Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Advent 2014

Usually during Advent, we try to bring our readers meditations on the Sunday readings--and that has been very fruitful, for us and hopefully for you as well. This year we are trying something a little different: meditations on different saints and holy people who can be companions for us during this Advent season. We will be publishing six or so of these at various times throughout Advent. 

Advent is not just a historical reenactment. We don't pretend to be surprised that Christ is born on Christmas any more than we pretend to be surprised when He is risen on Easter. But every day we are all preparing for something we cannot possibly imagine: the second coming of Christ in glory. We don't know the day or the hour, but we know it will come. Advent is happening at all times as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. May these holy men and women--and all the saints--be our companions as we travel onward toward Christmas, remembering always the wonder of the Incarnation and the mysteries of Christ's coming: in the flesh, into our hearts, in glory.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Year of Consecrated Life Begins!

This weekend we begin a year dedicated to consecrated life! The year officially begins on November 30, 2014 (the first Sunday of Advent) and ends on February 2, 2016 (the feast of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple). As consecrated women, we're excited about this year and look forward to celebrating in many ways! 

In fact, we're getting things off to a good start with a Holy Hour for Vocations in our Monastery chapel on Tuesday, December 9, 2014. It starts at 7 PM and will include the Rosary, Compline and Benediction as well as time for silent prayer and reflection. If you are in the area, we hope you will join us--and if you're not close enough to come in person, we hope you will join with us in spirit!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Autumn and Thanksgiving 2014

It's a little late (since Thanksgiving here in the United States was yesterday) but we were kind of busy yesterday decorating and cooking and eating!

We always eat our Thanksgiving dinner in the community room--because it's a talking meal (a meal where we talk instead of listening to a book or article being read to us). So we decorate accordingly!

Our cornhusk family

Even the Pope got decorated! (We hope he doesn't mind!) 

We've also been enjoying some lovely autumn weather here in East Texas, where autumn comes later than other places. 

 Sr. Mary Annunciata's tree (the pretty orange one) in all its autumnal glory

Not too long ago, some dear and generous friends of the Monastery gave us this new golf cart! We are so thankful for it. We use golf carts for transporting baskets of fruits and vegetables we harvest from the gardens, for relocating plants, and most of all for taking sisters who are unable to get around easily for rides on our large property. This new golf cart will probably be used primarily for the latter purpose since it is a two-seater (and it goes really FAST--kind of a golf cart sports car!). Thank you so much to all our benefactors who consider our needs, large and small! We are grateful for everything you do for us!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Visiting Friars: Fr. David Adiletta, OP

We're always delighted when a Dominican friar drops by--and yesterday was no exception when we had a visit from Fr. David Adiletta, OP, from the province of St. Joseph (also known as the Eastern Province)!

Father Dave has been working for some years in Africa, but has now returned to the United States. We had a great visit with him, and wish him all the best in his new assignment!

Sr. Mary Jeremiah, Sr. Mary Margaret, Sr. Mary John and Sr. Mary Rose with Fr. Dave Adiletta, OP

Thank you so much for stopping by, Father! It was a pleasure to meet you!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sr. Mary John's Golden Jubilee Mass

We had our community celebration of Sr. Mary John's golden jubilee earlier this month, and yesterday--the solemnity of Christ the King--we had her jubilee Mass! Some of Sister's family and friends were able to be present, and Bishop Joseph Strickland celebrated the Mass, joined by Fr. Marcos Ramos, OP (our chaplain) and Fr. Marty Iott, OP. 

Sr. Mary John renews her vows 

 Sister Mary John and Sr. Maria Guadalupe presenting the gifts to Bishop Strickland during Mass

After the beautiful Mass, Sister Mary John was able to visit with her family and friends in the parlor.

Bishop Strickland and Sr. Mary John

Mother Susan Catherine of the Daughters of Divine Hope with Sr. Mary John

 Eddie Kupec, a long time friend of the Monastery and of Sr. Mary John

Sr. Mary John with a cherished family friend (left) and her brother and sister-in-law (right)

Sr. Mary John and her cousins

Sr. Mary John and her niece, Helen, her namesake

Sr. Mary John and her brother, Charles!

