Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Triduum Schedule, 2013

If you are (or will be) in the Lufkin area, we would be delighted if you join us for Triduum services. The celebrant for Mass and liturgy will be our chaplain, Fr. Paul Philibert, OP. If you are not able to join us, we hope you will participate in this sacred triduum wherever you are!

 Holy Thursday -- Mass 7:15 PM

Good Friday -- Liturgy 3:00 PM

Holy Saturday -- Easter Vigil 9:00 PM

Easter Sunday -- Mass 10:15 AM

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Palm Sunday, 2013

We see him without the grandeur of a victory parade--without the chariots, the horsemen, the soldiers--returning triumphant in battle. The same people who now celebrate his entry into Jerusalem with palm branches will soon shout for his death, plaiting him a crown of thorns and nailing him to the wood of a tree. The vanity that once struck Qoheleth is personified in today's pomp and circumstance which will soon change to the greatest sacrifice that can be conceived. All things in this world are passing and will fall away--this King too will become a victim of sin's cruelty. Those who did not know him, did not care, will forget him in time. 

However, for those who bravely believe, who took the Lamb as their Redeemer, the end of his life was a new beginning. It would continue in the words, "Do this in remembrance of me". St. John Mary Vianney once said that the savior comes to us still as he did on that fateful day of procession with palms. He lives--meekly, humbly, a King giving himself in poverty, coming under the form of bread and wine. It is our task to welcome him, to cast down our palm branches sincerely, and welcome him into our lives to reign there with the peace that surpasses understanding.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Live Presentation of the Stations of the Cross

Last night, we were privileged to see a live Stations of the Cross put on by the youth group from St. John the Evangelist Church in McAlester, Oklahoma. The high school students were reverent in their presentation and we were very moved by the experience. The evening began with a short, wordless presentation of the Passion story, and then moved into the stations of the cross.

The second station: Jesus accepts His cross

The twelfth station: Jesus dies on the cross 

As you can see in these pictures, the stations were presented with minimal costumes, props and lighting. The students also used youth-oriented meditations which help bring the drama of Christ's Passion into the lives of the young people who see and participate in the stations--and into our lives too. This group travels to different parishes each Lent to offer these stations, and choose a religious community to visit each year. We are grateful they thought of us! If you have a chance to see these stations at your parish, we encourage you to do so. Thank you so much to the pastor and students at St. John's for this wonderful presentation. We will always remember it!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Saint Joseph, 2013

Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a just man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly... (Matthew 1:18-19)

 Scripture doesn't tell us much about Saint Joseph except that he was a just man. But knowing what the Jews meant by "just" actually says a great deal.

When we think of "just", of course that involves the virtue of justice which is "giving to others what is due them". So we can conclude that he was a fair tradesman with his customers and any helpers he may have had. 

We know he did not want to condemn Mary to death as an adulteress, for he believed her to be virtuous. Yet, he didn't know what had happened to her and he knew he was not the father of her child, so he believed the "just" thing for him to do would be to divorce her quietly.

But there is much more to Joseph being a just man. He must have been deeply religious for a "just man" was not so only before people, but especially before God. A tzedakah was/is not only outwardly religious and devoted to the Torah, but passionate, encouraging others to study and keep Torah. 

The Jewish word tzedakah  means to be charitable, generous and kind. In fact, it comprises a vast array of virtues. It all boils down to the fact that we, too, must be saints! Amen!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Fifth Sunday of Lent, 2013

In today's Gospel, some people bring an adulterous woman to Jesus and ask him to pass judgment on her. Jesus' response is a multilayered revelation of just who Jesus is.

Little do the women's accusers realize that when Jesus says to them, "Let the one without sin be the first to cast a stone at her," that he is indeed the only one among them who meets that qualification. But rather than take advantage of this prerogative, Jesus challenges them to reconsider their accusation against her and they, one by one, decide to let it go. Just as in civil law, when a victim refuses to press charges against an adversary and so allows them to go free now Jesus uses the silence of the woman's accusers to allow their charges to be dropped. If they do not accuse her, then neither does Jesus. What does this say to us about the times we have held on to supposed or even real wrongs with the mentality that "they" were wrong and deserve to be punished? If we insist on their punishment, very likely they--and we--will feel its weight, but if we forgive, then they--and we--are set free, so that even Jesus is in a sense bound by our decision. 

