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.

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

Sr. Mary Rose graciously agreed to share some insights with us! Read on for more!

How did you find our about the Monastery of the Infant Jesus?

My parents knew the nuns. I grew up here in Lufkin, and we often visited the monastery.

How did you decide to become a nun?

When I was a little girl, I always wanted to be a nun…but when I got into high school, I thought maybe I’d rather get married instead! I went to college and worked for a while, and met someone I really liked. But I realized there was a desire in my heart that only God could satisfy. So I entered the monastery, and I’ve been here ever since.

What are some of the best things about being a nun at the Monastery of the Infant Jesus?

First I have to mention the fact that we have adoration of the Blessed Sacrament every day. That’s a great privilege. The nuns here have a joyful spirit, and we take our Dominican life very seriously. And of course, the grounds are beautiful!

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

Spend time in prayer. I have a special devotion to the rosary, but you can pray any prayers you like. Go to daily Mass if possible. A retreat can be a good opportunity to get some quiet time alone with God and listen more closely to His voice. And, of course, visit monasteries! Looking at social media and reading literature is great, but there’s nothing like coming for a personal visit. You really get to know the community and experience their unique spirit and the way they live their particular charism.

Intrigued? Want more information? Please contact us by email, phone, or snail mail–all the info is here on the blog!

A Question for You

First we want to address young women.

Have you ever considered a religious vocation? More specifically, to the cloistered monastic life?

And then for everyone else:

Do you know a young woman who might make a good cloistered nun? Have you ever considered asking her about this?

Although some lucky people know almost from the beginning what they want to do with their lives, many of us here at the monastery were influenced by someone who suggested the idea of a cloistered vocation. That doesn’t mean we were necessarily happy to hear it, at the time! Our society definitely looks askance at people who voluntarily give up good jobs, prospects of marriage and children and a sense of independence to become cloistered nuns. And yet, many of those who were asked inquired–and tried it out–and liked it–and stayed. True, it’s not a call for everyone, but there are probably many people who are unaware God is calling them. (Or they’re trying not to listen, but that’s another story!)

Dominican cloistered religious life is a radical way of serving God and our fellow human beings. Instead of tending the sick, teaching, working for social justice, and other good causes, we devote our lives to prayer for the salvation of the world. While these active ministries are good and necessary, there needs to be a balance of concentrated prayer to help all those working in the world do their jobs better. And there are so many people in the world who don’t pray, who don’t know God, who have never encountered Christ. We pray for them to be led to the truth according to God’s plan for them.

We plan to have a series on Dominican cloistered vocations, which will include special topics of interest as well as interviews with Dominican nuns. We hope you will pray for us to make this series happen! Please pray, too, that the Holy Spirit will touch the hearts of young women and encourage them to investigate further. We have some good prospects right now, and we’d love to add more! Know that we are always praying for you, our readers, too. Thank you for your support!

Be My Valentine…Anytime

OK, it’s been a week, but the whole month of February is usually dedicated to the loving feelings of Valentine’s Day. At the Monastery, we don’t give valentines to each other, but sometimes people give us valentines! We were surprised and delighted with the Valentine’s Day treats we received.

Note the Fritos–always great with a Dr. Pepper

As you can see in the pictures, each valentine bag contained a small package of chips (various kinds) and a Dr. Pepper! One could say it was a Texas style valentine.

These lovely treats were given to us by Earl and Judy Parker, good friends of our Monastery who celebrated their second wedding anniversary on February 14. They met at a local retirement place and fell in love. Very sweet!

Judy and Earl Parker

And speaking of sweets, we also each received a small box of chocolates from other good friends–Tim and Susie Healy, who visit us as Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus each year. So we had both the salty and the sweet, and everybody was happy.

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be just for romantic love. We are reminded of the need to put agape, or charity, into everything we do. This is a love that transcends the self and looks for the good of another–as, indeed, all love should do.

Love is shown in so many beautiful ways. One of our sisters received this floral tribute from a former student this year. (She was a teaching Dominican before she entered out Monastery.) We are all so grateful to him–the flowers were gorgeous and they made Sister very happy! Charity in action!

The month of February is almost over, but there’s still time to tell someone you love him or her or to reach out in charity to your neighbors. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it. As St. John of the Cross wrote, “Where there is no love, put love, and you will find love.”

Do Nuns Vote?

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

We can’t say for sure that every cloistered nun in America votes, but we know that in our monastery we take our voting rights very seriously. Several of our sisters come from other countries, and when they become citizens, they are always happy to finally be able to vote. Some of the sisters get mail-in ballots; some of the sisters go out to the polls. Either way, we think it’s a great witness. People always notice nuns in full habit wearing their “I Voted” stickers!

This participation isn’t limited to national elections. We also like to keep current with state and local elections. Recently, a candidate for Angelina County Judge, Keith Wright, came out to our monastery with his wife Amy (a dietician and friend of ours) to talk to us about his platform and just what a county judge does, anyway. It was an enlightening experience for all of us–including Mr. Wright, who had probably never been in such close contact with so many nuns before!

We’ve had other local candidates visit us before, and we’re happy to meet anyone running for office–we are not committed to one political party or another. And we’ll certainly pray that all voters will work together to choose the candidate who is following God’s will, whether he/she realizes it or not.

So please, exercise your rights and vote for the candidate of your choice!