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

Refectory

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! 

Nuns of Many Hats



Warm hats make warm hearts filled with gratitude!




There\’s an expression in English used to describe someone who has many different jobs or responsibilities. \”She works full time, takes care of her husband and children, and volunteers at church–she\’s a woman of many hats!\” In the same way, cloistered nuns wear many \”hats\”, in a manner of speaking. 

Our primary work is of course prayer, and specifically, praying the entire Liturgy of the Hours. To this we add a community rosary, recitation of the penitential psalms for the dead, a period of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament for each sister (which includes an extra time of adoration during evening recreation, when your turn comes around) and two periods of meditation each day. Oh, and of course, the community Mass every morning. That\’s a lot of prayers! 
In between prayers, we manage to squeeze in work time in our various departments. Sisters pack altar breads, write thank-you notes to benefactors, send both prayer enrollment cards and our special three-part folders, keep our budget balanced, cook meals, clean, attend to visitors, work on the website and update the blog, accompany the men who have come to do maintenance of any kind inside the monastery. And, each sister carves out a place in the day to study, because study is one of the main pillars of Dominican spirituality. And in addition to all this, we have two periods of recreation (one is optional) and a siesta time. How does it all get done?
Of course, all our strength and ability to do these many works comes from God–which is why we make prayer the the center point of our lives. Everything we do is fueled by our prayer, our openness to God and the graces He wants to give us each day. When we are really trying to cooperate with His grace, even the rough patches go more smoothly. 
Recently, one of our benefactors made this hat metaphor more concrete by giving us a lot of hand knitted hats! Each one is different and unique, and each sister was allowed to choose one she thought was most fitting (in more ways than one–it\’s amazing how many sizes heads come in!). It was a delightful surprise and a welcome one, too. Many sisters enjoy walking in all sorts of weather, and this kind of hat is ideal for wearing over the veil. Some sisters prefer to wear a hat to bed, to keep their heads warm while they sleep, and they are perfect for this, too. 
We are so grateful to this benefactor–and all our benefactors–who help us to live this life of prayer, praise, study and penance. We literally could not do it without you! Thank you, thank you all so much!