Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Life with the Cloistered Domincan Nuns

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Columbus Day Celebration

We had a restful and joyous Columbus Day. It's often more enjoyable than the excessive heat of July 4th. It was very overcast threatening rain; and, in fact, as soon as we concluded the opening flag ceremony, the drops began to fall. However, that did not last long. Yes, it was a lovely day indeed: warm sun and cool breeze.

Now and then some of the Sisters enjoy grilling. So, this year Sister Mary Christine did a fine job of cooking our picnic dinner. Not only did we have hamburgers and hot dogs, but also plenty of chicken.

The day was spent playing games, eating snacks and talking. But we never, ever stop the Divine Office, heading for chapel 7 or 8 times a day to pray for you and everyone in the world.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Until next year ...

The Dominican Contemplative Novice Mistresses of the North American region concluded their annual meeting on Friday, September 29, the Feast of the Archangels. They were fortunate to have all but two of the member monasteries represented. It was a very profitable meetings and everyone is energized to put into practice all the wonderful ideas they discussed.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Novice Mistress Meeting in the Bronx

This week our Novice Mistress, Sister Mary Rose, is attending the annual Novice Mistress Meeting held at Corpus Christi Monastery in the Bronx. They are having talks in the mornings given by Father Walter Wagner, OP, the current Pastor of St. Vincent Ferrer Church in Manhattan. Almost all the Novice Mistresses have been able to attend. We are only missing the ones from Trinidad and Lancaster PA. The meeting is going very well and our hosting community is very warm and welcoming.

From left to right: Sr. Joseph Maria (Summit NJ); Sr. Mary Jordan (Marbury AL); Sr. Joseph Marie (Menlo Park CA); Sr. Mary Angela (Los Angeles CA); Sr. Mary Rani (Farmington Hills MI); Sr. Mary Rose (Lufkin TX); Sr. Mary of the Sacred Heart (Bronx NY); Sr. Emmanuella, (Springfield IL); Sr. Isabelle (Squamish, BC, Canada); Sr. Maria Pia (Bronx NY); and Fr. Walter Wagner, OP (NYC)

Friday, September 15, 2017

Retreat in the Desert

The Nuns aee making their annual retreat from September 13-20. Many people laugh when they hear the nuns are going on retreat. "Aren't you in a perpetual retreat?!"  Well, yes. But we do live in community, and sometimes we need more solitude than we normally have; as well as extra silence and time for prayer, reading, and simply resting.

We usually have a "preached" retreat in which someone preaches to the entire community twice a day on aspects of the spiritual life, plus the homily at Mass ties in with the theme of the retreat. Another kind of retreat might be a "directed" retreat, in which a person might meet daily, or every other day, with a Retreat Master and share privately what he or she has been praying about.

 In the photo above, Fr. Emmerich is explaining where he obtained his white rosary.

Our retreat Master this year is Father Emmerich Vogt,OP, from the Western Province headquartered in California. We had never met him before so when he arrived Tuesday afternoon we arranged to visit with him, before "going into the desert" Wednesday morning. Although Father Vogt is originally from Connecticut, he has lived most of his life in California. He has had various ministries: parish work, Provincial, chaplain for our nuns in Los Angeles, and now giving retreats and workshops throughout the country, and world.

The theme of our retreat is "Liturgical Asceticism".  We are enjoying the retreat and Father Emmerich's very thought provoking reflections. He is funny yet profound.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Chaplains - Old and New

Our new chaplain, Fr. John Lydon, OP, began his ministry with us on August 1. He comes from Philadelphia, but is quite acclimated to living in Louisiana and Texas. Most of his ministry has been in the area of Campus Ministry. It's easy to see that he must have done well. He is down to earth and loves people. We thoroughly enjoy his daily homilies and never know what to expect.

By co-incidence, just yesterday our previous Chaplain, Fr. Marcos Ramos, OP, successfully defended his doctoral dissertation in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Ad multos anos!!
That's more or less, Latin for "Congratulations".

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Hurricane Harvey

The recent hurricane to charge through Texas was not as windy as some, but it was very cruel none the less. We are praying for our many friends and benefactors along the coast who have been flooded by the overabundant water.

During the Hurricane itself we received many phones calls from friends and relatives to check on us to see if we were OK. Yes, we are fine and thank you for your love and concern. We only had a light rain for over a week that amounted to about 2 feet, but fortunately no flooding. Our pond did fill up as you can see.

During Hurricane Rita about 12 years ago, there was a great deal of wind and we lost over 40 trees. However, because there was not much wind we only lost one tree. It looks like it fell over due to water-logged soil.

Since Hurricane Harvey left the area, many evacuees have come up to Lufkin and other towns, from what in Texas is called the "Golden Triangle", that is, Beaumont, Port Arthur and Orange. It is called golden because of Spindletop that brought much wealth to the region. Spindletop was the first oil well along the Gulf Coast and issued Texas and the USA into the oil boom age. Now the area is populated with refineries.

Lufkin has almost 2,000 evacuees and some places have run out of food. So we sent down some food (they wanted cooked meals). In the photos below you can see our latest donations: healthy chicken soup and nourishing Texas white beans.

We pray for all who have been affected by Hurricane Harvey. May the Lord send you the Good Samaritans you need, and  the Lord embrace you with His compassion and courage.  

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A Feast of Roses

On August 23, Dominicans around the world celebrate the feast of St. Rose of Lima, the first canonized saint of the Americas. But that day is also the feast day of our own Sister Mary Rose, the Novice Mistress of our monastery. Because of her office, or duty, the sisters in the novitiate always make it a special celebration. This year it was magnificent!

Here is the Guest of Honor-Sr. Mary Rose-as she enters the Novitiate

Sister Mary Therese devised two fun and exciting Dominican games. In the first one the Sisters scoured the Novitiate building for clues on the back of Dominican shields telling them how to find the grand prize. After that there was a more "sedate" card game. Sad to say, our honoree did not win any of the games.

Here, Sr. Mary Dominic, Sr. Mary Rose and Sr. Mary Therese are playing the 2nd Dominican game. It was a card game as you can see with all the Dominican shields.

The Sisters enjoyed hamburgers for dinner and in the afternoon watched a movie, "The Secret of Ronan Inish".

There were cupcakes galore (twice as many as seen in the photo), and each one was different!!!

After Vespers, the party sisters returned to the Novitiate for a special supper prepared by Sister Mary Dominic who helps in the Novitiate. She cooked a delicious chicken dish with wine, which turned the chicken purple!

 The recipe goes back to 4-5th century Rome!!!

 After the meal it was time for Sister Mary Rose to open gifts.

Here's an unusual gift: a knitted crocodile that also functions as a scarf. I bet a little boy would like that one.

Looking on as Sister opens her gifts: Sister Mary Dominic and Sister Bernadette Marie.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Peace Be with You

"Peace be to your homes!"  (Psalm 122)

Please join us in praying and sacrificing for peace in our world, our country and in the hearts of all people.

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. This is a custom which goes back centuries to the original Dominican Monastery in Prouille, France.

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

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.