Happy Birthday!

We celebrated not one, but two birthdays this week! The first was a long-awaited party for Sr. Mary Annunciata, who turned 90 on August 15.

Sr. Mary Annunciata’s cat themed birthday cake
She loved it!
Getting ready to blow out the candles…
A happy day for everyone!

Then, on Thursday, we celebrated Sr. Maria Guadalupe’s 80th birthday! (This was the actual date.)

You know we’re in Texas because we’re having cake and Blue Bell ice cream.
Sr. Maria Guadalupe received this lovely cake as a gift, but we added the “80”.

Sr. Maria Guadalupe making a wish…
Another happy and delicious day for the community!

You may remember that we only have birthday parties for the 80th, 90th, 100th birthdays…but on the years following a sister’s 80th birthday we do have cake and ice cream on her special day in the refectory for dessert. We have a lot of octogenarians born in August, so this has been quite a month!

Sr. Mary Annunciata and Sr. Maria Guadalupe are both former prioresses of our monastery, and we are so blessed to be able to celebrate these milestones with them. May God grant them both many happy, healthy years!

St. Dominic’s Feast Day 2022

We had a low-key but joyful feast of St. Dominic this year. Of course, we began the day with prayer, followed by solemn high Mass in honor of St. Dominic. Our chaplain, Fr. Ian Bordenave, presided, and Deacon Jesus Reyes, who is a member of the Dominican Laity, served.

Fr Ian, Deacon Jesus, and friends

We had a mostly free morning, with an optional movie screened for those who wished to see it, and then we had a delicious dinner in the community room. This meant a talking meal, and talk we did!

To our great joy, Sr. Martin Marie was able to come for Mass and dinner. It was wonderful to have her with us, and we plan to bring her again.

Sr. Marie Augustine, Sr. Mary Margaret, and Sr. Martin Marie

In the afternoon, we enjoyed more recreation along with delicious Mexican fruit drinks. The mango and pina colada were especially popular!

In the evening, we celebrated Sr. Mary Dominic’s feast day. She actually had the Mass for her intentions on August 6, which happens to be the day St. Dominic actually died, but we waited to have her song until the 8th.

Singing with all our hearts
Greeting Sr. Mary Dominic on her special day

Following our song, we played several games of Domingo!–which as you can probably figure out is bingo with a Dominican twist. We had time for several people to win, and although there were no actual prizes we were happy just to be together enjoying ourselves on this day which is so dear to Dominicans everywhere.

Domingo!

And of course, we prayed for all of you on this solemn feast. May our Holy Father St. Dominic intercede for you!

Our Renewed Prioress

Things have been very busy here at the Monastery, and one thing we’ve been working on is the election–or we should say, re-election–of our prioress, Sr. Mary Margaret of the Cross Gyovai, O.P. Our community vicar, Fr. Ed Ruane, O.P., came to preside over the election and confirm it.

Still smiling after three years in office!

After the election, we shared some recreation time in our community room. We invited our chaplain, Fr. Ian Bordenave, O.P., to join us–and later he and Fr. Ed stayed for dinner in the community room, too!

The happy end of our election procedings

The following day, Fr. Ian and Fr. Ed concelebrated a Mass in honor of an abbess–with slight adjustments made to accommodate our situation. Traditionally, Dominican nuns have always had a prioress, a nun who is first among equals, rather than an abbess as the head of their communities.

The Fathers are wearing their lovely Dominican vestments

Usually, when a prioress is elected (or re-elected), she has to change job assignments around. This is because once you change one thing, everything else needs to be changed as well! We’ve all been cleaning our various departments and trying to organize things in preparation for a new sister-in-charge, if that happens. So we expect there will be some upheaval in the days to come. However, one thing that never changes is our commitment and devotion to God witnessed through our prayer life and our continual openness to His will. Whatever the future may hold, we know God will be there, and that is good enough for us!

Please do keep Sr. Mary Margaret and all of us in prayer as she embarks on this new three-year term!

Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus 2022

Today the Church celebrates the solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, an occasion to remember the immense love Jesus holds for all of us in His Heart. Sometimes it can be tempting to think that God has stepped away from His creation, or has lost interest in it. Today’s feast counters those mistaken thoughts with the knowledge that God loves us with a love beyond measure, a love so great and intense we cannot find words to properly express it–although texts from Scripture help to convey a small portion of it.

I have loved you with an everlasting love, so I am constant in my affection for you.

Jeremiah 31:3

With everlasting love I have taken pity on you, says the LORD, your redeemer…The mountains may depart, the hills be shaken, but my love for you will never leave you and my covenant of peace with you will never be shaken, says the LORD, who takes pity on you.

Isaiah 54:8b, 10

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood there and cried out: “If any man is thirsty, let him come to me! Let the man come and drink who believes in me!” As scripture says, From his breast shall flow fountains of living water.

John 7:37 -38

May we choose today to again put out trust in the overflowing, endless love of Jesus Christ! Let us come to drink at His fountain!

Twelve Years Already?

Yes, believe it or not–Dominican Life on Lotus Lane has been up for twelve years! It’s amazing how time flies when you’re having fun. We’re also celebrating almost a year on our new platform, and we’re so grateful to all of you who read and follow and like and comment on this blog. We’re praying for you!

This is also a special day because it’s the day before Pentecost–that great day when the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles and Mary in the upper room and sent them out as preachers to the whole world. In the same spirit (or Spirit) our Dominican friars in the southern province are electing a new provincial today. We pray for all the electors as well as the friar who will take up the helm, and we also pray for Fr. Tom Condon, OP, who has served so faithfully and so well for two terms. We understand he’s planning a much-deserved sabbatical, and hope he’ll return ready to work again!

May you be inspired by the Holy Spirit as you go forward through life, and may you act on the inspirations the Spirit gives you!

Queen of the May

Our May Crowning was on May 8 this year–Mother’s Day.

Sr. Mary Christine crowning Our Lady of the Pines with a beautiful crown of real flowers

Some of you may be aware that during May, our Monastery has a May Novena. And it’s not too late to send in your intentions! Please feel free to email them to us, and we will include them in our novena prayers throughout this month.

May Our Lady bless you in a very special way this month!

A Life for the World: Sr. Mary Thomas, O.P.

How did you find out about the Monastery?

I was a Texas History teacher, and I got assigned to a new classroom. I was hunting through some old Texas travel magazines and found an article on the Monastery.

How did you decide to become a nun?

I was teaching in an inner city school, lots of problems. I wanted so much to help but nothing really worked. I realized that I could help them more by praying for them in the Monastery. That’s one of the special charisms of the Dominican nuns–we pray for those preaching in the world, and that includes teaching.

What is the best thing about being a nun at the Monastery of the Infant Jesus?

Aside from the wonderful prayer life, I have to say I was very attracted by the diversity in our Monastery. We have sisters from the United States and from all over the world. It really makes you aware of the universality of the Catholic Church, and our place in it as nuns.

What advice would you give to anyone discerning a vocation right now?

Pray a lot! And, do research on religious communities, by going online, by reading, by visiting and talking with the communities. There’s such an incredible variety out there, each one with a unique spirit and a special charism. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you. Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone.