Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Monastic Studies

At the end of May we celebrated our annual May crowning of Our Lady of the Pines.

Sr. Mary Therese crowns Our Lady.

We have not been able to post until now. But, you can follow some of events occurring here in the Monastery, by checking out our Facebook page HERE.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Our Annual 8-Day Retreat

St. Dominic on outside walk-way
Men and women who dedicate themselves to the Consecrated Life are encouraged to have a retreat once a year. This week, we are coming to the end of our annual retreat in a few days. Every year we have a preached retreat by a Dominican friar. It is a wonderful time to have space for extra rest and prayer. Although, depending upon our duties and work assignments, we may still be called upon to continue fulfilling them.

This year we are having wonderful weather. The time of year for our retreat varies, depending upon our schedule and that of the preacher. In the picture below you can see that it is not only the nuns who rest, but also the "animal" members of our monastery.

One of our many lizards sleeps contently on St. Dominic's arm

Monday, April 29, 2019

A Visitor from Trinidad

We have had the joy of a visit from Sister Ann, prioress of the Dominican Monastery in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. She has been here about a week and will continue to be with us for a few more days.

In the photo above, Sister Ann is admiring our "Rock & Roll" Rose bush. Of course, she's used to many exotic tropical flowers in Trinidad. We have known Sister Ann and her community for over 40 years. It has been a wonderful sisterly experience. Please remember Sister's brother, Victor, who died Saturday, on Sister's Birthday. May he rest in God's peace.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Holy Saturday 2019

From a famous ancient Holy Saturday homily:

Something strange is happening--there is a great silence  on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. …

Jesus has died and been buried. We all know what it is like to lose someone we love. Everything in life seems empty and useless. Our lives as nuns revolves around the chapel. Now it is empty – empty of the One Who IS our life. Every Church in the world is empty - stark - bare - just a room, a building, that has lost its purpose for existing. And this is what our lives would be without Jesus.
On this day of emptiness and silence . . .
     let us renew our efforts to be faithful to our Baptismal and religious/marriage vows.
     let us renew our commitment to be faithful to Jesus Christ, our only Savior.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Good Friday 2019

Today is the most Solemn day of the year for Catholics. It is the day on which Jesus Christ gave His life to redeem all people from their sins. He poured out every drop of His blood to bring us to Heaven.

John 19:34 - But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. 

The piercing of Jesus' side is a most profound and meaningful mystery. Saint Thomas Aquinas speaks of it in his Commentary on the Gospel According to John.

Why does the Evangelist add, but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs? ... We are told why they pierced his side, because when the soldiers saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.
To make sure that Jesus was dead one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear. It deserves notice that he does not say "wounded" but "pierced," that is "opened," because in his side the door of eternal life is opened to us: "After this I looked, and lo, in heaven, an open door!" (Rev 4:1). This is the door in the side of the ark through which those animals entered who were not to perish in the flood (Gen 7).
This door is the cause of our salvation; and so, at once there came out blood and water. This is a remarkable miracle, that blood should flow from the body of a dead person where blood congeals. If someone says that this was because the body was still warm, the flow of the water cannot be explained without a miracle, since this was pure water. This outpouring of blood and water happened so that Christ might show that he was truly human. For human beings have a twofold composition: one from the elements and the other from the humors. One of these elements is water, and blood is the main humor.
Another reason why this happened was to show that by the passion of Christ we acquire a complete cleansing from our sins and stains. We are cleansed from our sins by his blood, which is the price of our redemption: "You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things, such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot" (1 Pet 1:18). We are cleansed from our stains by the water, which is the bath of our rebirth: "I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses" (Ez 36:25); "On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness" (Zech 13:1). So it is these two things which are especially associated with two sacraments: water with the sacrament of baptism, and blood with the Eucharist.
Or, both blood and water are associated with the Eucharist because in this sacrament water is mixed with wine, although water is not of the substance of the sacrament. This event was also prefigured: for just as from the side of Christ, sleeping on the cross, there flowed blood and water, which makes the Church holy, so from the side of the sleeping Adam there was formed the woman, who prefigured the Church.

