Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Monastic Funeral

With the recent funeral of Sister Mary John, we thought we would describe how we have our funerals.

Almost all of our Sisters have died here at the Monastery surrounded by the other Nuns, singing the Salve Regina and offering various prayers. Once a Sister dies, we accompany her body until burial.

As is the custom here in the USA, the remains are taken to the funeral home for preparation for burial. When the body of our deceased Sister is returned to the Monastery the casket is placed in our choir at the gate where we receive Holy Communion. A Sister remains in prayer "with her" until the funeral. Although the Blessed Sacrament is not exposed until after the funeral, we still keep our times of adoration in the chapel and pray the Psalms for the deceased Sister. In this way, the entire Psalter is usually prayed 2 or 3 times.


Since the establishment of our Tyler Diocese, it has been the practice of our local Bishop to officiate at the services if he is in the diocese. Bishop Joseph Strickland was here for the occasion. Because Sister Mary John had been our prioress for a number of years, a large number of local friends of the community came, as well as some of her relatives.


While we walk to the cemetery with the hearse, the laity go to the cemetery from the outside. 


They can enter through a special gate, which is only opened for those who take part in the services. We keep our enclosure by standing on one side of the casket and the laity on the other. In the photo below you can see the laity have already taken their places before we arrive.




After the Mass and Committal in our cemetery, we provide a lunch for all those who come. Then we all meet in a parlor to visit and share stories about the deceased Sister.

 If possible, that evening the nuns gather in our Community Room to share about the "big event".

Monday, July 17, 2017

Some Background ...

As we await the arrival of our Bishop and the beginning of Sister Mary John's funeral. Here is a little background to her death. Sister Mary John had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer just 3 months ago. One of the Nuns wrote to our Dominican Laity friends in Cedaredge, Colorado which we would like to include here.

We awoke this morning to knocks on our cell doors. It was about 3:20 am. After quickly dressing, we made it over to the Infirmary and gathered around Sr. Mary John's bed. She had already passed on at 3:17. We sang the traditional Salve Regina as we waited for Fr. Marcos, our chaplain, to arrive for some final prayers for the dead.

Sr. Mary John was amazing in her illness. She accepted the fact that she had cancer so beautifully.  And indeed it was an aggressive form, just like my mother's. The hospice nurse, who cared for Sister said that "Sr. Mary John should be in intense pain right now, like our other patients who we literally have to pour pain medicines down." It was incredible that Sr. Mary John was only on a minimal pain level. Sister Mary John also joked and laughed with the people who came to see her and she was cheerful and radiant to the very end. She slipped away without any struggle just like floating directly into the arms of Jesus. It was quite a testimony to us and to her nursing staff, who now would like to come to her funeral.


Once a Sister dies we like to have one of us with her until the funeral begins. After the body is returned from the funeral home, the casket is placed in our choir and we pray the psalms non-stop (day and night) until time for the Mass of the Resurrection. This means that she is also in our midst us for the last time as we chant the Liturgy of the Hours.



Rest in God's Peace

Our Sister Mary John passed into eternity in the early morning hours of Friday, July 14.


Sister was almost 77 years of age. She had been our prioress for 4 terms, equaling 12 years in all. From the time our current buildings went up in the late 1960s, she oversaw maintenance of them. Sister filled many other assignments as well. She was cook, assistant bursar, responsible for our embroidery department in the Cloistered Workshop when we were sewing vestments. Sister learned to play the violin from one of the other nuns (Sr. Mary Lucy, who died July 3, 2014), and did it well. She not only contributed to our monastery, but also to the Association of Monasteries in North America as Councillor and President for 3 terms.

As you can tell from the photo above Sister had a good sense of humor and was even our local "Monastic Sheriff"!

Sister's funeral will be held this morning at 10:00 am in our Chapel and cemetery. We will be reporting on it in a day or so. Please remember her and her family in your prayers. God bless you.



Tuesday, July 11, 2017

North American Nuns on "pins and needles"

The Nuns of North America have been on "pins and needles" waiting to find out who the new representative to the International Commission of Dominican Nuns will be for the next six years.



There were three nominations given to the Dominican Master General, Fr. Bruno Cadoré (photo above). Then, it was his task to choose one of them to be the representative. Finally, after months of anxiously waiting and wondering, our Sister Mary Rose, received an email that she had been chosen as the representative. Her first duty was to send in some information about herself and a photo, which we want to share with you below! The next task will be to attend a meeting of the Commission in Bologna, Italy in October 2017. It will be her first trip to Europe.


Sister Mary Rose of Joy Carlin, O.P., was born in 1978 here in Lufkin TX. She is our only “native-born” vocation. The third of ten children, her first introduction to our Monastery was when her mother brought her to meet the nuns at just a few days old. She was subsequently baptized in our chapel--a very unique achievement! She earned a BA degree at Magdalen College, now Northeast Catholic, in Warner NH. It was during the year working after graduation that a longing for the cloister, which she had felt in childhood, returned. She entered the Monastery on June 11, 2000 and made her solemn profession on February 25, 2006.
In 2008, Sister Mary Rose helped to edit Vocation in Black and White: Dominican Contemplative Nuns tell how God called them, a collection of vocation stories from Dominican nuns throughout the USA. Our Association of Dominican Monasteries sponsored this project in honor of the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Dominican nuns. Sister is currently our Novice Mistress and an organist.

We are all very happy and excited for Sister.
Please join us in praying for this new way of preaching
God's glory and the salvation of souls.


Thursday, July 6, 2017

A Peaceful July 4

We hope all our readers from the USA had a pleasant Independence Day celebration. Our day was one of relaxation and enjoying the company of one another. As is our tradition, we officially began to day with raising our flags, patriotic songs, prayers and the pledge of allegiance.


The picnic day is one of our few "talking" days, which usually engenders much gratitude for the other days of Silence.


Besides our normal hamburgers,some friends gave us fried chicken. Here, one of the Sisters settles for just A PIECE of watermelon!



Tuesday, July 4, 2017

We're on Facebook!

This past month of June, we began posting on Facebook!!!
You will find our blog posts in addition to other bits of news.


So, do come an visit us there when you're in the neighborhood.


Our address is Dominican Nuns Texas