a paper and presenting it to the sisters. Since last year we had a class on Scripture, particularly the Psalms (which are such a huge part of our monastic life), this year we each presented an exegesis of a Psalm. We were guided along the way by Sr. Mary of Jesus from the Monastery of Mary the Queen in Elmira, NY, and she was a wonderful help to all of us!

Sr. Mary Giuse (Lufkin) presents Psalm 1

Sr. Mary Thomas (Lufkin) expounds Psalm 2

Sr. Maria Teresa (Summit) explains Psalm 4

Sr. Marie Augustine (Lufkin) talked about Psalm 5

Sr. Mary Francis (Farmington Hills) elucidates Psalm 11/12

Sr. Joseph Maria (Summit) interprets Psalm 17/18

Sr. Mary Dominic (Lufkin)  enlightened us with Psalm 18/19

Sr. Mary Gabriel (Lufkin) gave us insight into Psalm 22/23

Sr. Mary Rose (Lufkin) makes an intriguing point as she details Psalm 49/50

Sr. Mary Amata (Summit) gave a profound exposition of Psalm 50/51

In case you're wondering why some psalms have two numbers--no, they didn't do two psalms! But the numbering of the psalms varies, depending on what translation of the Bible you are using. Thus, we put both numbers, so you can look up these psalms in your Bible and hopefully pray along with us!

Many thanks to Sr. Mary of Jesus (Elmira) for coming and helping us so much, and thanks to her community for loaning her to us! We are so grateful!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Monastic Theological Studies Program 2012: The First Week

We just finished a amazing first week of the 2012 edition of the Monastic Theological Studies Program! This first week was devoted to the study of patristics (the Fathers of the Church) under the able guidance of Professor Noel Pretila from St. Louis University.

Professor Pretila gave a (literally) animated series of lectures, using PowerPoint to help explain the concepts. We wish we could reproduce his excellent presentation for you, but you'll just have to attend one of his classes at SLU to experience it!

The students listening in fascination to Professor Pretila's talk! 

Serious thinking going on. From left to right: Sr. Mary Rose (Lufkin), Sr. Maria Teresa (Summit), Sr. Mary Dominic (Lufkin), Sr. Mary of Jesus (Elmira) and Sr. Mary Thomas (Lufkin)

And the rest of us: Sr. Mary Giuse (Lufkin), Sr. Mary Francis (Farmington Hills), Sr. Marie Augustine (Lufkin), Sr. Mary Gabriel (Lufkin), Sr. Joseph Maria (Summit), Sr. Mary Amata (Summit)

You can't leave Texas without a souvenir! Professor Pretila seems pleased with his!

Smiling happily at the end of a FANTASTIC week of classes! You can see Professor Pretila's slide of Justin Martyr in the background...He will be defending his doctoral dissertation on Justin Martyr next week at SLU. We wish him well and keep him in our prayers! 

We will be bringing you more from the MTS in days to come...the second week of classes (which will be on moral theology) and our presentations from this past week. Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Happy 80th Birthday, Sister Mary Annunciata!

We do celebrate birthdays in the monastery...very quietly...not like we celebrate feast days and other special days! Usually you just get a chorus of "Happy Birthday to You" at the end of recreation in honor of your day. But when you reach 80, we figure it's time for a more spectacular celebration. And this is just what happened last night for Sister Mary Annunciata's 80th birthday!

Sister Mary Dominic lights the candles...


A real blast for her 80th birthday!

Blowing out the candles...actually, she couldn't, because someone used those candles you can't blow out! We had to put them under water to extinguish them!

Sister had two cakes. One was a gift from friends and the other was made by Sr. Bernadette Marie. Both were delicious, especially when accompanied by ice cream!

After all, you're only 80 once! Enjoy!

We wish Sr. Mary Annunciata many, MANY more years and good health to go with them! Hopefully next month we will bring you another birthday...this time someone who will be 90!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Solemnity of the Assumption and St. Dominic

There's a legend that all twelve of the apostles were present when Mary was assumed into heaven. After her Assumption, they went out again to preach the Gospel to all corners of the known world. 

In a similar way (so to speak) it was on the 15th of August, 1217, that St. Dominic sent his brethren out to begin their preaching mission. They didn't want to go! Everyone said it was a bad idea to send the brethren out--so young, not well-educated, not trained in the ways of preaching. Dominic listened quietly to all their protestations and then, gently but firmly, insisted that they were going out into the world. "Grain that is stored, rots," he explained. He had a tremendous vision of his brothers sowing the seeds of the Gospel throughout Europe and even beyond, to all the ends of the earth. And so they went. Almost eight hundred years later, they're still on the road!

Blessings on all our Dominican family and all who receive the word of God, whether from a Dominican or from a modern-day apostle! Know that we are praying for you in a special way today, that Our Lady will intercede for more preachers and apostles to carry the Gospel to the entire world--even to the universe!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Our Holy Father Saint Dominic

Today we celebrate the solemnity of our holy father Saint Dominic! We'd like to share some aspects of Dominic with you in honor of this special feast day.

 St. Dominic had nine different ways of praying, and probably more! This is one anyone can try for private prayer:  standing up, arms outstretched, remembering Jesus crucified. 

Many people are familiar with the story of Pope Innocent III's dream of St. Francis supporting the falling Church, but few perhaps realize that he had a similar dream about St. Dominic! Apparently he had a lot of prophetic dreams...

 St. Dominic often participated in disputes with the Albigensian heretics. On at least one occasion they decided to settle the dispute by throwing their books and other materials into the fire. The one whose books escaped the fire would win the argument! As you can see in this painting, St. Dominic's books always flew out of the fire unscathed, while the books of the Albigensians burned to a crisp.

Holy Father St. Dominic, pray for all your children today and every day!

You might also like to check out our previous posts on St. Dominic: