Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

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.