Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Thursday, October 31, 2013

All Saints, 2013


What do you think heaven will be like? Some of us may have a rather static notion of heaven--a place where you sit still forever, "being good". Pretty boring! In this picture Fra Angelico (a Dominican blessed, in addition to being a great artist!) depicts heaven as a kind of dance, where saints and angels join in both movement and conversation, always inviting the newcomers to come along and enjoy themselves. Heaven is perhaps more dynamic, what the Fathers of the Church referred to often as "our true homeland", the place where we can most be ourselves because we will be perfectly attuned to the will of God. Today we celebrate all the saints--that is, all our beloved departed who have reached heaven, the ones we remember in Church and the ones known only to ourselves, like family and friends, and the ones known only to God. May they all intercede for us today, so that we will eventually join them in the great dance of heaven!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Questions Answered: October Edition

In this occasional series, we answer questions that come up. If you have a question you'd like to ask, feel free!

 Q: You all seem to have a lot of speakers and people giving talks at the monastery. Is that usual? 
A: Well, we actually have had more than we usually do in a short span of time. Our Association of Monasteries of Nuns of the Order of Preachers in the United States sponsors two programs we've been participating in: the Monastic Theological Studies Program (which was held here at our monastery in late July-early August) and the Ongoing Formation program, which brings speakers on various topics to the monasteries. We have had two Ongoing Formation speakers this year, one in August and one just recently in October. We also had our annual retreat in October (guest retreat master for that) and we are expecting another person to come and give us some classes in November.  It just happened that way. But we do go through stretches without all this excitement!

Q: Do you continue your regular schedule of Mass and Liturgy of the Hours while you have guests, retreat, et cetera?
A: Absolutely. We might have to make some small adjustments in the schedule, but we don't omit anything.  

You can leave a question for us in the comments box, or use either contact form (website or blog), or just email us. Our email address is on our website. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Patristics with Fr. Brian Daley, SJ

We had the privilege of some lectures (and some informal question and answer sessions) with Fr. Brian Daley, SJ this past week. These lectures were part of the Ongoing Formation program, which is coordinated by our Association of Monasteries of Dominican Nuns. Fr. Daley, a professor at Notre Dame University, gave us a series of lectures on Mary and the Fathers of the Church. In addition to being a wonderful teacher, he is also a very kind and humble man! We really enjoyed our time with him and hope he will be able to return someday. 

 Fr. Daley lecturing in the community room

Fr. Daley answering some of our questions

Fr. Daley with Sr. Mary Rose, Sr. Mary Thomas, and Sr. Mary Jeremiah during our recreation time in the Gate Parlor

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Check this out...

Dominicana, the blog of the Dominican student brothers in the Eastern Province, has done a very nice post on our monastery! Please check it out here. Many thanks and prayers to all the friars who work on Dominicana, and especially to Br. Athanasius Murphy, OP, author of the post! May God bless you!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Retreat...and Visitors

We recently finished up a wonderful retreat with Fr. Gerard Austin, OP. He was able to stay on a few days after the retreat as well, which was a real blessing. Father spoke eloquently in his retreat conferences about sacramental aspects of the liturgy and Mass, sharing his wealth of experience. He knew and lived with some famous French Dominicans who contributed to Vatican II, including Yves Congar. His retreat conferences helped us to see the Mass in a new and exciting way. Thank you so much for everything, Father!

Fr. Austin with (back, left to right: Sr. Mary Margaret, Sr. Mary Gabriel, and Sr. Maria Cabrini; front, left to right: Sr. Maria Guadalupe, Sr. Mary Annunciata, Sr. Mary Jeremiah)

We also recently had a visit from Fr. Peter Asantebwana, from the diocese of Moshi in Tanzania.
Sr. Marie Augustine and Fr. Peter in the large parlor. As always they are separated by a partition you can't see in this picture!

Thanks be to God for the blessings of our annual retreat, and for the blessings of the friars and priests who come to visit our monastery!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Fall Issue of Monastery Bells

We mailed the Fall issue of Monastery Bells on Monday, and you should be receiving it in your mailbox soon! If you don't subscribe by snail mail, or if you want to get a sneak preview, check it out here. More on our retreat and other things coming soon!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Our Lady of the Rosary, 2013

We're still in retreat so we bring you just a quick thought:


"With the Rosary, the Christian people sits at the school of Mary and is led to contemplate the beauty on the face of Christ and to experience the depths of His love." 
--Blessed (soon to be Saint!!) John Paul II

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Annual Retreat 2013

Most people who go on retreat like to go somewhere beautiful...and who can blame them, since the beauty of God's creation often brings us closer to Him? But we are fortunate in that we have a lot of natural beauty without having to travel outside our cloister walls.

The monastery lake and surrounding forest

Some of the monastery buildings. The main building is on the left (you can't see it) and the professed dormitories and Chapter Hall are on the right.

Of course, being on retreat also means cultivating the inner life...
...through the gift of extra time for prayer, reading, and lectio divina. But many sisters enjoy a walk outside, especially since the weather is starting to be a little bit cool. (For Texas, of course!)

Fr. Gerard Austin, OP will be our retreat master this year and we are looking forward to hearing his conferences!


Please keep us in your prayers and know that we will be praying for you as well. We will be checking in on emails, etc. but not too often so please be patient if you need to contact us during retreat time!

St. Therese and her Roses from Heaven






On this feast of St. Therese of Lisieux we invite you again this year to encourage anyone you know who might have a vocation to the religious life to consider his or her call. There are many ways to do this...the classic way for devotees of St. Therese is to give the person in question a rose. This is because people who pray to St. Therese for a favor usually request that she send a rose as confirmation that she got the message, so to speak, and is passing it on to God.


It doesn't have to be an actual rose...it could be a picture, a symbol, even someone's name. (Did we mention our novice directress is named Sr. Mary Rose?)

Anyway, if you know someone who's considering religious life, maybe God (through St. Therese) is giving you a nudge today to help that person in his or her discernment. Or maybe you're discerning yourself and have been waiting to see if any roses unexpectedly show up. If so--maybe this is your sign!