Jesus teaches us the value of suffering with nobility and generosity. Whatever one's current state of suffering ... hold a crucifix in your hands, look at it closely, and try to understand that He endured all this out of love for all of us.
H.T:  at

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Holy Thursday 2019

Today is a day of LOVE, especially of Our Lord at the Last Supper, when He washes the feet of His Apostles, institutes the Sacrament of Holy Orders and the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

Peter is embarrassed to have Jesus wash his feet. But the Lord, tells Peter,  "What I am doing you do not know now, but afterward you will understand." Our guide this Lent, St. Thomas Aquinas, reflects upon this sentence. [The words in red are ours.]

In (v 7), we see the words of Christ, which show that this action is a mystery. Christ said to Peter: What I am doing you do not know now, but afterward you will understand. This action is both an example and a mystery. It is an example of humility to be practiced: "For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you" (v 15) And it is a mystery because it signifies an interior cleansing: "He who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet" (v 10).
So what Christ said can be understood in 2 ways.
     In one way, What I am doing you do not know now, that is, you do not now understand that what I am doing is an example; but afterward you will understand, when he explained it to them saying: "Do you know what I have done to you?" (v 12).
      In another way, What I am doing you do not know now; that is to say, this is a mystery and something hidden, and it signifies an interior cleansing which only I can accomplish, and which you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand, when you receive the Holy Spirit: "I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth" (16:12).

Today, Jesus gives us an example of humility and selfless charity. He also gives us HIMSELF.

"Jesus is fully present in every Catholic church around the world... He is fully present, and He patiently waits and hopes for us to arrive for a heartfelt visit."
H.T:  at

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Spy Wednesday 2019

Today is called "Spy Wednesday" because the Gospel from Matthew (26:14-25) recounts when Judas went to the high priests to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Jesus forewarns the other Apostles that the betrayal will soon take place.

St. Thomas Aquinas, in his Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, makes some points about Judas.

Judas Iscariot ... Who betrayed him. Why is he listed? To give an example that dignity of rank does not make a person holy. Another reason is to remind us that it scarcely happens that in a large group someone is not evil. Therefore, he is listed to show that good persons are sometimes not without wicked ones: "As a lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters" (Song of Songs 2:2). Augustine: "My house is not better than the Lord's house." …

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Palm Sunday 2019

Today we begin our journey into the holiest week of the entire year. As with all the Sundays of Lent, we are still traveling with St. Thomas Aquinas. This day he comments on the cry of the Jews, which the Church has incorporated into the Holy, Holy, Holy, of the Mass.

The Evangelist says [the crowd in Jerusalem that first Palm Sunday morning went out to see Jesus and then] he mentions how they conducted themselves.

First of all, they took branches of palm trees.
Now the palm, since it retains its freshness, signifies victory. In antiquity it was conferred upon conquerors as a symbol of their victory. We read in Revelation (7:9) of the conquering martyrs that they held "palm branches in their hands." So the branches of palm trees were given as praise, signifying victory, because our Lord was to conquer death by dying and to triumph over Satan, the prince of death, by the victory of the cross. ... 
Then, the Evangelist mentions what they said:
they shouted out Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel!
Here they combine both petition and praise. There is petition when they say, Hosanna, which means, "Save us, I implore you." It is like saying: hosy, which means "save," and anna, which means "implore." According to Augustine, this is not a word, but rather an exclamation of one praying. And it is quite proper that they should ask the Lord Jesus for salvation, because we read in Isaiah (35:4): "Behold your God…He will come and save you"; "Stir up thy might, and come to save us!" (Ps 80:2).
They praise him for 2 things: for his coming and for the power of his reign or kingdom. 
They praise his coming when they say,
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
To bless is to speak good things. Now God blesses us in one way, and we bless God in another way. For when God blesses us he makes us good, since for God to speak is to do: "For he commanded [that is, spoke], and they were created" (Ps 148:5). But when we bless God, we profess his goodness: "We bless you from the house of the Lord" (Ps 118:26); "Blessed be everyone who blesses you!" (Gen 27:29). Therefore, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, for Christ worked in the name of God, because everything he did he directed to the glory of God.
Now because both the Father and the Son are the Lord,
the phrase, in the name of the Lord,
can be understood in two ways.
In one way, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, means blessed is he who comes in his own name, as Lord: "The Lord is our ruler" (Is 33:22). Moses did not come in the name of the Lord in this way, because he came as a servant: "Now Moses was faithful in all God's house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later" (Heb 3:5). According to Augustine, the better interpretation would be to say that in the name of the Lord means in the name of the Father. For Christ's words direct our minds to this: "I have come in my Father's name" (5:45). Further, there are two ways in which Christ is said to have come in the name of the Father. First, he came as the Son, which implies the Father; secondly, he came to manifest the Father: "I have manifested thy name to the men whom thou gave me" (17:6).
The people praise the power of his reign when they say, the King of Israel! Literally, the Jews believed that he had come to reign over them temporally, and ransom them from subjection to the Romans. That is why they hailed him as a king: "He shall reign as king and deal wisely" (Jer 23:5); "Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule in justice" (Is 32:1).

Sunday, April 7, 2019

5th Sunday of Lent 2019

Today's Gospel is from the Gospel of John 8 and the story of the woman caught in adultery. St. Thomas Aquinas had quite a number of insights on this famous passage in his Commentary of John. We will share some of his thoughts here, but if you would like to read more, click HERE.


1125 The Evangelist shows them proceeding with their test.
      First, they point out the woman's fault;
     secondly, they state the justice of the case according to the Law;
     thirdly, they ask him for his verdict.
1126 They point out the woman's fault when they say this woman has just now been caught in adultery. They detail her fault in three ways, calculated to deflect Christ from his gentle manner.
     First, they mention the freshness of her fault, saying just now; for an old fault does not affect us so much, because the person might have made amends.
     Secondly, they note its certainty, saying, caught, so that she could not excuse herself. 
     Thirdly, they point out that her fault is great, in adultery, which is a serious crime and the cause of many evils. "Every woman who is an adulterous will sin" (Sir 9), and first of all against the law of her God.
1127 They appeal to the justice contained in the Law when they remark, in the Law, that is, in Leviticus (20:10) and in Deuteronomy (22:21), Moses commanded us to stone such a woman.
1128 They ask Jesus for his verdict when they say, But what do you say? Their question is a trap, for they are saying in effect: If he decides that she should be let go, he will not be acting according to justice, yet he cannot condemn her because he came to seek and to save those who are lost: "God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him" (3:17). Now the Law could not command anything unjust. Thus, Jesus does not say, "Let her go," lest he seem to be acting in violation of the Law.
1129 The Evangelist reveals the malicious intention behind those who were questioning Jesus when he says, They said this to test him so that they could accuse him. For they thought that Christ would say that she should be let go, so as not to be acting contrary to his gentle manner; and then they would accuse him of acting in violation of the Law: "Let us not test Christ as they did" as we read in 1 Corinthians (10:9).
1130 Then, Jesus checks his enemies by his wisdom. The Pharisees were testing him on two points: his justice and his mercy. But Jesus preserved both in his answer.
     First, the Evangelist shows how Jesus kept to what was just
     secondly, that he did not abandon mercy (v 7). As to the first, he does two things: first, he mentions the sentence in accordance with justice; secondly the effect of this sentence (v 9). About the first he does three things: first, we see Jesus writing his sentence; then pronouncing it; and thirdly, continuing again to write it down.
1136 Then (v 10), he shows that Jesus did not abandon mercy, but gave a merciful sentence.
     First, Jesus questions the woman;
     then forgives her; 
     finally, cautions her.
1137 Jesus questioned her about her accusers; thus he says that Jesus rising up, that is, turning from the ground on which he was writing and looking at the woman, asked her, Woman, where are those who accuse you? He asks about her condemnation saying, Has no one condemned you? And she answers, No one, Lord.

