Since we usually wrap Christmas presents to go under the tree prior to the big holiday, we thought this could be our “unwrapping”–showing you all what’s been hiding under the paper!
We were blessed to receive special visits from two sets of people–Santa and Mrs. Claus on December 23, and a bunch of Santa’s elves a few days before that.
On Christmas Day, we had our traditional Christmas dinner cooked by the faithful Knights of Columbus. We are so grateful to the Knights for all they do for us–as one of the sisters said, “They are our Knights in shining armor!”
After dinner and a good nap, we came to the community room to open the community gifts (lots of puzzles, treats, and various and sundry useful items) as well as a personal gift for each sister.
We have creches set up all over the monastery. Here are a few of them:
On December 29, the bishop of Tyler, our own Bishop Joseph Strickland, came to say Mass for us. Our chaplain, Fr. Ian, concelebrated with him.
After Mass, we visited with the bishop and Fr. Ian, then all had dinner together in the community room. We had a great time!
It’s truly been a blessed Advent and Christmas season! We pray you continue to enjoy this beautiful season, and we wish you a very Happy New Year 2022!
Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, TX has declared that 2022 will be a year dedicated to Mary and the Eucharist for all of us here in the diocese. This has special meaning to us because Eucharistic devotion is an important part of our spirituality here. The Blessed Sacrament is exposed in our chapel from 8 AM to 8 PM every day, and each sister takes a turn praying with Our Lord truly present under this sacramental sign. We also welcome anyone who wishes to come and pray with us during these times.
It almost goes without saying that Mary is another big part of our lives! Each of us takes the name “Mary” as part of our religious name–usually just Mary but sometimes it’s Maria, Marie, Miriam, etc.–and cherishes a special devotion to the Mother of God, especially as Queen of the Most Holy Rosary. We pray the rosary together every afternoon at about 2:40 pm (on Sundays we say it privately) and you are welcome to join us for that, too.
Dominicans through the centuries have been devoted to Mary and the Eucharist. Legend has it that Our Lady herself gave St. Dominic the rosary as a powerful prayer to help in his work re-establishing the Catholic faith in Europe. St. Catherine of Siena, it is said, lived on nothing but the Eucharist for the last few months of her life. Our own monastery traces its Eucharistic roots back to France, where a monastery of Dominican nuns established perpetual adoration and then brought this tradition to the United States when a foundation was made here.
We feel blessed to be a part of a year that will lift hearts and minds to Mary and the Eucharist–in the diocese of Tyler, Texas and hopefully in many other places as well. If you are in the Lufkin area, please come by and spend some time with Jesus–He’s waiting for you!
We have some minor changes here at the Monastery…and on our website! We’ve uploaded the Fall issue of “Monastery Bells”, our newsletter, and you can view it as a PDF by going to https://lufkintxnuns.org/monastery-bells-newsletter. While there, you can also check out some of our back issues, which include news about our Jubilee, the infamous “snowpocalypse” of February 2021, and other things. As always, if you’d like to receive “Monastery Bells” via snail mail, just send us an email with your address and we’ll send it to you! No charge, and we never sell our address list.
The other change involves time–that is, the schedule. We’re trying something new to see how it works out. Most of the day–including Mass times–won’t be affected at all, but we will now have Compline followed by Benediction at 8 PM every night. This is just a trial, so we’ll let you know if it becomes permanent. If you’d like to check out the rest of our schedule, please visit our website. We’re always happy for people to come and join us for prayers, or adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, or just some quiet time in chapel. God bless you!
Most people don’t consider Lufkin, TX a crossroads in America–but it sure does seem like we get a lot of visitors! And we’re delighted to have them! Recently, these two sisters from the Dominicans Sisters of St. Cecilia, based in Nashville, TN, stopped by for a brief visit. They’re vocation directresses for the community, and they were busy driving to various spots in Texas to promote vocations. They promised to spread the word about us, too, which we appreciate. We’re always struck by the similarities in our habits–only the veil is noticeably different.
May God bless the Nashville Dominicans with many good and holy vocations, and may He send some our way, too!
We’ve been meaning to post this for a while…things have been a little busy! It all happened back in September, on the feast of the Holy Cross, to be exact. Sr. Mary Margaret’s actual feast day (for St. Margaret of Hungary) falls on January 18, which is too close to Christmas and Epiphany for a big day, so we celebrate it on her “mystery” day — she is Sr. Mary Margaret of the Cross. We had a fun-filled two days of games, refreshments, and a movie! Our theme for the feast was “Monastic Olympics”–but instead of doing the usual kinds of Olympic feats, our sisters competed in various monastic fields such as sweeping floors, bowing in choir, and other events.
As you can see, Sister received lots of homemade gifts to give away–just what she asked for!
We all had a great time, and we enjoyed the movie the next day, too!