Sister Mary Annunciata’s Funeral

Sister’ funeral Mass was held on February 27, 2023. It was a moving ceremony presided over by Bishop Joseph Strickland, and many of her remaining family members and a few friends were able to attend.

Before the funeral, Sister’s body lay in state in our chapel. We kept vigil with her all day and most of the night. We pray the Psalter as we stay with Sister–starting at the beginning and continuing on until time for the funeral, repeating as necessary.

After distribution of the Holy Eucharist, the funeral ceremonies begin:

Praying and incensing the casket.

Then we begin the procession to the cemetery, which is located on our property. THe cross bearer and acolytes (holding candles) go first, then the sisters, followed by the clergy and the Bishop. Then comes a car carrying some of the elderly sisters who can’t walk as far as the cemetery, and finally the hearse.

As the sisters move into the cemetery, the pall bearers bring in the casket.

Sister’s family in the front row.

And at the end, the prayers at the graveside and the final commendation.

We sang the “Magnificat” at the end, which is our custom, and then processed back to the monastery. It is hard to say goodbye to Sr. Mary Annunciata, but we hope and pray that we will all be reunited one day in the glory of heaven. As we have mentioned before on this blog, we go out to the cemetery for eight days following the funeral to pray a decade of the Rosary at the grave and sing a hymn, usually one that had special meaning for Sister. We can’t be certain, of course, but it does seem like Sr. Mary Annunciata has been interceding for us already!

Eternal rest grant to her, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

COVID-19 Strikes the Monastery

Believe it or not, no one in our monastery had ever come down with COVID until just a few weeks ago! We were always careful about handwashing, wearing masks when out, and got our various shots, so maybe we were getting a little complacent. But somehow–somewhere–the COVID-19 virus entered our monastery and turned everything upside down for a couple of weeks. In fact, we’re still recovering.

It started small…just one sister. Then two more, and before we knew it more than half the community had it! The brave sisters who withstood the infection were nearly run off their feet bringing meals, keeping regular prayer times (although we did recite everything), checking on the sick, monitoring the telephone and dock (where we receive deliveries), and trying to keep from getting sick themselves. The only major observance we had to drop temporarily was adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. We hope we can return to this soon!

Cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, Lysol, and gloves–essentials for dealing with COVID. The vases were filled with beautiful roses and given to each of the sick sisters. What a lovely thought! Carts were used to transport meals and medical supplies over to the dormitory from the kitchen.

Thankfully, everyone is out of isolation now and back in the community. We are singing at Mass and the Liturgy, and we even began having a short period of recreation. But for now we are still using disposable plates and wearing gloves when we pick up our meals from the table. No COVID rebound, please!

Our recent adventure with COVID-19 has made our prayers for those who suffer all the more heartfelt, since we now know first hand the struggles people go through. We are fortunate to be a community, where people can pitch in and help out when things get bad. We have always prayed for the victims of COVID, and continue to do so, although as mentioned we now have a more personal understanding of the magnitude of the problem. We have been opening up a little (we’ll bring you a post on Sr. Mary Annunciata’s funeral soon, where we went without masks) and hope to do more as time goes on. In the meantime, let’s keep each other in prayer.

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!

Pope Francis’ Consecration of the World to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Chapel at our monastery on the solemnity of the Annunciation

Pope Francis is consecrating the world–and especially Russia and the Ukraine–to the Immaculate Heart of Mary today. He’ll be doing this about 12:30 PM Central in the USA and you can watch it on the Vatican website. Today at Mass we made the consecration ourselves, led by Father Ian. Here’s where you can download it if you’d like to do the same! Let us all be united in prayer for peace in Ukraine and Russia.

A Work of Art

As part of our 75th Jubilee celebration, a dear friend of ours painted a lovely portrait of the front of the Monastery. We hung it in the lobby, and it looks fantastic!

Sr. Mary Margaret and Ada Jones, artist

We know Ada from our long association with a family in the La Porte-Beaumont, Texas area, the Polkers, who have been generously bringing us groceries of all kinds for 45 years. When Ada joined the fun, we became friends with her–and that led, eventually, to our beautiful painting.

Ada Jones is a Texas artist who specializes in natural scenes in a variety of mediums. You can see more of her artwork (or even purchase some) at her website,

Please keep in mind that this painting, like all of Ada’s work, is copyrighted.

Rest in peace, Sr. Mary Regina

Our dear Sr. Mary Regina died on August 4, 2021. She was 85 years old and had been professed 63 years.

Sister entered the Dominican monastery in Cincinnati, OH in 1955 and came to Lufkin in 1989 when that monastery had to close. We were privileged to live with Sister, who gave a wonderful example of patience, abandonment to God’s will, and fortitude during her last years.

We hope to have some more about Sister here soon, and we will have more information in the Fall issue of our newsletter, “Monastery Bells”.