1138 Jesus forgives her; and so it says, Then Jesus said: Nor will I condemn you, I who perhaps you feared would condemn you, because you saw that I was without sin. This should not surprise us for "God did not send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him" (3:17); "I do not desire the death of the sinner" (Ez 18:23). And he forgave her sin without imposing any penance on her because since he made her inwardly just by outwardly forgiving her, he was well able to change her so much within by sufficient sorrow for her sins that she would be made free from any penance. This should not be taken as a precedent for anyone to forgive another without confession and the assigning of a penance on the ground of Christ's example, for Christ has power over the sacraments, and could confer the effect without the sacrament. No mere man can do this.

Thank You for Your Justice and Mercy, Lord

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Laetare Sunday - 4th Sunday of Lent

The Gospel for today is the parable of the Prodigal Son. Many preachers, homilists on the story want to change it to the "prodigal father". They justify this by explaining it is about God's lavish love. However, this is not the correct meaning of the word, Prodigal. As we have been doing this year in looking at the Sunday Lenten Scriptures, let us turn to St. Thomas Aquinas for some clarity.

St. Thomas Aquinas is one of the best theologians on the topic of virtues and vices. He learned much of this subject from the Greek philosopher Aristotle, whom he simply calls "the Philosopher".

According to Aristotle and St. Thomas prodigality, is NO virtue. In fact, it is a serious vice and can even be a sin. It is squandering one's, or other's, riches, especially for the sake of physical pleasure. It is uncontrolled and unbridled spending. That is exactly what the younger son did when he took some of the inheritance (which was not actually due to him, at that time among the Jews) and spent it all on pleasure.

St. Thomas writes in his Summa Theologica,  II-II, Q. 119, "The Philosopher says (Ethic. ii, 7; iv, 1) that prodigality is opposed to liberality."

St. Thomas continues, "Hence the Philosopher says (Ethic. iv, 1) "that many a prodigal ends in becoming intemperate." 

Prodigality implies EXCESS, by its very nature. The form of excess easily leads to sins of intemperance, which usually involve food, drink and sex. The excess of prodigality consists not in the amount spent, but in the amount over and above what should be given.

The father exercised the virtue of LIBERALITY, in that he gave freely of his possessions; but he was not prodigal.

In the Nicomachean Ethics (IV:1), Aristotle talks about the vice of prodigality, a vice that seems particularly dominant in today’s economic world, if not pretty much inescapable. If you’re spending money that you don’t have via a credit card, it could be argued that you’re already a prodigal, and most of us are doing that. Some professors are not even sure that most of us really see prodigality as a vice, although traditional societies all seem to have agreed on this point. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The solemnity of the Annunciation

Today is the Solemnity of the Annunciation. There is an ancient monastic custom of having solemn meeting in honor of the two great feasts of the Incarnation -- Annunciation and Christmas.  This year our sermon was given by Sister Mary Therese. she has recently moved to live and work with the Solemnly Professed nuns as another step in her monastic journey. Sister spoke of the pivtoal moment of the Annunciation by the angel Gabriel when Mary said, "Yes".

Below, we have the text of Sister's sermon in honor of the Annunciation, 2019.

