Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Towards the Heights

Today is the Solemnity of the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven!

Sometimes we may not know what to think of this feast. But we should always remember that it is a promise to each of us that if we love Christ and try to do God's will, one day, we too, will be taken to Heaven.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Providence Does Provide!

We had only just finished consuming the last chunk of the big watermelon, when a friend from the Dallas area showed up yesterday morning with FIVE watermelons!!!!!

Sister Mary Veronica had been praying for more watermelon; and when she starts praying ... watch out!

We are constantly thanking and praising God for the way He takes care of us and provides for our needs, ... even ones we don't know we have.

One of the Sisters went to the Laundry after dinner and smelled something strange. She did not have time to check it out because it was time for her Eucharistic adoration.

The memory of the strange smell kept coming back to her during adoration. So as soon as she finished she went to find our workman, David. He went to the Laundry and the smell was even worse. "It's an electric burning!" he diagnosed. The Sister and he began to feel the walls to find where it was. David found it with an "Ouch!" It had become very hot. The electrician that works on our A/C was called and quickly fixed the problem.

PRAISE GOD Whose hidden Providence saved us from a fire. Another providential moment was to realize that it the burning had happened at night, it probably would have burst into flame.

Thank you GOD,
St. Joseph and all our Guardian Angels
for protecting us from fires!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

A Surprise Visit

We were unexpectedly called to the parlor yesterday afternoon for a visit with our friend Bishop Eduardo Nevares, Auxiliary of Phoenix. Bishop Eduardo is busy throughout the Arizona diocese ministering to the 30+ ethnic groups, as well as the many spirituality communities, such as Cursillo, Charismatic, Encounter, etc.

This time he surprised us with a beautiful gift in honor of Sister Maria Guadalupe's Golden Jubilee. You can see them both in the photo above. And Sister Mary Veronica, his "spiritual mother" enjoying the scene from the background.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Summmmer time

Summer time in Texas is watermelon time. And someone recently gave us a very large watermelon. We like watermelon, and have several being chilled right now.

We want to thank all our friends who have shared with us the produce of their gardens, or sent over fruits and vegetables.
We remember you in our prayers as we consume these delicious gifts of God's creation. 

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

Friday, June 23, 2017

A Golden Jubileeeeeeeeeeee

Our prioress, Sister Maria Guadalupe, recently celebrated her Golden Jubilee (50 years) of professed life as a Dominican Nun. The reason for all the "e-s" above in the title is because we spread it over three days, instead of one. We celebrated liturgically with the celebration of Holy Mass for her on the actual date in early June. Then, because one of our Sisters was away at the Monastic Theological Studies Program, we waited until her return to have our community day of joyful sharing.

Sister especially wanted a day in which everyone could relax and enjoy themselves as on a Picnic Day. We began with a beautiful song written by our two Sisters from Mexico. Then they danced to the lovely lyrics. The two Sisters wearing the salmon colored vests were the composers and choreographers.

In the morning a 30 minute documentary was available about the Apparitions at Fatima in honor of 2017 being the hundredth anniversary. Games were available for those who wished. Treats and time to talk were the norm. We also had our meals in the community room so we could chat as we ate.

In the evening, we opened the gifts the Sisters had made for the occasion. These gifts are usually specialty items that the prioress can offer to friends and benefactors, or put out in our Gift Shop. Sometimes, these treasures are even used in our annual Easter raffle.

We concluded the festivities on Sunday by viewing the old black and white classic, The Miracle Worker, about Anne Sullivan teaching Helen Keller to communicate.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

MTS 2017 Conclusion

On Wednesday, June 7, at 7:30 pm a solemn disputatio was held in the Community Room of the Dominican Monastery in Summit, NJ,in the style of St. Thomas Aquinas.
There were two designated judges: Sister Mary Martin, prioress of the Monastery, representing the civil authorities by her gold sash; and Sister Mary Jeremiah of the Lufkin Monastery, representing the academic authorities by her red sash.

The Quaestio Disputatio of the evening was: Whether it is fitting to pursue AI (artificial intelligence) as far as possible?

 We had two teams evenly divided with four on each team. The tram presenting objections (about 15) to the disputed question were, below left to right: Sr. Mary Veronica, Sr. Isabel, Sr. Francisca, Sr. Mary Jacinta.

The team responding with their determinatio were, below: left to right: Sr. Mary of the Angels, Sr. Maria of Jesus, Sr. Mary Magdalene, Sr. Dominic Marie.

After each group gave their finest polished arguments, they were allowed time to prepare a rebuttal. The team of the objections were very conversant in the topic and supplied Dilbert cartoons for each objection.

Our Monastic Theological Studies Program concluded on Friday, June 19, 2017. In the afternoon we had a round table discussion of the topics that Fr. Allan White presented in his classes. In the evening we had presentations of various certifications.

The students presented the co-ordinators with expressions of gratitude. The students received a lovely laminated card of St. Thomas with his prayer for study on the back, a pocket calendar with a quotation from St. Catherine of Siena: If you will be what you are, you will set fire to the whole world", and finally their award for completing the entire course.

We will take a year break before beginning our next four-year cycle. This will give time for more young professed Sisters to take advantage of this Program, taught, in most part by our Dominican Friars.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

MTS 2017 Second Week

During the second week of our Monastic Theological Studies Program we had as our guest speaker, Fr. Allan White, OP. He is originally from the English Province, but is currently working in El Centro, California.  He tells us he works in the desert and the photo above certainly gives that impression.