But there is more to this scene: Jesus is indeed the "one who is without sin" but he is also the one whom "God made to be sin", so in another way he is one of those who cannot cast the first stone. He has so identified himself with his brothers and sisters that he accepts the limitations of our sinful condition to such an extent that, as the Letter to the Hebrew says: "He is not ashamed to call them brothers" (Heb 2:11). Those people who presented the sinful woman for judgment slipped away in shame when their own sinfulness was exposed, refusing to be identified as her brothers. Jesus, on the other hand, was not ashamed to remain there with her--the sinner and he who was made sin! Who is there that we are ashamed to call our brother or sister? 

As John said, Jesus had come unto his own--to sinful human beings, and many of them received him not. They even tried to stone him too! (John 8:59)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pope Francis!

We are truly filled with great joy at the announcement of our new Pope, Francis!
We pray for God's blessing on Pope Francis and his ministry to the Church and the world. 
May God grant him many years!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Looking for our website?

Are you looking for our website? Some months ago we changed to a new website (with a new domain name). We encourage you to check it out! The address is Some of you have been making donations via PayPal on our old website, and we are extremely grateful for them. If you want to use PayPal for donations to our monastery, please notice that you can donate from this blog. You can also donate safely and securely using a credit card on our website. Again, we hope you will check out our current website. Thank you so much!

Fourth Sunday of Lent, 2013

In today's Gospel we see a loving man with two sons. The younger son asks for his share of his father's estate; his father gives it to him and in a few days the son leaves home for a far distant land. He spends all his inheritance on a life of dissipation. When he had spent everything, a famine came over the land and he found himself in dire need. He hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to feed the swine. Hungry and tired, he longed to eat the pigs' food, but no one gave him anything. Coming to his senses, he thought, "How many of my father's hired workers have more than enough to eat, but here I am, dying of hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and say to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.'" So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him...

Let's pause here to recall a story our chaplain, Fr. Paul Philibert, told us one Sunday during the homily. He said that a fisherman friend once told him the two characteristics of a good fisherman: memory and hope. A fisherman always remembers that big fish he caught and he has a sure hope of catching one like it again. Could we say a good Christian is like this? In this parable, the son "comes to his senses"--he "remembers" how his father treats his hired men, and he "hopes" to be treated at least like one of the servants. He repents hurting his father. But when he came home, his father was just happy to have his son back. He told his older son, "Your brother was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found. So we must celebrate and rejoice!" 

The rest of the story is about the older son and is important. But for now, let it suffice to consider that as the younger son remembered and hoped, so may we when we seem to hit bottom. Let us remember the goodness of the Lord and trust in His prodigal mercy! As the father waited for his son to come back, so does our heavenly Father wait for us. He embraces us and kisses us when we return. "We must celebrate and rejoice!"

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Third Sunday of Lent, 2013

The image of the burning bush is one that has always captured the human imagination. Not only was the bush in flames, but it was not consumed or harmed. God drew Moses’ attention by the fire so that when he approached it God could reveal Himself.

A famous “desert father” story comes to mind:

Abba Lot went to see Abba Joseph and said to him: ‘Abba, as far as I can I say my little office, I fast a little, I pray and meditate, I live in peace and as far as I can, I purify my thoughts. What else can I do?’ Then the old man stood up and stretched his hands towards heaven. His fingers became like 10 lamps of fire and he said to him, ‘If you will, you can become all fire.’                  (Joseph of Panephysis #7)

This is what we are invited to become, especially during this Lent of the Year of Faith. As we surrender more to God’s will, we are enflamed with His love, bearing witness to His presence in the world beckoning men and women to find meaning and happiness in a relationship with the Holy Trinity—Father, Son and Spirit.