The Annunciation is one of the most important events in the story of Christ. It not only begins His life on earth, but also begins Mary’s life as an example to all Christians for how to respond to God’s call. Mary didn’t choose her life, she was chosen for it. The only thing she had control over, how she used her own will, was how she reacted to God’s will for her.
            Mary didn’t plan the life she ended up living. She was living her life as well as she could, being a dutiful daughter, devoted to God and trying to live her life as much in line with God’s will as she knew it to be. But she had no idea that she was specially chosen, and was probably planning on living a quiet life as a carpenter’s wife, still being free to guide her own life as much as most people are able. But then the Annunciation happened, and whatever plans she had for her life, however minor on the grand scale of things but they were important to her because they were her own, were derailed. God prepared her as much as He could for her vocation and certainly helped her along the way, but nothing could really prepare her for all that being the mother of the Messiah would entail. The decision was God’s, but all the suffering and sacrifice would have to be hers, and the only choice she had, was whether to accept.
            Everyone who is following their vocation has had their own annunciation, their own call to the life God has chosen for them. For some of us, the call was a surprise, more of an epiphany coming seemingly out of the blue, derailing our plans for our own life and calling us down a new, uncertain path. For some, the call came more gradually, growing so naturally out of our normal life experiences that it seemed more like our own idea than God’s. But however it happened, the call to the consecrated life was God’s own annunciation to each of us, and we’re all here because we followed Mary’s example in saying “yes” to letting God’s will be more important in our life than our own.
            When we enter consecrated life, we give up almost everything that we have: not just our material possessions, but also our time, our independence, our freedom to structure our own lives and make decisions for ourselves, almost everything that we once had to make us who we are and live our lives the way we want to. The most powerful thing any person has is her will, and even this we’re asked to surrender to serve God and for the common good. And we can never really give up our will, nor are we asked to; that would be too easy, and not entail the kind of struggle and growth we have to endure in order to grow in virtue to become closer to God. Instead, we still have our will, but we are continually being asked to give it up, to control it and redirect it away from what we want and instead toward what God wants.
            So in a way, consecrated life presents us with many little annunciations every day. Every time we’re asked to do something contrary to what we would have naturally chosen or wanted to do, we are reminded of our vow of obedience, that we chose to answer God’s call to give our entire life—our time, our energy, our will—to Him through community life. And every time, all of our little “yeses” support the big “yes” that we gave to God when we responded to the big call to consecrate our entire life to Him in the first place. And every time we say “yes”, we’re given that opportunity to mirror Mary’s first “yes”.
            Of course, sometimes the yes is harder than others, when we’re asked to do something we really don’t want to do or when it conflicts with something we did want to do. But was it easy for Mary to say yes? Was she happy about the Annunciation, or was she terrified? It was probably a confusing mixture of both. True, she experienced a joy and closeness to God that she never would have experienced otherwise, but she also suffered more than she ever thought she would. If it had been only her choice, would she rather have lived a quiet life as a carpenter’s wife, happily letting someone else experience the joy of being the mother of the savior if it meant that she wouldn’t have to suffer the agony of it either? Did Mary want to say yes? Does it matter? Obedience doesn’t come in liking or wanting to do what we’re being asked to do, but in turning our will away from what we want and doing what God wants us to do. So in consecrated life, every time we respond with obedience, we are saying to God, with Mary, “May it be done according to your word” (Lk 1:38).

Sunday, March 24, 2019

3rd Sunday of Lent 2019

אֶֽהְיֶ֑ה  אֲשֶׁ֣ר  אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה

When Moses asked our Lord: “If the children of Israel say to me: what is His name? What shall I say to them?” The Lord replied: “I AM WHO AM.... You shall say to the children of Israel: HE WHO IS has sent me to you” (Exodus 3:13, 14). 

Etienne Gilson, a great Catholic philosopher of the 20th century, wrote that this verse from Exodus 3:14 where God gives Moses His name, He Who Is, “the whole of Christian philosophy will be suspended.” It is the most ontological (philosophy of being) verse in the entire Bible. Medieval Scholastics identified the ehyeh (I AM) of 3:14b as the Divine name that expresses the most fundamental essence of God, which essence they identified as “subsistent being itself” (Latin “ipsum esse subsistens”). It means that God is Absolute Being, nothing exists outside of Him. St. Thomas quotes St. John Damascene as saying ehyeh (translated “He who is” from the Septuagint “ho on”) is the “most appropriate” of all divine names (De fide orth I.9). the words ehyeh asher ehyeh (above in Hebrew) are understood in Roman Catholicism to bear the meaning: “I Am He Whose Essence is expressed in the words “I am”; and he continues: “God is therefore purely and simply being. His Essence is Being”. Thus, Aquinas saw in it an allusion to God’s absolute and eternal being.

St. Thomas Aquinas also wrote about this verse from Exodus in his Summa Theologica I, 13, 11 and in his Summa Contra Gentiles, I, 22, 9-10.

