Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Palm Sunday of the Passion of Our lord

 

From the Gospel:
"While they were eating, He took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "Take and eat; this is My Body." Then He took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "This is My Blood of the Covenant, which will be shed for many." (Mark 14:22-24)

Today we read the entire account of Jesus' Passion from the Gospel of Mark. This narrative will be with us the entire coming week. We need to ponder this mystery with Mary during the coming days.


Today we recount and relive the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem. But the joy does not last for long. He is soon attacked, conspired against, arrested, beaten and crucified for each of us. He does this in total selfless love.

Make an act of Spiritual Communion asking for an increase in faith, and reflect on the Mystery of the Eucharist


Saturday, March 17, 2018

A Castle Visit

In mid-week we enjoyed an interesting visit with Fr. Nathan Castle, OP of Holy Name Province in the western third of the United States. He was home visiting family and friends in the Groves, Texas area near the Gulf of Mexico. Some of the Sisters have known Father Nathan and members of his family for many years.

Although much of his ministry has been with young adults on College campuses,  he is now assigned to itinerant preaching, which involves many different audiences. He told of us the many kinds of retreats he gives: to prison inmates, those struggling with addictions, healing of memories, etc. We teased him that he was "auditioning" to give us a retreat.

He even gives a retreat on the classic film, The Wizard of Oz. For example, his retreat of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is called "The Red Slippers" after the sparkling shoes that Dorothy clicks together to take her home. In fact, he has written a book on the spirituality of Oz, And Toto, Too: the Wizard of Oz as a Spiritual Adventure. His main goal is to find new ways to reach out to those who have no religious affiliation.

May God bless Father Nathan and his preaching
for the Kingdom of God!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Thursday of the 4th Week of Lent



From the Gospel:
 "The works that the Father gave me to do, and that I perform, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me." (John 5)

The work of Our Lord for which the Father sent Him is the salvation of souls.

Pray the Our Father for the Holy Souls in Purgatory, while meditating on the gift of eternal life.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Wednesday of the 3rd Week of Lent


From the Gospel:
"... whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven."  (Mt 5:19)

It important to respect the Ten Commandments, because they are the basic "law" given by God to the Jewish people through Moses, and passed on to Christianity through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

And yet, the Ten Commandments are not a property of any religion. They are part of the natural law written into the human heart by our creator, God almighty.


Consider each of the Ten Commandments and make a firm amendment to change a habit in your life that leads you to sin.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

A Musical Visit



As the Sisters from the Association Council were leaving us, we welcomed another Nun from a Dominican Monastery in Guadalajara, Mexico. Sister Leticia, OP, was in Albuquerque, New Mexico, visiting her mother who recently had surgery. She wanted to stop by for a visit since we are the closest Dominican monastery to them. She brought with her a lovely statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe with vigil lights. You can see it on the TV tray in front of Sister Leticia and our prioress, Sister Maria Guadalupe.



Sister had previously spent three years in the United States, so her English was fairly good. All the Sisters could understand her. The past few years she has been studying music. The evening before her return to Mexico Sister wanted to serenade us. She played a few solos on the violin and piano, but also played with the two others Sisters from "South of the Border".


Tet -- the Year of the Dog


We celebrated the Lunar New Year on the evening of the First Sunday of Lent. Normally Lent is not a celebratory time for us with treats. But in the Liturgical calendar, the Sundays of Lent are not strictly considered Lent. This is because every Sunday is a "little Easter" commemorating the Resurrection.

First step is to pick up some snacks of Vietnamese treats: young coconut (we had some home made this year), jack fruit, lotus seeds, sesame seed cakes, ginger candy, nuts  (peanuts or cashews), and good old American popcorn. Then we take a "lucky envelope" off of our special yellow Vietnamese tree.

Sr. Mary Therese reads us the character traits of "dog" people.
You can see our Vietnamese tree and the red envelopes behind her

We then enjoy a beautiful dance, usually performed by the Sisters in the Novitiate. This year they carried candles in each hand and it was very beautiful. Sometimes they use umbrellas or hats or other objects.





The envelope contains real money given us by friends and relatives. With the money we were able to "buy" tickets to play the various games. Each year the games are different because they are made up to fit the theme of the New Year. But the last game is always the same, and the most difficult.




We have a large (6 inch square) "die" with animals on the 6 sides. After the cube is thrown up in the air and crashes, if our tickets match the animal on top, we win. Finally, with our accumulated tickets we redeem them for prizes.




Monday, February 26, 2018

Association Council Meeting

We had the joy and privilege of hosting the annual Council meeting of our North American Association of Dominican Monasteries on February 19-23. They members came from all points of the USA and Canada--New Jersey and New York, California, Vancouver, Canada.

left to right: Sr. Mary Jeremiah (TX); Sr. Mary Catharine (NJ); Sr. Maria Christine (CA); Fr. Walter Wagner (NY); Sr. Marie Tersidis (Van, BC); Sr. Mary Rose (TX)

Monday, February 19, 2018

Monday of the First Week Of Lent


From the Gospel:
"Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers or sisters of mine, you did for Me." (Mt 25:40)

Every human being is a special creation and gift of God, no matter their size, ability or circumstances. When the most vulnerable and defenseless are harmed, no one is safe. Do we want to know why there are school shootings and heinous crimes?