From left to right: Sr. Isabel; Sr. Mary Magdalene; Sr. Mary Veronica; Sr. Maria of Jesus; Fr. Allan White; Sr. Mary Martin; Sr. Mary Jeremiah; Sr. Mary Jacinta; Sr. Francisca; Sr. Dominic Marie; Sr. Mary of the Angels

At evening recreation the Sisters enjoy sharing their talents, and learning how to things a bit differently. The Sisters here are working on making rosaries (left to right: Sr. Francisca, Sr. Mary Magdalene, and Sr. Mary Isabel)

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

MTS 2017

The Dominican temporary professed Nuns have been meeting for two weeks during the past four summers at the Monastery in Summit NJ. We have not had a student in this cycle of studies, but we hope to have one or two in the next four-year cycle that will begin in the summer of 2019.

On their first evening together one of the Sisters shared photos with us of her recent Solemn profession.

Last week the Sisters came from four different monasteries to learn about the Church Fathers from Father Andrew Hofer, OP. He is currently the Student Master for the Dominican Friars in Washington DC.

 From left to right: Sr. Mary Magdalene (Summit NJ): Sr. Mary Jeremiah (Lufkin-Coordinator); Sr. Mary Martin (Summit NJ Prioress & Assistant Coordinator); Sr. Maria of Jesus (Farmington Hills MI/Nigeria); Fr. Andrew Hofer; Sr. Mary Veronica (Summit NJ); Sr. Dominic Marie (Farmington Hills MI); Sr. Francisca (Kenya); Sr. Mary Jacinta (Summit NJ); Sr. Isabel (Menlo Park CA); Sr. Mary of the Angels (Los Angeles CA)

The Sisters cannot study all the time, so they could sometimes be found outside after meals. However, they did work very hard. One group even gathered on Sunday afternoon to prepare for their Disputatio which will take place the evening of June 7.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Dominican Family Fun

A week or so ago we had a somewhat spontaneous Dominican Family meeting. There were us, the nuns, our laity, and a friar, our chaplain. The directors of the RCIA programs in our two Lufkin parishes (St. Patrick and St. Andrew) had gone on a special pilgrimage to the Holy Land and wanted to share about their trip.


The event was opened up to our Dominican Laity group, and in addition to them, our chaplain stopped by as well. The meeting was held in our Large Parlor. We simply turned our chairs around and they projected the slides on a large screen attached to the wall.

We all had a delightful "trip" to the Holy Land!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

RB at TT

A Dominican friend of the Monastery of many years, Father R. B. Williams, OP, filled in for our chaplain, Fr. Marcos Ramos, OP, for a few days last week. He took the opportunity to give the community two lectures: the first, on itinerant preaching, and the second, on the Blessed Virgin Mary. Father is a full-time itinerant preacher, giving parish missions and retreats throughout the United States. He also works in campus ministry at Texas Tech University in Lubbock TX, where the Dominican Friars have charge of St. Elizabeth University Parish.

For Father R.B.'s visit this time, he sported a TT beanie that he wore most of the time. For some reason we did not get a photo of it, but it looks more or less like the one below. Father's wasn't red, but a green-gray color, and he liked to fold up the back so it looked like a cap.

Six months after the official approbation of the Order in 1217, St. Dominic dispersed the original 16 brethren to the university centers of Europe. After 800 years, the Dominican connection to the university remains strong. Besides Texas Tech, the Southern Province Friars serve as professors, chaplains, campus ministers or in research at:

Friars are also at the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio TX and Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis MO.

Monday, May 15, 2017

A Day Late...

We are a day late wishing all our women readers a Happy Mother's Day - physical, spiritual, potential. All of you were in our prayers. We had a special day, filled with flowers and joy. Below you can see our original Infant Jesus statue brought down from Detroit on the foundation in 1945. Notice all the "Easter Lilies".

You, too, can have a yard full of lilies. It's very simple. Just save your Easter lilies, or those from your church. After they have bloomed, plant them outside in the flower bed or at the base of a tree. They will grow, reproduce and bloom--all on their own--for years to come!

We even had flowers we could eat. Some of the nuns made strawberries covered with white chocolate. They were decorated to look like roses. We had enough for both dinner and supper. Delicious!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Visitors Galore

This past week we received several groups who came to visit our monastery and learn about our way of life. On Tuesday, the Choir from St. Patrick's School came and offered us a concert of almost a dozen songs. They provide the music for the school's weekly Friday Mass. The students ranged from 3rd to 8th grade. They were quite impressive ...... correct key, tremendous tone and awesome articulation. After they sang for us, we had a delightful visit in which they asked us many interesting questions.

Then, the next day on Wednesday, the second and third graders came for a visit. They were so well behaved and also asked us many questions... once they got started. They principal joined the students with her husband and precious new baby girl. Actually, one of the older students was also hers. It was a wonderful visit. When the Houston Dominican Sisters taught at the School they used to bring their students every year, but after the Sisters retired, we haven't seen the children. So this was a double treat to renew acquaintances.

Perhaps a future vocation??


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Raffle Re-visited

Last week several of the nuns were busy phoning, packing, mailing and distributing the prizes to our 2017 raffle winners. Most of them live in other states, such as Virginia or Minnesota. But we have two who are quite close.

The giant Teddy Bear, made from scratch, was won by a woman here in Lufkin. Janice Ann, who writes a weekly column, "Janice Ann's Journal" in The Lufkin Daily News. She has grandchildren that will enjoy playing with "her". Janice Ann came over one night and together we named the Bear "Annie" after Janice Ann's mother.

Our last prize to award went to a cousin of our Sister Mary Veronica. She is pictured here with her brother John (in the background) and Lonnie holds the raccoon cross-stitch and homemade frame. Lonnie enjoyed receiving the picture because as he said, "I used to hunt lots of coons when I was young."