We recently concluded our ten-day annual retreat, and it was really something special! Our retreat master this year was Fr. Jim Marchionda, O.P., provincial of St. Albert’s Province (or the central province of the U.S.) and a well-known preacher and composer of liturgical music. Father brought our keyboard into chapel to play and sing his own songs as part of the retreat, and he strongly encouraged us to sing along with him! To make things even easier, he brought along songbooks for each sister, which he allowed us to keep. So we may be integrating more of our brother Jim’s music into our liturgies in the days to come–we’ll see!
Our one regret was that Father could not stay the full ten days with us. We were glad to have him when he was available, though, and we do understand how difficult it is for a provincial to get away from the province! But we did have several fruitful days of silent retreat, and we came away renewed in our commitment to prayer. Good thing, too, because the world certainly needs it right now!
Thank you so much, Father! We hope to see you again someday!
Deacon Ryan, Shelby, and a group of students from the University of Dallas stopped by recently on their way to an alternative spring break adventure. Instead of partying and soaking up the sun, these students wanted to help the people of Lake Charles, LA rebuild their homes after all the hurricanes and other natural disasters. We had a fun visit with them–the only problem was its short length! Hope you can come visit us again some time!
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!
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, https://www.adavjones.com/
Please keep in mind that this painting, like all of Ada’s work, is copyrighted.
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!
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!
Recently, Father came to our monastery to fill in for our chaplain while he had to be away–and while he was here he gave us some very good courses on the virtue of hope. This is especially appropriate for Advent, when we wait in hope for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Of course, we had to have a parlor visit with him too!
Father John is working on his doctoral dissertation now, having finished his classes. We pray it will go smoothly for him, and he will finish up with some great work! It is always a pleasure to meet with one of our Dominican brothers, and especially to enjoy the fruits of their contemplative works. Thank you, Father John!