A New U.S. Citizen!

Sr. Irma Marie is now an American citizen!

Complete with sash, hat, flag, and certificate

Sr. Irma Marie, a native of Puebla, Mexico, has been a member of our monastic community for some time. She began working on her citizenship papers about five years ago, and on Tuesday all her hard work paid off as she was officially sworn in as a United States citizen.

Of course, we had a little party to celebrate the great day!

The festive table

Sister’s card, signed by everyone in the community

The happy new citizen with Sr. Mary Margaret

Now that she is a citizen, Sr. Irma Marie looks forward to getting a driver’s license and registering to vote. We are very proud of Sr. Irma Marie and all her hard work to achieve this goal, and we are grateful to all the people who helped make it happen–and there are many who helped! Thanks to all of you!

On an additional note, although several of us were down with a cold bug for Thanksgiving, we still managed to have a good time!

Delicious!

The majority of our dinner was donated, and as always we are very grateful to all who made our wonderful Thanksgiving meal possible. Thank you so much!

We are overwhelmed by the blessings God has granted us over the last week or so. May he continue to provide faithfully for us, and may we remain faithful to him!

Sr. Mary Margaret’s Feast Day, 2022

Wow–how time flies! It’s been a while now since we celebrated Sister’s feast day, but we’ve just been super busy. We had a nice, laid-back kind of day, with gifts in the morning, an ice cream treat in the afternoon, and a little entertainment in the evening. The entertainment included a short play pondering what might have happened if St. Margaret of Hungary (Sr. Mary Margaret’s patron) had gone on a talk show. To give you a hint, the play was entitled, “I’m Your Mother, and I Don’t Want You To Be a Nun!” Don’t worry–it has a happy, monastic ending!

We would like to share some pictures from the gift opening in the morning. All the gifts you will see here were made by the sisters. Sr. Mary Margaret uses these lovely handmade items as gifts for benefactors and prizes in our popular summer raffle.

Everyone gathered around the feast day table to see the gifts…and Sister’s reactions!

A darling hat and scarf set.

The ever popular sock animals!

A nice warm poncho.

It fits–can I keep it??

Possibly a future raffle prize?

The next day, Sunday, we enjoyed a movie together as a community to conclude our celebration. Sr. Mary Margaret had a great time and so did we all!

Happy Birthday!

We celebrated not one, but two birthdays this week! The first was a long-awaited party for Sr. Mary Annunciata, who turned 90 on August 15.

Sr. Mary Annunciata’s cat themed birthday cake
She loved it!
Getting ready to blow out the candles…
A happy day for everyone!

Then, on Thursday, we celebrated Sr. Maria Guadalupe’s 80th birthday! (This was the actual date.)

You know we’re in Texas because we’re having cake and Blue Bell ice cream.
Sr. Maria Guadalupe received this lovely cake as a gift, but we added the “80”.

Sr. Maria Guadalupe making a wish…
Another happy and delicious day for the community!

You may remember that we only have birthday parties for the 80th, 90th, 100th birthdays…but on the years following a sister’s 80th birthday we do have cake and ice cream on her special day in the refectory for dessert. We have a lot of octogenarians born in August, so this has been quite a month!

Sr. Mary Annunciata and Sr. Maria Guadalupe are both former prioresses of our monastery, and we are so blessed to be able to celebrate these milestones with them. May God grant them both many happy, healthy years!

St. Dominic’s Feast Day 2022

We had a low-key but joyful feast of St. Dominic this year. Of course, we began the day with prayer, followed by solemn high Mass in honor of St. Dominic. Our chaplain, Fr. Ian Bordenave, presided, and Deacon Jesus Reyes, who is a member of the Dominican Laity, served.

Fr Ian, Deacon Jesus, and friends

We had a mostly free morning, with an optional movie screened for those who wished to see it, and then we had a delicious dinner in the community room. This meant a talking meal, and talk we did!

To our great joy, Sr. Martin Marie was able to come for Mass and dinner. It was wonderful to have her with us, and we plan to bring her again.

Sr. Marie Augustine, Sr. Mary Margaret, and Sr. Martin Marie

In the afternoon, we enjoyed more recreation along with delicious Mexican fruit drinks. The mango and pina colada were especially popular!

In the evening, we celebrated Sr. Mary Dominic’s feast day. She actually had the Mass for her intentions on August 6, which happens to be the day St. Dominic actually died, but we waited to have her song until the 8th.