For another article on this same theme, click HERE.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

2nd Sunday of Lent 2019

In his Summa Theologica (III, 45, 3), St. Thomas Aquinas asks the question, whether the witnesses of the transfiguration were fittingly chosen. His principal answer follows:
I answer that, Christ wished to be transfigured in order to show men His glory, and to arouse them to desire it. Now men are brought to the glory of eternal beatitude by Christ—not only those who lived after Him, but also those who preceded Him; therefore, when He was approaching His Passion, both "the multitude that followed" and those "that went before, cried saying: 'Hosanna,'" as related Mt. 21:9, beseeching Him, as it were, to save them. Consequently it was fitting that witnesses should be present from among those who preceded Him—namely, Moses and Elias—and from those who followed after Him—namely, Peter, James, and John—that "in the mouth of two or three witnesses" this word might stand.
By His transfiguration Christ manifested to His disciples the glory of His body, which belongs to men only. It was therefore fitting that He should choose men and not angels as witnesses.
St. Jerome says, on Mt. 17:3: "Observe that when the Scribes and Pharisees asked for a sign from heaven, He refused to give one; whereas here in order to increase the apostles' faith, He gives a sign from heaven, Elijah coming down from where he had ascended, and Moses arising from the nether world." This is not to be understood as though the soul of Moses was reunited to his body, but that his soul appeared through an assumed body, just as the angels do. But Elijah appeared in his own body, not that he was brought down from the empyrean heaven, but from some place on high where he was taken up in the fiery chariot.
St. John Chrysostom says, on Mt. 17:3: "Moses and Elijah are brought forward for many reasons." 1st, "because the multitude said He was Elijah or Jeremiah or one of the prophets, He brings the leaders of the prophets with Him; that hereby at least they might see the difference between the servants and their Lord." 2nd, " ... that Moses gave the Law ... while Elijah ... was jealous for the glory of God." Therefore by appearing together with Christ, they show how falsely the Jews "accused Him of transgressing the Law, and of blasphemously appropriating to Himself the glory of God." 3rd, "to show that He has the power of death and life, and that He is the judge of the dead and the living; by bringing with Him Moses who had died, and Elias who still lived." 4th, because, as Luke says (9:31), "they spoke" with Him "of His passage that He should accomplish in Jerusalem," i.e. of His Passion and death. Therefore, "in order to strengthen the hearts of His disciples with a view to this," He sets before them those who had exposed themselves to death for God's sake: since Moses braved death in opposing Pharaoh, and Elijah in opposing Ahab. 5th, that "He wished His disciples to imitate the meekness of Moses and the zeal of Elijah." St. Hilary of Poitier adds a 6th reason—namely, to signify that He had been foretold by the Law, which Moses gave them, and by the prophets, of whom Elijah was the principal.

Lofty mysteries should not be immediately explained to everyone, but should be handed down through superiors to others in their proper turn. Consequently, as Chrysostom says (on Mt. 17:3), "He took these three as being superior to the rest." For "Peter excelled in the love" he bore to Christ and in the power bestowed on him; John in the privilege of Christ's love for him on account of his virginity, and, again, on account of his being privileged to be an Evangelist; James on account of the privilege of martyrdom. Nevertheless He did not wish them to tell others what they had seen before His Resurrection; "lest," as Jerome says on Mt. 17:19, "such a wonderful thing should seem incredible to them; and lest, after hearing of so great glory, they should be scandalized at the Cross" that followed; or, again, "lest [the Cross] should be entirely hindered by the people" [*Bede, Hom. xviii; cf. Catena Aurea]; and "in order that they might then be witnesses of spiritual things when they should be filled with the Holy Ghost" [*Hilary, in Matth. xvii].

Let us keep to the Lenten Journey!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Knights of Columbus kick off Air Conditioning/Heating Campaign

Please check out our Facebook page for the latest news.

The Council of Knights here in Lufkin have been so helpful and wonderful to us for almost 40 years!!!

It can also be found in our Lufkin Daily News for Sunday, March 10, 2019.

We are in the process of replacing our Air Conditioning and heating units in our professed dormitory and novitiate. The AC is something absolutely necessary in the Texas sweltering summers which can run from May to October.

