Monday, November 23, 2015
We just finished a beautiful retreat on mercy with Fr. Jorge Rativa, OP. Father presented a lot of very profound information in an informal, upbeat style, using PowerPoint slides and eliciting participation from the nuns, using prizes as incentive! The conferences were held in our community room and led us all to meditate deeply on the mystery of God's mercy. Father skillfully tied in the Jubilee Year of Mercy as well as our own Dominican Jubilee to bring his points home. We also had a very moving healing service one afternoon in the chapel. The retreat was really amazing and made us all humbly grateful for the gift of mercy God gives to each one of us at every moment.
Father brought us a Dominican jubilee candle from the New Orleans celebration, which we used as part of our prayers before and after each conference.
Fr. Jorge with one of his many PowerPoint slides
Most of the community with Fr. Jorge after the last conference
Thank you so much, Fr. Jorge! We hope you will come back again some time soon!
Sunday, November 22, 2015
Christ is not a king who dominates us, he doesn’t treat us like subjects, but elevates us to his own dignity. He makes us reign with Him, for as the Book of Revelation says: “He has made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father” (1:6). But reigning like Him means serving God and our brothers and sisters, a service that flows from love. To serve out of love is to reign: this is the kingship of Jesus.
--Pope Francis, Solemnity of Christ the King, 2015
Saturday, November 21, 2015
Led by the Holy Spirit, the holy Maid without spot is taken to dwell in the Holy of Holies. By an angel she is fed, who is in truth the most holy Temple of our Holy God. He has sanctified all things by her entry, and has mad godlike the fallen nature of mortal men.
Anne the all-blessed cried out rejoicing: "Oh Zechariah, take her whom the prophets of God proclaimed in the Spirit, and lead her into the holy temple, there to be brought up in reverence, that she may become the divine Throne of the Master of all, His Palace, His resting-place, and His dwelling filled with light."
--from Great Vespers, Orthodox Liturgy for the Entry of the Most Holy Theotokos into the Temple
Today the Church prays in a special way for all those men and women called to the contemplative life. May many more come to join us in this way of life!
Saturday, November 14, 2015
St. Dominic, pray for us during our retreat and always!
It's time once again for our annual community retreat! We'll begin this evening and end on the morning of Monday, November 23. Our retreat master will be Fr. Jorge Rativa, OP, of the province of St. Martin de Porres (the southern Dominican province). We look forward to his conferences!
We are keeping the people of Paris, France in our prayers in a special way at this time. Every day our community prays in a special, specific way for peace among Muslims and Christians in our world and we feel this prayer is more urgently needed than ever. May God grant us the peace we so long for, and keep us all safe from further terrorist attacks!
Sunday, November 8, 2015
November 7 was a cold and rainy day in Lufkin, but the Monastery chapel was filled with light and music and joy as we celebrated our opening Mass for the 800th Jubilee of the Dominican Order! The chapel was filled with guests and many stayed to continue the celebration afterwards with a lovely dinner and then recreation with the nuns.
The chapel all decorated for Mass and general celebration
We were delighted to have all the branches of the Dominican family present at the Mass! There were friars (represented by our chaplain, Fr. Marcos Ramos, OP), several members of our local chapter of the Dominican Laity, active sisters represented by the Dominican Sisters of Our Lady of Fatima (who come from Puerto Rico and are currently working in our diocese), and of course the nuns! The first three groups formed a traditional Dominican procession and processed into chapel as the nuns sang the Jubilee Hymn, "Laudare, Benedicere, Praedicare" accompanied by organ, guitar and African drum. And of course everyone joined in the singing!
Mass. From left: Deacon Jesus Reyes, Fr. Marcos Ramos OP, Fr. Ron Foshage MS, Fr. Bill Manger, and Fr. Gavin Vaverek
There was a beautiful ceremony involving lighted candles, symbolizing Dominican preaching:
Fr. Marcos hands a lighted candle to Sr. Maria Guadalupe
The four branches of the Dominican family: a friar, a sister, a lay member, and a nun
After the Mass and dinner we met again in the Gate Parlor to share about Dominican life and how the Dominicans have influenced different people. It was a beautiful experience!
Some members of the Dominican Laity in the Gate Parlor
The Dominican Sisters of Our Lady of Fatima were all talented musicians and they played and sang several songs for us!
It was truly a blessed day and a wonderful start to our Jubilee year! Thanks so much to all who came and prayed and celebrated with us. And if you missed it this time, don't worry...we'll have other special celebrations throughout this Jubilee year!
You can see a few more pictures of this eventful day on our website, here.
Saturday, November 7, 2015
Many people are familiar with the traditional method of doing lectio divina...it's a great way to go deeper into Scripture or other solid texts (like the writings of the Fathers of the Church) through prayer. The Dominican Order has started a new website for the Jubilee Year (which begins today!) that features traditional lectio on the Mass readings for each day with a distinctively Dominican feel. We hope you will check it out and use it for your own growth in prayer! We plan to! Keep in mind that the Mass readings may vary from the usual due to Dominican feasts (like today). We have a link to this site on the sidebar, or you can go to the Order's website here.
Hopefully pictures of our fantastic opening Mass of the Jubilee Year will come soon!
Friday, November 6, 2015
On Saturday, November 7, 2015, the Dominican Order will open its 800th year jubilee! There will be special celebrations at all the Dominican houses--including our monastery! We welcome you to join us for Mass at 10:30 AM this Saturday. You can also visit our monastery any time during the Jubilee celebration (which lasts until January 21, 2017!) and receive a plenary indulgence by fulfilling the usual requirements (see the official documents here.)
In addition to preparing for the Mass (which includes the Jubilee Hymn--you can hear and see it here) we've been decorating our lobby and outside area. Here are some candid shots!
Sr. Mary Rose, Cloe, and Sr. Mary Gabriel hard at work making a collage of Dominican martyrs
Sr. Mary Rose, Cloe and Sr. Mary Thomas with the finished product!
Cloe, Sr. Mary Thomas and Sr. Mary Gabriel with another creation--Dominicans saints on display!
Sr. Mary Jeremiah puts up a poster of Saints Dominic and Catherine in the lobby
We almost never go outside to the front of the monastery...so if you've been to the monastery lately, you know this isn't a new garden. But we saw it for the first time today and were very impressed! Many thanks to Sr. Mary Christine for her endless creativity!
Please keep us in your prayers as we enter into this Jubilee celebration! We will be remembering you in our prayers, too!