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!

Our Renewed Prioress

Things have been very busy here at the Monastery, and one thing we’ve been working on is the election–or we should say, re-election–of our prioress, Sr. Mary Margaret of the Cross Gyovai, O.P. Our community vicar, Fr. Ed Ruane, O.P., came to preside over the election and confirm it.

Still smiling after three years in office!

After the election, we shared some recreation time in our community room. We invited our chaplain, Fr. Ian Bordenave, O.P., to join us–and later he and Fr. Ed stayed for dinner in the community room, too!

The happy end of our election procedings

The following day, Fr. Ian and Fr. Ed concelebrated a Mass in honor of an abbess–with slight adjustments made to accommodate our situation. Traditionally, Dominican nuns have always had a prioress, a nun who is first among equals, rather than an abbess as the head of their communities.

The Fathers are wearing their lovely Dominican vestments

Usually, when a prioress is elected (or re-elected), she has to change job assignments around. This is because once you change one thing, everything else needs to be changed as well! We’ve all been cleaning our various departments and trying to organize things in preparation for a new sister-in-charge, if that happens. So we expect there will be some upheaval in the days to come. However, one thing that never changes is our commitment and devotion to God witnessed through our prayer life and our continual openness to His will. Whatever the future may hold, we know God will be there, and that is good enough for us!

Please do keep Sr. Mary Margaret and all of us in prayer as she embarks on this new three-year term!

Queen of the May

Our May Crowning was on May 8 this year–Mother’s Day.

Sr. Mary Christine crowning Our Lady of the Pines with a beautiful crown of real flowers

Some of you may be aware that during May, our Monastery has a May Novena. And it’s not too late to send in your intentions! Please feel free to email them to us, and we will include them in our novena prayers throughout this month.

May Our Lady bless you in a very special way this month!

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!

A Question for You

First we want to address young women.

Have you ever considered a religious vocation? More specifically, to the cloistered monastic life?

And then for everyone else:

Do you know a young woman who might make a good cloistered nun? Have you ever considered asking her about this?

Although some lucky people know almost from the beginning what they want to do with their lives, many of us here at the monastery were influenced by someone who suggested the idea of a cloistered vocation. That doesn’t mean we were necessarily happy to hear it, at the time! Our society definitely looks askance at people who voluntarily give up good jobs, prospects of marriage and children and a sense of independence to become cloistered nuns. And yet, many of those who were asked inquired–and tried it out–and liked it–and stayed. True, it’s not a call for everyone, but there are probably many people who are unaware God is calling them. (Or they’re trying not to listen, but that’s another story!)

Dominican cloistered religious life is a radical way of serving God and our fellow human beings. Instead of tending the sick, teaching, working for social justice, and other good causes, we devote our lives to prayer for the salvation of the world. While these active ministries are good and necessary, there needs to be a balance of concentrated prayer to help all those working in the world do their jobs better. And there are so many people in the world who don’t pray, who don’t know God, who have never encountered Christ. We pray for them to be led to the truth according to God’s plan for them.

We plan to have a series on Dominican cloistered vocations, which will include special topics of interest as well as interviews with Dominican nuns. We hope you will pray for us to make this series happen! Please pray, too, that the Holy Spirit will touch the hearts of young women and encourage them to investigate further. We have some good prospects right now, and we’d love to add more! Know that we are always praying for you, our readers, too. Thank you for your support!

A “FOCUS” Group

Caroline Werther, a FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) missionary at the University of Dallas, came to our monastery recently with four lovely young women. We had a wonderful time sharing about our lives and vocations, and hearing their stories, too!

As you can see, we were a pretty happy bunch! They came to prayers with us and stayed for lunch and dinner before returning to Dallas.

We have received many inquiries from young women about our life and how we live it, and we welcome any more to come and visit our monastery and see what we’re all about. We’d love to meet you! You can find our contact info on the left side of this blog.

Thank you, Caroline and students! We hope you will come again some time!