Christmas Unwrapped

As always, there’s been a lot going on! We’d like to share some of the highlights of this Christmas season with you. Yes, the Christmas season lasts until the Baptism of the Lord and that’s not until January 9, so for us it’s still Christmas!

We had a beautiful Christmas, with many lovely decorations by our talented sisters and thoughtful gifts from our benefactors.

Tree and nativity scene in our community room

One of our benefactors had these great bags made–one for each of us! Note the Dominican shield!

Everyone loves puzzles!

Fr. Ian gave us a chime to ring at the epiclesis during Mass and at Benediction–much nicer than our old bell.

What could this be? Maybe something to eat?

I think this one’s popcorn…

Might need some help getting this one open.

On December 30, feast of the Holy Family, our bishop Joseph Strickland came to offer Mass and enjoy a visit and “family” meal with us. We were also privileged to have Br. Christopher Kalan, O.Cist., from Our Lady of Dallas Abbey, staying at our monastery for his priestly ordination retreat–so Br. Christopher served as our deacon at Mass and joined us for dinner afterward, as did our chaplain, Fr. Ian.

Bishop Strickland is always so kind and friendly to us, a true spiritual father.

We presented him with an afghan one of our sisters crocheted.

Brother Christopher is a tall man…

…or maybe we are just kind of petite?

We also had a delightful parlor visit with Br. Christopher. (Hope he got enough retreat!) He will be ordained in February, and we hope he will come back to celebrate Mass for us and give us his first blessing.

All together, Christmas has been a season of many blessings. There have been some serious events too, but everything balances out and we are filled with joy and gratitude as we welcome the New Year 2023, when Sr. Mary Therese will make her solemn profession (January 21) and we are expecting some new faces at our monastery!

Good Christian Friends, Rejoice!

We\’ve been doing a lot of rejoicing around here! And why not? It\’s still the Christmas season, and we are still celebrating the wonder of Christ\’s birth. Now, it\’s time we shared some of our lovely inside Christmas decorations with you! This is our chapel–the picture was taken from our side of the choir, facing the altar. We are so grateful to the people who donated the tree, the wreaths, and the many poinsettias. 

Another beautiful donation: this Christmas arrangement to honor our crucifix

And now, without further ado, the creche scenes!

Our main creche in the chapel. Sister Sacristan did a marvelous job!

If you were able to visit us in person, you saw this one in the outside lobby

The community room

The Chapter Hall

The infirmary kitchen

The infirmary

The Print Shop (where Monastery Bells and our greeting cards are created, among other things)

The Guild, where letters are answered and enrollments are made

The Prioress\’ office

The carol mentioned in our title is traditionally attributed to the 14th century Dominican mystic, Blessed Henry Suso. One of the lines in the modern version found in today\’s hymnals says, \”Christ was born to save!\” We never forget that Christmas is a part of the Paschal mystery, and there is certainly an element of sorrow even in our joy (think of the Holy Innocents, for example). But on the whole it is a time when all of us can remember, or consider for the first time, the hope a newborn baby brings with it into this world. Let us rejoice this season as we remember that each one of us was born for a reason!

Christmas at the Monastery

 Here as we approach a brand new (hopefully happier) New Year, we\’d like to bring you some highlights of our Christmas festivities here at the Monastery.

On the evening of December 23, Santa Claus paid us a visit!

Santa brought each sister a copy of Matthew Kelly\’s book I Heard God Laugh and a few editions of a game called \”Yeti in the Spaghetti\”. We haven\’t played it yet so we\’ll let you know how that goes! 

We\’ve heard God laughing ourselves…

Next, on Christmas Eve afternoon, we had our annual visit from the Alexander family. 

The Alexanders outside the front of the Monastery. They wore masks in the parlor!

We are always happy to see the Alexanders and hear all about what they\’ve been up to over the past year or so. We had a delightful visit with them. 

After Vespers, our chaplain, Fr. John Lydon OP came inside to bless the creches in the community room and refectory. 

Community room


We had two glorious Masses, one at night and one in the morning, followed by our traditional dinner prepared by the Knights of Columbus. Unfortunately, we weren\’t able to visit with the Knights and their families in the parlor after Mass as we have done for many years, due to COVID–the parlor gets really packed and we wanted to avoid a super-spreader event. Still, a few Knights were able to come and actually do the cooking. God bless them!

Our faithful Knights of Columbus, plus a future Knight, maybe

In the afternoon, in between prayers, we met together in the community room to see the gifts people gave us this year. Usually we get gifts \”for the community\”–a single gift everyone can use or benefit from. Sometimes we get gifts like popcorn or candy or cookies–always welcome! This year we received a new digital camera (the authors of this blog, the website, and Monastery Bells are particularly grateful for this!), some DVDs from the Teaching Company, and lots of books, in addition to the aforementioned food. We also got a new Chinese Checkers game, which gained a lot of applause from our dedicated players. 

Many happy hours of serious fun to come

Much to our surprise, we also received a number of \”individual\” gifts as well! Several very kind and generous benefactors put together various gifts, making enough so that each sister could receive her own. Best of all, these were gifts we could use: toiletries, bed socks, plastic containers, art supplies, word and Sudoku puzzles, and (of course) more food!


As you can see, we enjoyed the gifts, and we\’re tremendously grateful to all those who gave them! No matter how old you are, it\’s still fun to have something to open on Christmas. Thank you, all our benefactors, for giving us such joy and putting smiles on our weary faces this Christmas of 2020! 

We are still planning to post some pictures of our various creche scenes around the Monastery, so keep in touch! Remember, Christmas isn\’t officially over until the Baptism of the Lord, despite what the world may tell you–especially by stocking Valentines already (or so we\’ve heard)…

We wish all of you a most blessed New Year! 

We Need A Little Christmas

 This song is so appropriate this year! It made its debut in Jerry Herman\’s Broadway musical Mame in 1966, when Mame sang it to cheer up her nephew and servants after losing everything in the 1929 stock market crash. We\’ve heard stories that many people are buying real Christmas trees and putting up extra lights and decorations as a way of cheering themselves up during this crazy year. And although we don\’t usually decorate until about right now, our workmen felt we needed a little Christmas and put up some lights both inside and outside the monastery this year! 

Front of monastery
Infirmary yard with Infant Jesus

Our Lady of Fatima

The hedge by the carport

Our bell tower

We also have some decorating going on right now, as you can see…

My, what big poinsettias you have!

Our Lady with Jesus and their decorator, Sr. Mary Giuse


We\’re still decorating, and we plan to bring you more pictures when we\’re finished! These may come after the actual date of Christmas (that is, December 25) but remember, the Christmas season lasts until the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which is on January 10th this year. So during this year when we \”need a little Christmas\” in a particular way, remember you can celebrate for much longer than the secular world would have you believe! (In the old days, the Christmas season lasted until February 2, but even we think that\’s a little long.)

Christmas is always a special time for us here at the Monastery, since it is also \”our\” feast day. We are, after all, the Monastery of the Infant Jesus. We hope you will have a happy and blessed Christmas, and know that we are praying for all of you!