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!
Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, TX has declared that 2022 will be a year dedicated to Mary and the Eucharist for all of us here in the diocese. This has special meaning to us because Eucharistic devotion is an important part of our spirituality here. The Blessed Sacrament is exposed in our chapel from 8 AM to 8 PM every day, and each sister takes a turn praying with Our Lord truly present under this sacramental sign. We also welcome anyone who wishes to come and pray with us during these times.
It almost goes without saying that Mary is another big part of our lives! Each of us takes the name “Mary” as part of our religious name–usually just Mary but sometimes it’s Maria, Marie, Miriam, etc.–and cherishes a special devotion to the Mother of God, especially as Queen of the Most Holy Rosary. We pray the rosary together every afternoon at about 2:40 pm (on Sundays we say it privately) and you are welcome to join us for that, too.
Dominicans through the centuries have been devoted to Mary and the Eucharist. Legend has it that Our Lady herself gave St. Dominic the rosary as a powerful prayer to help in his work re-establishing the Catholic faith in Europe. St. Catherine of Siena, it is said, lived on nothing but the Eucharist for the last few months of her life. Our own monastery traces its Eucharistic roots back to France, where a monastery of Dominican nuns established perpetual adoration and then brought this tradition to the United States when a foundation was made here.
We feel blessed to be a part of a year that will lift hearts and minds to Mary and the Eucharist–in the diocese of Tyler, Texas and hopefully in many other places as well. If you are in the Lufkin area, please come by and spend some time with Jesus–He’s waiting for you!
As our chaplain, Fr. Ian, reminded us, a death in the monastery is always bittersweet. We mourn the loss of our sister, and yet we rejoice that she has gone home to God. In the spirit of hope and expectation, we celebrated Sr. Mary Regina’s funeral on Tuesday. The bishop of our diocese of Tyler, TX, Bishop Joseph Strickland, was on hand as main celebrant and he was joined by Fr. Ian our chaplain, Fr. Tom Edelen, and Fr. Ron Foshage, M.S.
We are fortunate to have our own cemetery within our enclosure, and that is where Sister was laid to rest. After the funeral, we met briefly with Bishop Strickland in the community room. The rest of the day was spent in much-needed rest (most of us had spent time throughout the night in vigil with Sister’s body) and ended with a circle recreation at night, as we all reminisced about Sr. Mary Regina, remembering her many talents and good qualities, the things she did as part of our community, and her steadfast devotion to prayer, especially in the last years of her life. May you rest in peace, Sister Mary Regina!