We need only look into our hearts. Is there any resentment or anger, even a little impatience with others. Look at our society --  violence and using other people as objects/things are rampant. Lent is the time to root these out.

Offer a Hail Mary for the safety and protection of all human life and those most vulnerable in our society.

"Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, prayer for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen."

Friday, February 16, 2018

Friday after Ash Wednesday



From today's Gospel:

"The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast." (Mt 9:15)

Jesus is the Bridegroom of every soul. How do we treat him? Fasting is not about punishing ourselves, but opening ourselves up to the needs of others. Fasting need not be a 30-day marathon on bread and water. Depending upon your circumstances, it can be as simple as eating 1 piece of candy instead of 3, or 1/2 a piece of pie rather than the entire piece. These are little things everyone can do without attracting much notice.

Consider fasting today in some way or abstaining from a favorite activity, and pray that you will always be obedient to God's will.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Ash Wednesday & St. Valentine

Today is a "God-incidence". It is Ash Wednesday (the beginning of the season of penance and self-denial) and also St. Valentine's Day (a day to share loving thoughts).


Some people think they are an "odd couple", contradictions. But not really. They go perfectly together. In fact, a loving Heart is our Goal for Lent. Union with the pierced Heart of Jesus Christ Who died on the Cross for us sinners, the entire human race, is the purpose of our lives. Jesus offers us His Heart every day in Holy Communion. His love is faithful and enduring. Trust Him with your heart.

Each year the Dominican Family in the Southern USA Province offer a short reflection for every day of Lent. Today's is by Fr. Philip Neri Powell and is very powerful . Please check it out HERE.

It's Lent!

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of our 40-day pilgrimage to Easter--the Resurrection of Jesus and our own small resurrection to a new and deeper Christian life.



The first act is to receive the ashes on your forehead (or on top of your head, as in Italy), made from last year's palms, to remind us of our mortality, frailty, and dependence upon God.

Lent is a special liturgical season of discipline, purification, self-sacrifice, to help us grow in holiness and union with God, to grow in love and patience and generosity with everyone we meet.


As you begin this Lent, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. The 3 Great Works of Lent are Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving, taken from our Jewish roots. It is best to do one practice from each category: prayer, fasting or self-denial, almsgiving or mercy. Below are a few suggestions of practices you can choose from, or ask the Lord for special ones. 


PRAYER -
  • Say a morning offering first thing in the morning (even before getting out of bed).
  • Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet every day.
  • Read a chapter or two of Scripture each day and try to memorize a verse (repeat it throughout the day).
  • Go to daily Mass, if possible.
  • Add 10 minutes of silent prayer to your day.
  • Pray the Stations of the Cross each Friday.
  • Pray the rosary each day.
  • Pray for each person with whom you come in contact.
  • Spend 10 minutes prayerfully thinking about the Scriptures for the day's Mass.

FASTING -

  • Give up TV and movies, including online.
  • Give up salt, pepper, and condiments.
  • Give up eating between meals.
  • Give up social media.
  • Avoid phone use after 8 p.m.
  • Only get news from a printed source.
  • Give up listening to recorded music.
  • Give up taking pictures.
  • Give up the snooze button.

ALMSGIVING - 
  • Serve the poor once a week at a soup kitchen.
  • Give away some of your nice clothes to those in need.
  • Donate 10% of your income to the poor.
  • Write one letter of gratitude to a different person each day.
  • Give kind attention to one lonely or isolated person each day.
  • Whenever you start to say something negative, say something positive instead.
  • Visit the elderly or sick once a week


(The above bullet suggestions are courtesy of the Nashville Dominican Sisters)

Friday, February 9, 2018

The Lord has given them food...

Periodically we have someone come to speak to us about nutrition. The title of this post comes from Evening prayer on February 8. They were very striking and appropriate words because we had just come from an hour long session with Amy Wright, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator.



There was an instant bond between the community and Amy, and her mother, Nancy, who also joined us. The Sisters were full of questions and so we hope to have Amy return for a follow-up presentation.



At the end of Amy's talk, Nancy wanted to leave us with a gift of her own. We had a few moments of prayer and Nancy sang a beautiful worship song. Nancy not only has a beautiful voice, but directs an interdenominational choir in Jasper, a town about 55 miles southeast of us. A member of her choir happens to be one of our confessors, Father Ron Fosage, MS. Father is the pastor of St. Michael Church in Jasper; he is one of those people everyone seems to love.



We praise the Lord for these two new vibrant Christians in our lives.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

I promise obedience ...


On January 27, 2018, we had the great joy of witnessing the First Profession of Sister Mary Therese of the Divine Mercy. The occasion was extra special because all of her immediate family were able to attend and stay the weekend.

Niece Sophia reads from the Song of Songs
Sister's father reads from 1 John





Sister Mary Therese pronounces her First Vows

Father Lydon blesses her scapular
Nephew Sebastian looks on as Sister receives her black veil



The celebration extended over a period of several days for Sister and the Community:
      • Saturday - the actual day with guests
      • Sunday - the Community visits with Sister's family
      • Monday - Sisters in the Novitiate open her gifts from the Community
      • Tuesday - the Professed Nuns go to the Novitiate to see her gifts




Besides all this, Sister had the canonical 8-day retreat before her Profession as required by our Constitutions and Canon Law.



Now, Sister Mary Therese is energized and eager to begin a new phase in her Dominican religious life and have many new experiences. 

May she become like her patron, St. Therese of Lisieux,
"Love in the midst of the Church".

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Sister Nuns

We had the joy of visiting with Sister Catherine Marie of the Abbey of St. Walburga, a Benedictine Monastery in Colorado, this past week. Sister is originally from here in Lufkin, and in fact, in the youngest sibling of our Sister Mary Rose.
 

Sister Catherine Marie is in town for a visit with her parents and family before making her First Profession at her Monastery. We are very happy for her and pray the Lord blesses her with a most fruitful contemplative life for the Glory of the Most Holy Trinity and the salvation of souls.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Faith Formation

We are involved in the 3 RCIA programs of the two local parishes through our ministry of prayer. We recently met with some of the candidates from these programs. The English-speaking group from St. Patrick's came to see us on Sunday, January 14 in the morning.


The Spanish-speaking RCIA group from St. Patrick's came yesterday afternoon, Sunday, January 21, to visit with us.


We had a very good discussion about the sacraments of initiation. This was led by Sister Irma who gave a talk on Baptism and Confirmation


We look forward in the future to meeting the candidates of St. Andrew's RCIA program.

Monday, January 15, 2018

A Jubilee for the Angels


Sister Irma of the Angels celebrated her 25th anniversary of religious profession on January 10.  Father Raymundo Garcia, parochial vicar at our local parish, St. Patrick, was the principal celebrant with our Chaplain, Fr. John Lydon, OP, concelebrating and assisted by Permanent Deacon Jesus Reyes.


Sister Irma is originally from Puebla, Mexico and transferred to our monastery a few years ago. She currently cooks for our Chaplain and cleans his apartment. Sister is also a wonderful seamstress. She is very creative and you may have seen some of her beautiful work in our Gift Shop.

Sister Irma renews her vows in the hands of our prioress.

We had our Mass at 9:30 instead of 7:20 and Sister had a good number of guests. After the Mass she greeted them in the parlor and then we provided a light lunch for them.


Another Sister from Mexico cooked a delicious meal for us which we ate as we enjoyed one another's company in the Community Room. In the evening we gathered to be with Sister Irma as she opened gifts from the Sisters and local friends. It was a festive day for everyone as we celebrated the milestone together.


It was also a day of blessings for the Church in remembering the years of consecrated love and service Sister Irma has offered to God during these past 25 years, as Father Raymundo mentioned in his homily.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Characteristics of a Christian

We were delighted to have a lecture by the pastor of our St. Patrick parish, Rev. Gavin Vaverek. He came over on the morning of January 9 to give us the "Ten Characteristics of Our Christian Identity" which he based on talks by our Tyler Bishop Joseph Strickland.

The talk was very interesting, imaginative and thought provoking. You might want to examine yourself on the characteristics. We will list them below. Now remember, each word is important.

  1. Joyfully Catholic
  2. Divinely Inspired
  3. Passionately Committed
  4. Wisely Obedient
  5. Solidly Orthodox
  6. Generously Merciful
  7. Happily Serving
  8. Culturally Aware
  9. Nobly Simple
  10. Historically Rooted
Another way to consider these characteristics is to reflect on how they are manifest in the lives of Jesus and Mary, or one of your favorite saints.

Epiphany Blessings - part 2

This week has been one of many blessed events, unfortunately we are a little slow in recording them. We will try to keep up with God's shower of graces!!

Not only is the Feast of the Epiphany a deeply significant religious day, it is also our day of sharing fun and gifts with one another. The Professed Sisters entertain the community in the morning and the Sisters in the Novitiate usually have the evening.


The Professed Sisters are champions at providing enjoyable games for us. We divided into three teams and began with a bean bag toss. Poor Frosty the Snowman didn't get much to eat.



Our two MCs were right in the Christmas spirit. They explained their unusual costumes by saying that they were living in the PRESENT!








Sister Mary Margaret, on the left, is filling us with funny puns; while on the right, Sister Mary Gabriel enjoying the bean bag toss.

In the photo above, Sister Mary Gabriel is demonstrating how to move 10 ping-pong balls from one bowl to another. In the photo below, Sister Mary Jeremiah is racing to get the task completed in the time allotted ... which she did.


Another game involved jigsaw puzzles using common products from the kitchen ---





The morning concluded with an hilarious game with gift bags. This game has become something of a tradition because it is so much fun. We each received a bag filled with mysterious goodies. But to keep us from becoming too attached or selfish, we had to move them around the circle while a Sister read us the poem of "The Night Before Christmas". This version was annotated with many "lefts" and rights". Every time one was mentioned we passed the bag in the correct (sometimes) direction. By the end of the poem the original bag was half way across the room. You might want to try it next year. It is lots of fun with many laughs and goofs.