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.
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.
On January 27 during our usual morning Mass, Sr. Mary Therese of the Divine Mercy, O.P., renewed her vow of obedience for one year.
Sisters in temporary vows have to make these vows first for three years and then renew their vows each year for three more years. This is Sr. Mary Therese’s second time to renew for one year. Thus, she is beginning her fifth year of temporary vows.
Actually, Dominicans only take one vow, that of obedience, but it encompasses the other two evangelical counsels–poverty and chastity. The sister makes her profession in the hands of the prioress (as seen above), a traditional gesture dating back to the early days of the Order and 13th century ways.
Please continue to pray for Sister as she takes another big step forward in her monastic journey!
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.
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!”
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.
We have creches set up all over the monastery. Here are a few of them:
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.
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!
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!)
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!
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!