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!
We’re celebrating our 75th Jubilee! Finally…after postponing it a year (thank you COVID) we’re having our Mass of thanksgiving for 75th years in the Piney Woods of East Texas, praying, praising and interceding. If you’re in the Lufkin area on November 9 at 10:00 AM, you’re welcome to join us! We do ask that you wear a mask. If you can’t be with us in person, please join us in prayer!
If you’ve been following this blog, you know that we always love to get visits from our fellow Dominicans! Recently, we were blessed with two visits–one from the novices of the Province of St. Martin de Porres (the Southern Province) and another from the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, who recently opened a new house in Waco. So here are the stories!
These four young men came with their novice master, Fr. Francis Orozco, O.P., one afternoon. We had a delightful time hearing their diverse and interesting vocation stories, and we told them ours, too.
Please pray for the perseverance of these novices, and for many more vocations to the Dominican way of life!
A little later, we had a visit from the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist. They are teaching at a Catholic high school in Waco, TX (only about 2.5 hours from Lufkin).
You may have heard of the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist–a dynamic young community of teaching sisters based in Ann Arbor, MI. We have always felt a special connection with them (in addition to the natural Dominican ties!) because Sr. Maximilian Marie went to college with our sub-prioress, Sr. Mary Rose.
Just as we did with the brothers, we shared vocations stories and other tales with the sisters. It’s always remarkable to see how closely we are related, despite our different places in the Order–preaching friars, teaching sisters, contemplative nuns. But that is part of what makes the Dominican Order so great! We keep our sisters in prayer, that they may teach well and have many vocations–and we hope both the friars and the sisters will pray for us to have vocations, too!
There’s a story that St. Dominic and St. Francis actually met one time. Even if this is more pious fiction than fact, it’s true that the two founders had at least one major thing in common: their desire to found a new kind of religious order, a order that was grounded in evangelical poverty. These new kinds of friars were called “mendicants”, which is a fancy word for “beggars”, because that is what these early friars did to obtain the necessities of life. There are some significant differences between the two orders, of course–St. Dominic believed that education and study were necessary for preaching, while St. Francis believed in preaching “from the heart”. Still, because of their similar charisms, the Franciscans and Dominicans have always considered themselves “cousins”. In the Dominican Order, October 4 is a feast day (not just a memorial) and in our monastery, we sing an antiphon in honor of the two founders, both on St. Dominic’s Day (August 8) and St. Francis’s Day (October 4).
Our apostolic Father Dominic, and seraphic Father Francis, have taught us your law, O Lord.
Great is the dignity of souls, for each one to have an angel deputed to guard it from its birth.
St. Thomas Aquinas is quite clear on this matter: “Each man has a guardian angel appointed to him.” And in case you’re wondering, St. Thomas also tells us that an unborn child is protected by its mother’s guardian angel, since the good of the one is the good of the other during pregnancy. A child receives a personal guardian angel at birth, as Jerome explains.
Guardian angels are supposed to be kind of low in the hierarchy of angels–the privates of the angelic army–and yet because they can receive direction and share in the gifts their superiors possess, a guardian angel should not be taken lightly. These angels play an immensely important role in our lives, one most of us probably take for granted. But, as St. Thomas points out, “angel guardians are given to men…as regards invisible and secret things, concerning the salvation of each one in his own regard.” Without the assistance of our guardian angels, guiding, protecting, and pointing us in the right direction, we would almost surely be lost.
All guardian angels can drive off demons and work miracles. Haven’t we all had moments when certain disaster or harm was somehow, inexplicably, averted? It can be tempting to fall back on our own powers–“I was lucky”, “I decided at the last minute not to go and avoided that accident”. But let’s give credit where credit is due! Our guardian angels are working for us 24/7 without a break. St. Thomas assures us that they will never forsake us. In fact, if we persevere to the end, our guardian angels will be with us forever in heaven, constant companions, guides, and best friends. Let’s call on these angels often, for they are always waiting to help! And let’s thank them when we feel the touch of an angel’s wing on our shoulder.
A while back, we mentioned that the St. Philip Institute here in our diocese of Tyler, TX came out to interview two of our sisters for a feature called “East Texas Catholics”. Well, the video is up and we hope you’ll check it out! You can see it here on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFLErzBQdn8 or watch it on our website. Enjoy!
The Lord grant that you may observe all these precepts in a spirit of charity as lovers of spiritual beauty, giving forth the good odor of Christ in the holiness of your lives; not as slaves living under the law but as women living in freedom under grace.
The Rule of St. Augustine (followed by the Dominican nuns)