God bless you!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

1st Sunday of Lent - 2019

Today we have another outline for our reflection from St. Thomas Aquinas. He speaks about fasting from today's Gospel - Luke 4:1-13. It is the account of Jesus praying and fasting for 40 days and nights in the desert, then the devil comes to tempt Him, but Jesus vanquishes him.
*  *  *
St. Augustine says that it is the highest religion to imitate what we worship, so when Our Lord fasted, we ought to imitate Him in fasting. St. Thomas says there are 4 reasons that should move us to fasting:

I. God commands it.
     A. God commands it in Genesis 2:15-17, when he told Adam not to eat the fruit of a certain tree.
     B. God commands it in the Law of Moses: Lev. 16:31, "It is a sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall fast; it is a statute forever."
     C. God commands it by the Prophets: Joel 2:14, "Sanctify a fast"
     D. God commands it by the Apostles: 2 Cor 11:27b, St. Paul wrote of his many trials, including, "I have been hungry and thirsty, often without food."

II. The example of Jesus and His teaching that there are 4 things necessary in fasting.
    A. We should be cleansed of sin: Matthew 6:17, "When you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face."
    B. We should conceal our fasting from the praise of others: Matthew 6:16, "When you fast, do not ... show others that you are fasting."
    C. We should fast with long-suffering and perseverance: St. Augustine wrote in his Rule, "Subdue your flesh with abstinence from meat and drink, as far as your health will permit."
    D. We should overcome the temptations of the devil: "Get behind me, Satan."

III. The 4 harms that befall those who do not fast when they should.
    A. The evil of iniquity, Ezekiel 16:49, " This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food..."
    B. The evil of loss, especially, of eternal life, Genesis 3:23, "The Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden..."
    C. The evil of present punishment: Sirach 37:31, "Many have died of gluttony..."

IV. A 4-fold profit flows from fasting. St. Gregory the Great says,

    A. The mortification of vices.
    B. An elevation of the mind towards God.
    C. The acquisition of virtue.
    D. The reward of eternal blessedness.

Let us follow Christ into the Desert

Thursday, March 7, 2019

St. Thomas Aquinas on Lent

Today, March 7, is the actual day the great Doctor of the Church died. After the Second Vatican Council, the celebration of his feast day was moved to January 28, because March is usually in Lent and his feast could not be celebrated appropriately.

We do not have the text of St. Thomas' homilies; however, we do have some outlines. Here is one that helps us in our Lenten journey. Thomas, and most preachers in the Middle Ages, always used Scripture passages to back up what they were saying. Reading and thinking about just one sentence below can lead us to many insights. He is preaching on Luke 18:35: "A certain blind man sat by the wayside."

In the moral sense: the blind man is understood as a sinner - "They shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord." Zephaniah 1:17  As the blind does not see bodily, so the sinner does  not see spiritually.

1 - There are 7 causes that hinder the blind, which represent the 7 deadly, or capital, sins which produce spiritual blindness.
       - A swollen face is like pride: St. Augustine said, "My face is swollen so greatly, that it does not allow me to see."
       - A darkness in the air is like envy: the envious are spoken of as blind, "Their own malice blinded them." Wisdom 2:21
       - A derangement of the eyes is like anger: "My eye is consumed with grief." Psalm 31:9
       - Dust or anything that falls into the eye is like avarice: St. Augustine said, dust is like temporal things, "I wandered after temporal things and I was blinded."
       - No one can see who closes his eyes, this is a weakening from slothfulness: which is not opening one's intellectual eyes to behold  spiritual good. Boethius says, "The wicked accustom their eyes to darkness, they turn away from the light of truth."
       - Too much fluids around the eyes is like gluttony: "Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long at the wine." Proverbs 23:29 Too much alcohol deadens the spiritual and bodily eyes.
       - Little spots before the eyes is like lust: St. Augustine wrote, "Small cloudy spots ... and they darkened my heart that the sincerity of love could not be distinguished from the darkness of lust."

