Christmas, Unwrapped!

Since we usually wrap Christmas presents to go under the tree prior to the big holiday, we thought this could be our “unwrapping”–showing you all what’s been hiding under the paper!

We were blessed to receive special visits from two sets of people–Santa and Mrs. Claus on December 23, and a bunch of Santa’s elves a few days before that.

Santa and Mrs. Claus also brought along their parish priest, to remind us of the reason for the season
The incredibly generous elves who brought special gifts for each sister! Thank you so much!

On Christmas Day, we had our traditional Christmas dinner cooked by the faithful Knights of Columbus. We are so grateful to the Knights for all they do for us–as one of the sisters said, “They are our Knights in shining armor!”

The grill
Cooking–a family experience for all of us
Recreating with the Knights and their families before dinner
We love to see all the young families and children

“Picking up” our delicious Christmas meal–steak, baked potatoes, green bean casserole, salad, rolls…
Sister Mary Christine’s amazing Jell-O creation

After dinner and a good nap, we came to the community room to open the community gifts (lots of puzzles, treats, and various and sundry useful items) as well as a personal gift for each sister.

Opening the elves’ gifts…
“I’m sure they’ll fit you, Sister!”

We have creches set up all over the monastery. Here are a few of them:

Refectory
Gate Parlor
Infirmary

On December 29, the bishop of Tyler, our own Bishop Joseph Strickland, came to say Mass for us. Our chaplain, Fr. Ian, concelebrated with him.

Bishop Strickland chose to commemorate St. Thomas Becket–very appropriate for a bishop

After Mass, we visited with the bishop and Fr. Ian, then all had dinner together in the community room. We had a great time!

It’s truly been a blessed Advent and Christmas season! We pray you continue to enjoy this beautiful season, and we wish you a very Happy New Year 2022!

New Faces, Part 2: Sr. Martin Marie, O.P.

Sr. Martin Marie comes to our monastery from another Dominican monastery in Pennsylvania which, sadly, has to close. Because Sister has some health issues, she is living in our infirmary–but she is still a vital part of our community, as are all our sisters there. We are grateful that Sr. Martin Marie set out like Abraham for the “land of promise” (Texas!) and we love her independent ways and dry sense of humor.

We should note that since these pictures were taken, Sister got a new pink walker which (she says) makes her look like the Energizer Bunny! (And she walks like it, too!)

New Faces, Part 1: Sr. Carmen Gloria, O.P.

We have two new faces at the Monastery of the Infant Jesus! The first one is Sr. Carmen Gloria, OP, a Dominican nun from Chile. We first met her about six years ago when she visited us for a few months, and since then she’s been hoping to come back and join us–and we’ve hoping, too. Now she has!

Sister is our sacristan, and she is doing a great job. She is also working hard to improve her English skills, with the help of a teacher friend of ours. In her spare time, Sister enjoys handwork of various kinds (she is currently doing some lovely embroidery) and walking around our spacious monastery grounds. We are delighted to have Sister Carmen Gloria with us!

A Phoenix (Bishop) Flies In

Our dear friend Bishop Eduardo Nevares, the auxiliary in Phoenix, Arizona, was in town recently and paid us a visit. What with COVID and meetings and the usual work a bishop has to do, we haven’t seen him in a while, so this was a real treat!

Bishop Ed (as we fondly call him) has known our community since he was a seminarian with the La Salette Fathers here in Lufkin, back in the early 1970s! He served as pastor at one of our local parishes (St. Patrick’s) for many years, so he has a lot of friends to visit whenever he comes to Lufkin. He also has family near Houston.

It’s a fair bet to say that our Sr. Mary Veronica is his favorite nun, though! Sister, a talented cook and a woman brimming with hospitality, has been taking care of Bishop Ed both spiritually and physically ever since she’s known him.

Thank you for coming, Bishop Ed! May God bless you and your ministry abundantly!