Your Name Will Be…

Sr. Mary Pauline of the Holy Spirit, O.P.!

Sr. Mary Christine, Sr. Mary Pauline, and Sr. Mary Margaret

We had a festive day all day (well, we worked in between times) with delicious meals, a beautiful ceremony, and a fun tea party in the novitiate.

Breakfast in the refectory

Sister’s place mat, with art by aspirant Michelle and lettering by Sr. Maria Goretti. When we saw it, some of us were sure her name would have something to do with Fatima! (It didn’t–she just has a devotion to Our Lady.)

Sr. Marie Augustine busy in the kitchen preparing our dinner

The ceremony was held at 10:30 AM in the Chapter Hall. Since Sr. Mary Pauline is a finally professed religious, she will wear our black veil (even though this year is her constitutional novitiate year, as we explained in a previous post).

Sister received her new habit from Sr. Mary Margaret, and she left to change, with Sr. Mary Christine’s help.

We waited expectantly as Sister left to get dressed in our habit, and returned.

We each gave her the kiss of peace, still wondering, “What will her name be??”

As we finished singing “Ubi caritas”, Sister came to the center for the moment of truth.

Finally, it came!

She was clearly thrilled to hear her new name–and so were we!

We have a tradition where the sisters make guesses about a novice’s new name, and the box was conveniently placed outside the community room. Sr. Mary Margaret brought it to the ceremony and entertained us by reading the guesses afterwards.

Interestingly, a number of sisters guessed the mystery would be the Holy Spirit…but no one guessed Pauline (or even Paul)!

The novitiate sisters decorated Sr. Mary Pauline’s cell so elaborately that she had to move to the cell next door for a while.

After dinner, the professed sisters came over for a tea party, where we watched Sr. Mary Pauline open her gifts and drank tea and had homemade cookies. Sr. Maria Goretti even entertained us on the accordion! It was an afternoon we will long remember.

Please pray for our three novitiate sisters, and for Sr. Mary Christine, our novice directress, and Sr. Marie Augustine, who helps out. They would like to have more companions–and we would, too. Pray also for their perseverance!

What’s Going On in the Novitiate?

Sr. Maria Goretti, Michelle, Sr. Margarita, Sarah, Sr. Marie Augustine, Sr. Mary Christine

Good question! We’re happy to say we have two sisters who are transferring to our community and two aspirants at present, with hopes for more. God is really blessing us! And Sr. Margarita will be receiving our community’s habit on March 25–along with a new name. We don’t know what it is yet, but we’ll keep you posted!

The sisters who live in the novitiate have their own dormitory, community room, library and classroom all in one convenient building. They spend most of their time there, although they join the professed sisters for evening recreation, meals, and (of course) prayers.

Our community policy is that a transfer from an active community of religious sisters spends about 6 months to a year as a visitor–that’s why we have the two sisters wearing their original habits. After receiving our habit, they remain in the novitiate for one year (required by our constitutions) and then spend a second year in the novitiate before they make the move over to the professed, where they spend some time integrating into the community before they make solemn vows. It’s a process, but the sisters who have done it say it’s worth it!

An aspirant comes for a specified length of time to get to know the community (and allow us to get to know her). If all goes well, they may return for the next step of religious formation–the postulancy, which lasts a year. After this, the postulant is clothed in the habit and receives her religious name.

Our novitiate has been having a lot of fun!

Recreation in the community room

Enjoying the cool March weather in the novitiate courtyard

The novitiate keeps the garden outside their building looking good.

Sarah and Michelle, our two latest aspirants. Please keep them in your prayers as they discern!

Sr. Maria Goretti and Sr. Margarita, our two active sisters. Sr. Maria Goretti is a Franciscan and Sr. Margarita is a member of an active Dominican community. Please keep them in your prayers!

Please pray for us, too, that we will be open to the Holy Spirit as we make our own decisions about these women!

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!

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!

Tet: Year of the Tiger

Photo by A G on Unsplash

Grrrr! We had a great time welcoming the Year of the Tiger in our community recently! As our readers may know, we have many different cultures in our community and we try to honor them in some way. This was our 20th year to celebrate Tet.

Gathered together to begin the evening. It’s been cold in Texas, by the way!
Sr. Mary Christine

Did you know that the Lunar New Year originated in Vietnam? At least, this is what our Vietnamese sisters tell us, and we think they should know! Sr. Mary Christine did her usual fantastic job of explaining all about the Year of the Tiger. We don’t have any “tigers” in our community right now, but if we did, it sounds like they’d fit in just fine! Tigers are supposed to be very strong minded!

Picking our “lucky envelopes” from the tree and enjoying the delicious Asian snacks. Everything was generously provided by Sr. Mary Christine’s family!

Sr. Mary Christine devised a number of original and unusual games for us to play, as she always does. We enjoyed ourselves by playing in teams for points.

A fun game similar to Telephone, only we wrote on each other’s hands–tricky!
Sr. Marie Augustine shows off her fine sense of balance with game counters balanced on a chopstick

We were still having fun when the bell rang to summon us to Compline and Benediction, and that’s the way an evening should end. Sr. Mary Christine organized things so that although only one team won the evening, each sister received a prize.

We are grateful for our opportunities to share in the heritage of our sisters and to make this heritage part of our own community life. Thank you so much to Sr. Mary Christine and Sr. Mary Giuse, our two Vietnamese sisters, who bring so much talent and joy to our community, and thank you for your great example of prayer!

Renewal of Vows!

On January 27 during our usual morning Mass, Sr. Mary Therese of the Divine Mercy, O.P., renewed her vow of obedience for one year.

Sisters in temporary vows have to make these vows first for three years and then renew their vows each year for three more years. This is Sr. Mary Therese’s second time to renew for one year. Thus, she is beginning her fifth year of temporary vows.

Actually, Dominicans only take one vow, that of obedience, but it encompasses the other two evangelical counsels–poverty and chastity. The sister makes her profession in the hands of the prioress (as seen above), a traditional gesture dating back to the early days of the Order and 13th century ways.

Please continue to pray for Sister as she takes another big step forward in her monastic journey!