Sr. Mary Therese’s Solemn Profession

Saturday, January 21 was a day of great rejoicing for our community as Sr. Mary Therese of Divine Mercy, O.P. professed her solemn vows as a cloistered Dominican nun!

The chapel was decorated with Sister’s favorite color–pink.

Sr. Mary Therese seated up front, waiting for Mass to begin.

The Mass was celebrated by Fr. Robert Merced, O.P., provincial of St. Martin de Porres province, and the ceremony was conducted by Fr. Scott O’Brien, O.P., our community’s vicar. There were lots of Dominican priests present, as well as others! The novices from our province were able to come, too, which gave us a chance to meet them.

Sister’s two nieces…

read the first and second readings beautifully!

Sister prostrating herself during the Litany of the Saints

Sister Mary Therese made her vows in the hands of our prioress, Sr. Mary Margaret, O.P.

After Sister’s veil was blessed, she received her ring, symbol of her mystical marriage to Christ.

Presentation of the gifts

The Mass continued.

Sister greets her family…

and more family…

and more family! You can see three of Sister’s nephews to the right–they assisted at Mass.

Next, Sister greeted the community.

There was a fun reception afterward! Our guests mingled in this parlor, while Sister and her family gathered in another parlor.

Sister got to sit at the prioress’ table for the day!

Her placemat

On Sunday night, we had a special recreation and watched as Sister joyfully opened all the gifts she had received. Many will go back to the community but some she can keep!

If you would like to see the Mass and profession ceremony, please go to our website and click on “About Us” and go to “Videos and Blog”. We hope you will join us in praying for more vocations, to praise and serve and intercede before God for the whole world.

Christmas Unwrapped

As always, there’s been a lot going on! We’d like to share some of the highlights of this Christmas season with you. Yes, the Christmas season lasts until the Baptism of the Lord and that’s not until January 9, so for us it’s still Christmas!

We had a beautiful Christmas, with many lovely decorations by our talented sisters and thoughtful gifts from our benefactors.

Tree and nativity scene in our community room

One of our benefactors had these great bags made–one for each of us! Note the Dominican shield!

Everyone loves puzzles!

Fr. Ian gave us a chime to ring at the epiclesis during Mass and at Benediction–much nicer than our old bell.

What could this be? Maybe something to eat?

I think this one’s popcorn…

Might need some help getting this one open.

On December 30, feast of the Holy Family, our bishop Joseph Strickland came to offer Mass and enjoy a visit and “family” meal with us. We were also privileged to have Br. Christopher Kalan, O.Cist., from Our Lady of Dallas Abbey, staying at our monastery for his priestly ordination retreat–so Br. Christopher served as our deacon at Mass and joined us for dinner afterward, as did our chaplain, Fr. Ian.

Bishop Strickland is always so kind and friendly to us, a true spiritual father.

We presented him with an afghan one of our sisters crocheted.

Brother Christopher is a tall man…

…or maybe we are just kind of petite?

We also had a delightful parlor visit with Br. Christopher. (Hope he got enough retreat!) He will be ordained in February, and we hope he will come back to celebrate Mass for us and give us his first blessing.

All together, Christmas has been a season of many blessings. There have been some serious events too, but everything balances out and we are filled with joy and gratitude as we welcome the New Year 2023, when Sr. Mary Therese will make her solemn profession (January 21) and we are expecting some new faces at our monastery!

A New U.S. Citizen!

Sr. Irma Marie is now an American citizen!

Complete with sash, hat, flag, and certificate

Sr. Irma Marie, a native of Puebla, Mexico, has been a member of our monastic community for some time. She began working on her citizenship papers about five years ago, and on Tuesday all her hard work paid off as she was officially sworn in as a United States citizen.

Of course, we had a little party to celebrate the great day!

The festive table

Sister’s card, signed by everyone in the community

The happy new citizen with Sr. Mary Margaret

Now that she is a citizen, Sr. Irma Marie looks forward to getting a driver’s license and registering to vote. We are very proud of Sr. Irma Marie and all her hard work to achieve this goal, and we are grateful to all the people who helped make it happen–and there are many who helped! Thanks to all of you!

On an additional note, although several of us were down with a cold bug for Thanksgiving, we still managed to have a good time!

Delicious!

The majority of our dinner was donated, and as always we are very grateful to all who made our wonderful Thanksgiving meal possible. Thank you so much!

We are overwhelmed by the blessings God has granted us over the last week or so. May he continue to provide faithfully for us, and may we remain faithful to him!

Vocation Visit

A lovely group of young women came to visit us from St. Thomas University in Houston, TX. Fr. John Sica, O.P., a friend of the community and doctoral candidate at the University, helped organize the visit and gave the girls a great talk on Dominican spirituality. We gave some other talks on prayer and monasticism, and showed them our slide show and parts of our documentary (you can see our documentary on YouTube!). They had great questions, which we tried to answer–with the Holy Spirit’s help! Please pray that God will inspire many young women to consider a vocation to the cloistered life.

Sr. Mary Margaret’s Feast Day, 2022

Wow–how time flies! It’s been a while now since we celebrated Sister’s feast day, but we’ve just been super busy. We had a nice, laid-back kind of day, with gifts in the morning, an ice cream treat in the afternoon, and a little entertainment in the evening. The entertainment included a short play pondering what might have happened if St. Margaret of Hungary (Sr. Mary Margaret’s patron) had gone on a talk show. To give you a hint, the play was entitled, “I’m Your Mother, and I Don’t Want You To Be a Nun!” Don’t worry–it has a happy, monastic ending!

We would like to share some pictures from the gift opening in the morning. All the gifts you will see here were made by the sisters. Sr. Mary Margaret uses these lovely handmade items as gifts for benefactors and prizes in our popular summer raffle.

Everyone gathered around the feast day table to see the gifts…and Sister’s reactions!

A darling hat and scarf set.

The ever popular sock animals!

A nice warm poncho.

It fits–can I keep it??

Possibly a future raffle prize?

The next day, Sunday, we enjoyed a movie together as a community to conclude our celebration. Sr. Mary Margaret had a great time and so did we all!

The Gang’s All Here

Wow! We’ve had a busy time recently, with Sr. Mary Margaret’s feast day celebration and several women visiting to learn more about our cloistered Dominican life on Lotus Lane! In fact, one of our aspirants graciously took this group photo of the community which we’d like to share with you all.

There are a few sisters in this picture who aren’t on our website Community page yet, but we’ll post them soon!

If you’re interested in finding out more about our community and our Dominican way of life, please visit our website and consider writing (or calling) our vocation directress. We’d love to hear from you!

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!