Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

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.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Epiphany Blessings

Today is the great Feast of the Epiphany - the Manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles!

Image result for epiphany blessing
The Greek word epiphany means manifestation. Jesus is being manifested to all the nations.

It seems that this Feast has always been one of special interest to children, perhaps because in many countries this is the day of gift-giving. But many of us remember as children, singing parodies of "We Three Kings", usually "smoking cigars" that go BANG.

But it actually has great spiritual significance, for it shows that the Messiah-Savior came not only for his own people-the Jews-but for ALL people. Again, in many countries this is the time for blessing houses, as a way of sharing in the visit of the Magi to the Holy Father's small "house" in Bethlehem.

Our Chaplain told us of a tradition his mother had and that the adult-children have carried to this day. His mother would put aside the first Christmas card that depicts the Magi that arrived at their home. On the Feast of Epiphany she could put it above the front door. It would stay there throughout the year until the next Feast of the Epiphany.  Some of us think that perhaps this is an abbreviation of another tradition from Europe.

It is the Epiphany Blessing in which the house can be blessed by a priest or the head of the house can do the Epiphany Blessing. This is a very popular tradition in Italy.

All gather around the main dorway. Prayers are said to bless the house. Then the leader takes a piece of chalk and writes over the lentil or along the doorposts the following letters:

20  +  C  +  M  +  B  +  18
20  =   and
18  =   signify the current year 2018
 +   =   separating the numbers and letters reference Christ by the                      Cross
C   =   Caspar
M  =   Melchior
B   =   Balthasar
      These are the traditional names of the Three Kings. But the initials CMB also stand for a Latin phrase:       Christus Mansionem Benedicat  which means  May Christ bless this home.

Image result for epiphany blessing

This Blessing in  some sense is reminiscent of the blessings of the doorposts by the Hebrews in Egypt during the 10th plague, and the beginning of the Exodus.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

True Greatness


St. John the Baptist still has importance for us today. He can teach/show us the Way to True Greatness. In speaking of Jesus, he said:

He must increase;
I must decrease.

Humility is the way to true greatness; the path to complete joy.

When we a confronted with other people who have different ideas or do things differently than we, it is humility that enables us to believe that others sometimes might know better than ourselves.

Monday, January 1, 2018

A New Year -- 2018

Today in the Liturgical Calendar we celebrate Mary, Mother of God and the World Day of Peace.

We would like to share a few spiritual nuggets from our Chaplain's homily this morning.

**Every time Mary is mentioned in Scripture she is concerned about someone else. Can we say the same of ourselves? Are we thinking of others, serving others, concerned for the welfare of others?
Today is a good day to begin trying to follow Mary's example in 2018.

**At Cana, when Mary told Jesus that there was no wine, He replied that His hour had not yet come.  Perhaps as His Mother, she was thinking, "Oh, yes it has. Yes. It has!" We can look to her to guide us in our service of God and neighbor.

Have a very Blessed New Year!