2 - There are 7 things that produce mental illumination. Spiritual sight consists also of 7 graces.
       - Faith - "Receive your sight: your faith has saved you." Luke 18:42
       - Humility - "For judgment I came into the world, that those who see might not see." John 9:39
       - Trials - "Gall of the fish is good for anointing the eyes." Tobit 6:9
       - Love of neighbor - "Eye ointment that you may see." Revelation 10:18
       - Abundant tears - "He went his way and washed and saw." John 9:7
       - Fervent prayer - "They cried out, 'Have mercy on us, Son of David' ... Jesus had compassion on them, touched their eyes, and immediately their eyes received sight." John 9:10
       - Reverent hearing or reading of Holy Scripture: "On that day shall the deaf hear the words of the Book, and the eyes of the blind shall see."  Isaiah 29:18

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Ash Wednesday 2019

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, a time of penance, reparation for our sins and  participation in the Paschal Mystery (life, suffering, death, resurrection) of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
It is a graced time when our Faith becomes very Incarnational - tangible, physical. It is a time when we put into special practice the three great acts of religion going back 3,000 years in our Judeo-Christian Faith tradition. Those acts are --

Prayer - connect with God through extra times of prayer
Fasting - deny yourself something you like in order to grow in self-discipline and openness to spiritual realities
Almsgiving -  give of yourself to meet the needs of other people

Unfortunately, many people today have walked away from this rich experience of community. Perhaps you might invite a friend or family member to join you for one of the special Lenten Masses, Stations of the Cross, or other activities at your Church. Without faith, people become lost and isolated. This is an anointed time in which Catholics, and all believers in Jesus Christ, around the world make an extra effort to open themselves to God and to grow in His Spirit and His Grace.

May you have a Blessed Lent!

Thursday, February 28, 2019

A Mini-Vocations Workshop

We participated in a mini-Vocation Director Workshop yesterday. On Tuesday, Fr. Francis Orozco, OP, arrived to speak with us about working together for vocations. We visited with him in the Parlor Tuesday evening. Then, on Wednesday we had two -1 ½ hour sessions with Father Francis about the characteristics of recent generations, as well as  initiatives to take in order to seek out and assist young people looking for their calling in life. Father Francis has been ordained a priest 3-4 years.  He ministered for 3 years in Lubbock, TX at Texas Tech University. He has been our Southern Province’s Vocation Director for the past year. He was very interesting and has had much experience with our wonderful young people.

Monday, February 25, 2019

A Relaxing Weekend

This past weekend gave us a number of enjoyable moments as we keep looking for Spring to come. Flowers and trees are blooming, but the temperature is still low.

On Saturday, one of our Sisters turned 89 years old. To celebrate, a long-time friend sent a "flower-cake". Perhaps you have seen them, but, we had not. Some Sisters thought it was a real cake with flowers as decorations. However, closer inspection revealed that it really was just flowers ... which was perfect for our Sister-Gardener!

On Sunday, our Birthday-Sister cooked dinner and treated us to some "Southern comfort-food" - her delicious sweet potatoes. Can you find the various ingredients? It's simple: sweet potatoes, cinnamon, honey and pineapple.

After dinner, two of our Sisters who live in the Infirmary wanted to take a walk out to the cemetery. Even though the sun was bright and warm, the air and wind were nippy and chilly. Our Infirmarian bundled them up  and helped them on their way. A little bird told Sister-Photographer what was taking place. So she caught up with them as they prepared to return to their warm and cozy rooms.

May your Sundays be restful and prayerful!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

A Happy Birthday!

Our Sister Mary Sybillina celebrated her 92nd Birthday last weekend! In honor of the occasion we had a little party with ice cream and cake in our Community Room. She cleverly "blew" out her TWO candles with one of those blow toys for a party.

Sister loves those little "solar" toys that move in the light. She has flowers, bees, and the cutest koala bear surfer. She is wonderfully alert, fun loving and creative. Sister Mary Sybillina is our last living founding Sister from the Dominican Monastery of the Blessed Sacrament in Detroit, MI.


Tuesday, January 1, 2019