After Mass the community visited with Sr. Mary John's guests in the Gate Parlor. Here we see Sr. Mary Rose, Sr. Mary Thomas and Sr. Maria Guadalupe chatting with Fr. Marty Iott, OP

In his homily at the Mass Bishop Strickland praised Sr. Mary John for her 50 years of dedication to the Lord and His Church, and said that she could look forward to another 50 years! We don't know if this is possible, but we certainly wish Sr. Mary John many good and happy years to come as she continues to serve God with joy and gladness!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Saint Cecilia

The ancients and medievals believed that everything in the cosmos made music, sending sound waves eternally into space as planets and stars and galaxies and everything gave off a song of praise to their Maker as they whirled in an endless dance. It seems in some ways they may have been right, as musical sounds have been picked up coming from comets! This suggests a deep-seated joy in the heart of all that is, for we sing to express happiness that cannot be contained. Who ever sang when they were angry or frustrated? (Operatic arias are one exception that proves this rule.) Today we celebrate the feast of St. Cecilia, who, according to legend, "sang to God in her heart". She is often pictured with an organ, although there is no evidence she played any instruments. We honor her as a martyr who faced a terrible fate but continued to sing to God in her heart, overcome by a joy that the world does not understand. We remember her as the patroness of musicians, and we remember also today that according to another saint (Hildegard of Bingen) all creation sings, except for one particular group: the devil and his minions. Let us be among those who sing with joy to God in our hearts and voices!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sr. Mary John's Golden Jubilee Celebration

Sr. Mary John's Golden Jubilee Mass will be held on November 23, but we had the community celebration last Saturday! It was fantastic!

We started off with the jubilee song, a fun Nigerian song with new lyrics to suit the occasion. Sr. Marie Augustine played the drum. 

 Our general theme for the day was Texas--appropriate for a jubilarian who has spent all her life here in this great state! Sr. Mary Thomas provided sound effects for a funny Texas skit using the keyboard and her own natural abilities.

Sr. Mary Jeremiah sang the theme song from the movie "Giant" (which takes place in Texas)

Sr. Mary Gabriel acted the part of Mooch in a delightful skit based on Patrick McDonnell's book "The Gift of Nothing", featuring characters from the cartoon strip "Mutts". (OK, this has nothing to do with Texas as such, but it was really enjoyable!)

There were many more skits, acts, and displays of talent in the morning, but we must move on!

In the afternoon, we watched Sister Mary John open her many gifts. 

How cute...handmade stuffed animals created by one of our sisters! It's a bunny rabbit and a Piglet!

After all that celebrating, Sr. Mary John was literally doing a dance! Sr. Marie Augustine helped the festive mood by showing Sister a few African moves. 

From our hearts we thank God for Sr. Mary John's faithfulness to Him all these years, and for the many ways she has served God, our community, and our Dominican Order during this time. God grant you many more years, Sr. Mary John!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Some Images of the New Novitiate

The renovations we began some time ago in the novitiate are finally done! All the furniture has been moved in, and sisters are living there again. Here's a look at some of the major improvements which have been completed: 

 Just for comparison...This is the old floor!

 The beautiful new floor! It's basically white with flecks of brown. This floor is found throughout the novitiate now (instead of the eclectic mixture of original and patched tiles) A tremendous improvement!

Earlier this year (during Lent, to be precise), the novitiate sisters embarked on a project: make some new Stations of the Cross for our novitiate oratory. Our former set of Stations was getting a little faded and needed some updating. So all during Lent the novitiate sisters sanded, varnished and glued together crosses made of cedar wood (using wood left over from another project--and our workmen cut the pieces out for us using a saw), and finally attached the pictures for the Stations. They finished up right before Easter, which was most appropriate! We are bringing you the completed project now because the wall where the Stations hang was recently repainted and new lighting fixtures were installed.

If you are a young woman interested in a religious vocation, you might want to contact us and find out more about Dominican contemplative life! You might one day see the new floor--and pray the Stations in our oratory!