A Question for You

First we want to address young women.

Have you ever considered a religious vocation? More specifically, to the cloistered monastic life?

And then for everyone else:

Do you know a young woman who might make a good cloistered nun? Have you ever considered asking her about this?

Although some lucky people know almost from the beginning what they want to do with their lives, many of us here at the monastery were influenced by someone who suggested the idea of a cloistered vocation. That doesn’t mean we were necessarily happy to hear it, at the time! Our society definitely looks askance at people who voluntarily give up good jobs, prospects of marriage and children and a sense of independence to become cloistered nuns. And yet, many of those who were asked inquired–and tried it out–and liked it–and stayed. True, it’s not a call for everyone, but there are probably many people who are unaware God is calling them. (Or they’re trying not to listen, but that’s another story!)

Dominican cloistered religious life is a radical way of serving God and our fellow human beings. Instead of tending the sick, teaching, working for social justice, and other good causes, we devote our lives to prayer for the salvation of the world. While these active ministries are good and necessary, there needs to be a balance of concentrated prayer to help all those working in the world do their jobs better. And there are so many people in the world who don’t pray, who don’t know God, who have never encountered Christ. We pray for them to be led to the truth according to God’s plan for them.

We plan to have a series on Dominican cloistered vocations, which will include special topics of interest as well as interviews with Dominican nuns. We hope you will pray for us to make this series happen! Please pray, too, that the Holy Spirit will touch the hearts of young women and encourage them to investigate further. We have some good prospects right now, and we’d love to add more! Know that we are always praying for you, our readers, too. Thank you for your support!

A “FOCUS” Group

Caroline Werther, a FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) missionary at the University of Dallas, came to our monastery recently with four lovely young women. We had a wonderful time sharing about our lives and vocations, and hearing their stories, too!

As you can see, we were a pretty happy bunch! They came to prayers with us and stayed for lunch and dinner before returning to Dallas.

We have received many inquiries from young women about our life and how we live it, and we welcome any more to come and visit our monastery and see what we’re all about. We’d love to meet you! You can find our contact info on the left side of this blog.

Thank you, Caroline and students! We hope you will come again some time!

A Musical Retreat

We recently concluded our ten-day annual retreat, and it was really something special! Our retreat master this year was Fr. Jim Marchionda, O.P., provincial of St. Albert’s Province (or the central province of the U.S.) and a well-known preacher and composer of liturgical music. Father brought our keyboard into chapel to play and sing his own songs as part of the retreat, and he strongly encouraged us to sing along with him! To make things even easier, he brought along songbooks for each sister, which he allowed us to keep. So we may be integrating more of our brother Jim’s music into our liturgies in the days to come–we’ll see!

Fr Jim Marchionda, O.P.

Our one regret was that Father could not stay the full ten days with us. We were glad to have him when he was available, though, and we do understand how difficult it is for a provincial to get away from the province! But we did have several fruitful days of silent retreat, and we came away renewed in our commitment to prayer. Good thing, too, because the world certainly needs it right now!

Thank you so much, Father! We hope to see you again someday!

Student Stop-by!

Deacon Ryan, Shelby, and a group of students from the University of Dallas stopped by recently on their way to an alternative spring break adventure. Instead of partying and soaking up the sun, these students wanted to help the people of Lake Charles, LA rebuild their homes after all the hurricanes and other natural disasters. We had a fun visit with them–the only problem was its short length! Hope you can come visit us again some time!

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.”

A Work of Art

As part of our 75th Jubilee celebration, a dear friend of ours painted a lovely portrait of the front of the Monastery. We hung it in the lobby, and it looks fantastic!

Sr. Mary Margaret and Ada Jones, artist

We know Ada from our long association with a family in the La Porte-Beaumont, Texas area, the Polkers, who have been generously bringing us groceries of all kinds for 45 years. When Ada joined the fun, we became friends with her–and that led, eventually, to our beautiful painting.

Ada Jones is a Texas artist who specializes in natural scenes in a variety of mediums. You can see more of her artwork (or even purchase some) at her website, https://www.adavjones.com/

Please keep in mind that this painting, like all of Ada’s work, is copyrighted.

Do Nuns Vote?

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

We can’t say for sure that every cloistered nun in America votes, but we know that in our monastery we take our voting rights very seriously. Several of our sisters come from other countries, and when they become citizens, they are always happy to finally be able to vote. Some of the sisters get mail-in ballots; some of the sisters go out to the polls. Either way, we think it’s a great witness. People always notice nuns in full habit wearing their “I Voted” stickers!

This participation isn’t limited to national elections. We also like to keep current with state and local elections. Recently, a candidate for Angelina County Judge, Keith Wright, came out to our monastery with his wife Amy (a dietician and friend of ours) to talk to us about his platform and just what a county judge does, anyway. It was an enlightening experience for all of us–including Mr. Wright, who had probably never been in such close contact with so many nuns before!

We’ve had other local candidates visit us before, and we’re happy to meet anyone running for office–we are not committed to one political party or another. And we’ll certainly pray that all voters will work together to choose the candidate who is following God’s will, whether he/she realizes it or not.

So please, exercise your rights and vote for the candidate of your choice!