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!

Year of Mary and the Eucharist

Bishop Joseph Strickland of Tyler, TX has declared that 2022 will be a year dedicated to Mary and the Eucharist for all of us here in the diocese. This has special meaning to us because Eucharistic devotion is an important part of our spirituality here. The Blessed Sacrament is exposed in our chapel from 8 AM to 8 PM every day, and each sister takes a turn praying with Our Lord truly present under this sacramental sign. We also welcome anyone who wishes to come and pray with us during these times.

It almost goes without saying that Mary is another big part of our lives! Each of us takes the name “Mary” as part of our religious name–usually just Mary but sometimes it’s Maria, Marie, Miriam, etc.–and cherishes a special devotion to the Mother of God, especially as Queen of the Most Holy Rosary. We pray the rosary together every afternoon at about 2:40 pm (on Sundays we say it privately) and you are welcome to join us for that, too.

Dominicans through the centuries have been devoted to Mary and the Eucharist. Legend has it that Our Lady herself gave St. Dominic the rosary as a powerful prayer to help in his work re-establishing the Catholic faith in Europe. St. Catherine of Siena, it is said, lived on nothing but the Eucharist for the last few months of her life. Our own monastery traces its Eucharistic roots back to France, where a monastery of Dominican nuns established perpetual adoration and then brought this tradition to the United States when a foundation was made here.

We feel blessed to be a part of a year that will lift hearts and minds to Mary and the Eucharist–in the diocese of Tyler, Texas and hopefully in many other places as well. If you are in the Lufkin area, please come by and spend some time with Jesus–He’s waiting for you!

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!

Jubilee Mass!

One of the priests who attended (and concelebrated) our 75th Jubilee Mass recorded it, and you can see it here (it starts about 9:07) https://www.facebook.com/stpatrickslufkin/videos/1025853264863968/

We hope to have more pictures and other good things to post next week! It’s been busy (as usual) here but it will happen!

New Things Afoot

Photo by Stas Knop on Pexels.com

We have some minor changes here at the Monastery…and on our website! We’ve uploaded the Fall issue of “Monastery Bells”, our newsletter, and you can view it as a PDF by going to https://lufkintxnuns.org/monastery-bells-newsletter. While there, you can also check out some of our back issues, which include news about our Jubilee, the infamous “snowpocalypse” of February 2021, and other things. As always, if you’d like to receive “Monastery Bells” via snail mail, just send us an email with your address and we’ll send it to you! No charge, and we never sell our address list.

The other change involves time–that is, the schedule. We’re trying something new to see how it works out. Most of the day–including Mass times–won’t be affected at all, but we will now have Compline followed by Benediction at 8 PM every night. This is just a trial, so we’ll let you know if it becomes permanent. If you’d like to check out the rest of our schedule, please visit our website. We’re always happy for people to come and join us for prayers, or adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, or just some quiet time in chapel. God bless you!

Visit with the Nashville Dominicans

Most people don’t consider Lufkin, TX a crossroads in America–but it sure does seem like we get a lot of visitors! And we’re delighted to have them! Recently, these two sisters from the Dominicans Sisters of St. Cecilia, based in Nashville, TN, stopped by for a brief visit. They’re vocation directresses for the community, and they were busy driving to various spots in Texas to promote vocations. They promised to spread the word about us, too, which we appreciate. We’re always struck by the similarities in our habits–only the veil is noticeably different.

May God bless the Nashville Dominicans with many good and holy vocations, and may He send some our way, too!