Be My Valentine…Anytime

OK, it’s been a week, but the whole month of February is usually dedicated to the loving feelings of Valentine’s Day. At the Monastery, we don’t give valentines to each other, but sometimes people give us valentines! We were surprised and delighted with the Valentine’s Day treats we received.

Note the Fritos–always great with a Dr. Pepper

As you can see in the pictures, each valentine bag contained a small package of chips (various kinds) and a Dr. Pepper! One could say it was a Texas style valentine.

These lovely treats were given to us by Earl and Judy Parker, good friends of our Monastery who celebrated their second wedding anniversary on February 14. They met at a local retirement place and fell in love. Very sweet!

Judy and Earl Parker

And speaking of sweets, we also each received a small box of chocolates from other good friends–Tim and Susie Healy, who visit us as Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus each year. So we had both the salty and the sweet, and everybody was happy.

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be just for romantic love. We are reminded of the need to put agape, or charity, into everything we do. This is a love that transcends the self and looks for the good of another–as, indeed, all love should do.

Love is shown in so many beautiful ways. One of our sisters received this floral tribute from a former student this year. (She was a teaching Dominican before she entered out Monastery.) We are all so grateful to him–the flowers were gorgeous and they made Sister very happy! Charity in action!

The month of February is almost over, but there’s still time to tell someone you love him or her or to reach out in charity to your neighbors. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it. As St. John of the Cross wrote, “Where there is no love, put love, and you will find love.”

The Dominican Laity

We are blessed to have a group of the Dominican Laity located here in Lufkin. They are not associates of the monastery itself, but full members of the Dominican Order according to their lay state of life. They make promises similar to our vows and strive to live the Dominican pillars of preaching, prayer, study and ministry. We had a group of six make promises on February 12, which is a blessing for all of us. Three made temporary promises, for three years, and three made permanent promises.

Fr. Ian Bordenave, O.P., and Deacon Jesus Reyes, O.P.L. celebrating Mass for the professions
Left: Permanent promises–Mrs. Maria Burt, Dr. Brian Carlin, Mr. Jose Santana Center: Fr. Ian Right: Temporary promises–Mrs. Lorraine Lambert, Mr. Christian Burt, Mr. Randy Burt

After the ceremony, which took place within our usual daily Mass, the newly professed, other members of the OP Laity, and their families met in the Gate Parlor for breakfast and a little visit with the Sisters.

Dr. Brian Carlin joined his wife Virginia and his daughter, Sr. Mary Rose, in the Dominican order through his profession.

The Dominican Family, as we often refer to our order, is made up of many groups: friars, nuns, active sisters, laity, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Dominic, and the Dominican Youth Movement just to name some of them. We are so happy to have three branches of the family here in Lufkin: the monastery (nuns), a friar (our chaplain) and the St. Thomas Aquinas chapter of the Dominican Laity. We hope someday we will have active sisters and other groups.

Classes with Fr. John Sica, O.P.

Recently, Father came to our monastery to fill in for our chaplain while he had to be away–and while he was here he gave us some very good courses on the virtue of hope. This is especially appropriate for Advent, when we wait in hope for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Of course, we had to have a parlor visit with him too!

Father is getting used to nuns now!

Father John is working on his doctoral dissertation now, having finished his classes. We pray it will go smoothly for him, and he will finish up with some great work! It is always a pleasure to meet with one of our Dominican brothers, and especially to enjoy the fruits of their contemplative works. Thank you, Father John!

Jubilee Pictures!

Wow! We apologize for being so long in getting this up. All we can blame it on is “the monotony of the cloister”…you know, nothing ever happens at the Monastery…But without further ado, pictures!

Fr. Tom Condon, our provincial, with all the active Dominican sisters who joined us!
All our religious guests–the Dominican sisters, friars, and friar-novices, plus two diocesan priests and Bishop Eduardo Nevares of Phoenix, AZ
Receiving line after Mass
Enjoying lunch in the Large Parlor
Enjoying recreation with everyone in Gate Parlor

It was a most wonderful and blessed day, and we are grateful to God for all the many graces He showered down! May His name be forever praised!

Dominican Friars…and Sisters

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).

From left: Sr. Maria Francisco, Sr. Mary Rita, Sr. Maria Benedicta, and Sr. Maximilian Marie

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.

The alumnae of Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts

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!

Fraternal Visit

 The feast of the Visitation has been called a day for religious sisters to get together and, well, visit. This year we had a little twist on this theme–a visit from our brothers, instead! 

As you can see, we made quite a group! Most of our sisters were able to be present, and we had seven friars. Four are still in various stages of formation. Two of these four are novices–our own two novices from the province of St. Martin de Porres (aka the southern province)–and two student brothers, one from our province and one from the province of St. Albert the Great (aka the central province). They were accompanied by the novice master for our province and another priest, and our chaplain joined the fun.

And it was fun! We laughed and laughed at our brothers\’ stories, adventures, and incidents, all told with characteristically Dominican good humor. 

We thank our brothers for honoring us with a visit, and only wish they could have stayed longer! But they could only pray Vespers with us and have a quick dinner before heading back to Irving, TX. Still, that was wonderful. We are praying for you all–and for all our Dominican brothers around the world! Y\’all come see us!

Patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary over the Order of Preachers

Today in the Dominican Order we celebrate the memorial of the Patronage of the Blessed Virgin over the Order of Preachers. As you can see, the traditional image for this patronage shows the Blessed Virgin Mary spreading her cloak protectively over the Dominican saints gathered below (which in this picture happen to be St. Dominic, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Rose of Lima, St. Martin de Porres, St. Pope Pius V, and, well, one young religious we\’re not sure about). This is a popular image among religious orders–we all want to feel that Mary is taking care of us in a special way. And it\’s especially appropriate during this year of pandemic, for one of the attributes of Mary\’s protection is the safeguard against plague. May Our Lady spare us all from the COVID-19 virus and keep us safe under her motherly patronage!