Singing with all our hearts
Greeting Sr. Mary Dominic on her special day

Following our song, we played several games of Domingo!–which as you can probably figure out is bingo with a Dominican twist. We had time for several people to win, and although there were no actual prizes we were happy just to be together enjoying ourselves on this day which is so dear to Dominicans everywhere.

Domingo!

And of course, we prayed for all of you on this solemn feast. May our Holy Father St. Dominic intercede for you!

Winter Storm of ’21

 It’s hard to believe now–when we are enjoying temperatures in the upper 70s and even low 80s–that last week at this time we were freezing, literally! However, that proves the old saying: “If you don\’t like the weather in Texas, wait a minute and it\’ll change.”

As we reported earlier, when we had a more fun snowfall in January, we realize that for many people ice storms, temperatures going down to 6 and 8 degrees Fahrenheit (and maybe lower) and such are part of the usual winter condition. But here in Texas, we’re just not used to it–and we\’re not prepared for it, either! One of our sisters, a transplanted Midwesterner, kept assuring us that everything would be fine “when the snow plows come through”. We finally managed to explain to her that there are no snow plows in Texas. She was astonished!

We will have a lot more on this story–what happened and how the community coped–in our Spring issue of “Monastery Bells”. Here’s just a few items that stand out.

(To the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, with apologies to the authors)

On the day of the Presidents, our Savior gave to us:

–Hundreds of branches snapping

–Eighteen nuns a-shivering

–Several rolling blackouts

–Ten space heaters

–Seven puzzles finished

–Five free days!

–Four busted pipes

–Three inches of snow

–Two pairs of socks each

–And a great, loving community!

We can say this both of our own community and the community of Lufkin! We are so grateful to all the people who came out to help us (and there were many!) and also for everyone who helped us get our generator some years back. We never thought we would need it for a winter storm, but God provided! This was especially important for our elderly sisters, who were able to have heat in their infirmary rooms most of the time. And, we were able to have some lights–definitely necessary in our large building!

We continue to pray for the many people who have suffered more with this storm than we have, both in Texas and throughout the south. We are extremely grateful to all of you who prayed for us! We managed to avoid serious injuries and illness, and even to keep cheerful during the difficult times, which was truly a work of grace. Know that we pray for all of you, too, every day and every hour!

So Thankful and Blessed

 

This Thanksgiving weekend has been kind of busy–you\’ll see what happened in a later post! But we wanted to share some of our Thanksgiving preparations with you. We had a lot of fun setting up the community room for our traditional \”talking\” Thanksgiving meal. 

Setting out the tablecloths

Admiring our Thanksgiving-themed paper plates

Bengal Spice herbal tea–a gift from a Sister\’s family!
The finished room

Last minute cooking and prep

Off to set the table!

Singing our Thanksgiving grace

Another view of the grace

The inevitable clean up–it wasn\’t too bad
 
We are so thankful for the many blessings God has given us this past year, even in the midst of COVID-19 and other disasters. We had food to eat and good company, and we\’re well aware of the many people who had to sacrifice one or both of those things this year. We thank God for bringing us together as a monastic family, where we strive to love one another and build each other up in charity and peace. 
 
May this coming Advent be a time of joyful expectation as we await the coming of our Savior!

Celebrating Our 75th Jubilee!

 

Today marks the 75th anniversary of our monastery\’s establishment here in Lufkin! We had big plans for today: a Mass with numerous concelebrants, a reception, visits, souvenirs…but all that went by the wayside when COVID-19 came along. We hope to reschedule these events later, but for now our celebration has been scaled back a lot. Nevertheless, we are still celebrating! 

We published a long and informative article on the history of our monastery in the latest issue of our newsletter, \”Monastery Bells\”. If you don\’t receive the Bells, you can read it here.

 (By the way, if you\’re interested in receiving our newsletter in your snail mailbox, please go to the email address on our website and send us your name and address! It\’s free!) 

We also want to share just a few pictures that didn\’t appear in the Bells:

This is another view of the first incarnation of the Monastery of the Infant Jesus. Note the statue of the Infant Jesus in front! We still have this statue in our infirmary yard. In 1945, the Monastery was right on Lotus Lane, instead of up the hill as it is today.

 This photo was actually taken in the late 1940s, but it shows the growth the Monastery experienced in a short amount of time.

The sign on Lotus Lane directing visitors where to turn onto the access road to reach our Monastery today.

Part of the front of the Monastery today.

And finally–another version of our latest community picture!

We give joyful thanks to God for the past 75 years, and pray we will be here for many years to come!