Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Questioned Answered: Labor Day Weekend Edition

In this occasional series, we answer questions that come up. If you have a question you'd like answered, feel free to ask! 
Q: Have things been busy at the monastery?
A: Yes! We've had a lot going on. Some things we'll feature in future posts. Some things we keep private. That's how it is.
Q: How are you planning to celebrate Labor Day?
A: We always have Mass--usually a votive Mass especially for this kind of celebration, such as the Mass for the Blessing of Human Labor--to celebrate the day, because Mass is the best way to celebrate! The Liturgy of the Hours follows the weekday, of course. We sometimes have a "talking" meal in the community room--a meal where instead of eating in silence in the refectory while the reader reads something to us, we are able to converse with each other while eating. It looks like we'll be doing that this year too. But for the most part we'll be celebrating Labor Day by, well, laboring as usual!
Q: You mentioned that you don't usually talk during meals. Isn't that difficult?
A: It is, at first. Most of us are used to meals with family and/or friends, with lots of conversation and laughter. But we keep silence throughout the day here at the monastery, so it naturally spills over into our mealtimes, as well. We do have a designated reader who reads from a book on the spiritual life while we eat, or sometimes we listen to CDs on similar spiritual topics. And this emphasis on silence at meals makes the occasional "talking" meal especially fun. We haven't forgotten how to talk, as anyone who comes to recreation can tell you! 
Q: Do you still keep the monastic fast from September 14 through Easter?
A: Yes. September 14 is the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, and is traditionally the day when fasting season begins. It's coming up again soon! We have regular meals for our main meal at noon, and what we call "collation" for our evening meal. During fasting season, sisters take what they need at their discretion--we don't impose fasting on anyone. However, there's a lot less food to choose from on the serving table!
Q: Anything else interesting going on?
A: We did see the most beautiful rainbow last night...

...and as we looked, we saw something special: was actually a double rainbow! Wow! God is so amazing!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Praying for Iraq

As Dominican nuns, our main job is prayer. We pray for all kinds of things. We pray for all the people who ask us for prayers for their needs, great and small. We pray for our departed loved ones, friends, benefactors, and brothers and sisters in the Order. We are praying for the racial tensions and strife in our own country, the United States of America. We pray for all the urgent needs of our world today. And one of the most urgent needs is the ongoing crisis in Iraq. We have added community prayers for this intention to our own personal prayers, and we hope you will join us in praying for a peaceful and long-lasting solution to this terrible situation. Fr. Bruno Cadore, OP, Master General of the Dominican Order, has issued a plea to the UN which you can read here. We hope you will join us in praying for these intentions and also for an end to the violence and tension in Ferguson, MO. May we all have the courage to strive for peace in whatever way we can, and one thing we can all do is be united in prayer.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Who is Dominic?

We found this meditation (we're not sure who wrote it originally) and adapted it slightly to share with you...

Who is Dominic? 

--A man on the move, who leaves a fixed secure abode and ventures forth in search of men and women to lead them to God. His joyous spirit and his faith are the means to persuade others to follow him. 

--A preacher of the Truth, who, impelled by people's ignorance, proclaims the Word of God wherever he goes. 

--A man steeped in Sacred Scriptures, who accepts them as God's message to him and who makes them the guiding principles of his life. 

--A contemplative, who in meditation and serenity of heart opens himself to God and thus continually awaits His call. 

--An apostle, who has both the courage to face heretics at the risk of his life, and the love to enter into dialog with them. 

--A mystic, who in loving and intimate union with his suffering Master accepts the cross as the sign of a true disciple. 

On your feast day, Holy Father St. Dominic, we ask you to remember us as you intercede before God! 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Sr. Mary Christine's Silver Jubilee, Part 2

Not long ago we celebrated Sr. Mary Christine's silver jubilee with a community day! The entire community room was decorated like a tropical garden, and we played some fun garden-themed games in the morning.

Sr. Mary Christine posing with the winning team--note their "gold" medals!

And she also posed with the team who came in second--with their "silver" medals. (The teams were evenly divided but some of this team's members are not pictured!) 

In the afternoon Sr. Mary Christine opened her many jubilee gifts, both from friends and from the community. 

It's cute, but what IS it? (A tape dispenser shaped like a flower!)

Lots of stationery...handy for writing all those thank-you notes!
We ended the fun day by watching a documentary on the Servant of God Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan. Sr. Mary Christine actually met him once, before she entered the monastery. It was a beautiful and inspiring film which everyone enjoyed. Another wonderful celebration! We are looking forward to your golden jubilee, Sr. Mary Christine!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Sr. Mary Christine's Silver Jubilee, Part 1

We recently had a beautiful Mass honoring Sr. Mary Christine of the Sacred Heart, OP and her 25 years of consecration to Our Lord. Sister has been a member of our community since 2001, but for some years before that she was a perpetually professed member of the Houston Vietnamese Dominican Sisters. However, altogether she has spent 25 years serving the Lord faithfully, and we are happy to honor this commitment!

Sr. Mary Christine renews her vows in the hands of our prioress, Sr. Maria Guadalupe, as Fr. R.B. Williams, OP, Bishop Joseph Strickland, and Fr. Art Kirwin, OP look on.

The Mass was attended by numerous family members and friends, and was very lovely. The Bishop preached a great homily, as always. We even sang a Vietnamese song for the communion antiphon (in English, however!)--"A Gift of Love". 

A happy Sr. Mary Christine and Bishop Strickland

Sr. Mary Christine and her family with Bishop Strickland.

We are so grateful to God for Sr. Mary Christine, who serves our community faithfully as bursar, sacristan, and many other duties too numerous to list. May God bless you and grant you another 25 years--or more!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Welcome, Fr. Marcos!

We are delighted to welcome our new chaplain, Fr. Marcos Ramos, OP! Father is a member of our southern Dominican province (province of St. Martin de Porres) and originally hails from Puerto Rico. He will be working on his doctoral dissertation while serving as our chaplain, so he may not have time for all the other extracurricular activities our chaplains usually do! Fr. Marcos is pursuing a doctorate in historical theology and the topic of his dissertation concerns St. Irenaeus of Lyons (an early Church father) and baptism. We met with Father during recreation recently and he shared some of his findings with us...really intriguing! We hope he will have time to teach us a class or give a talk occasionally. He also has a beautiful singing voice which has already enlivened our liturgies. We have been truly blessed in all our chaplains, and we are confident that this time will be a blessing as well.