As our chaplain, Fr. Ian, reminded us, a death in the monastery is always bittersweet. We mourn the loss of our sister, and yet we rejoice that she has gone home to God. In the spirit of hope and expectation, we celebrated Sr. Mary Regina’s funeral on Tuesday. The bishop of our diocese of Tyler, TX, Bishop Joseph Strickland, was on hand as main celebrant and he was joined by Fr. Ian our chaplain, Fr. Tom Edelen, and Fr. Ron Foshage, M.S.
We are fortunate to have our own cemetery within our enclosure, and that is where Sister was laid to rest. After the funeral, we met briefly with Bishop Strickland in the community room. The rest of the day was spent in much-needed rest (most of us had spent time throughout the night in vigil with Sister’s body) and ended with a circle recreation at night, as we all reminisced about Sr. Mary Regina, remembering her many talents and good qualities, the things she did as part of our community, and her steadfast devotion to prayer, especially in the last years of her life. May you rest in peace, Sister Mary Regina!
This has been some week for visitors! First Bishop Eduardo, and now Bishop David Toups of Beaumont, TX on Thursday. Bishop Toups was on his way to Nacogdoches (a town near Lufkin), realized he would be passing by, and called to ask if he could stop for a brief visit. Of course we said yes! Bishop Toups arrived with a young priest from the Beaumont diocese, Fr. Philip Tran.
We have a strong connection to the Beaumont diocese because our monastery was located within it for many years. In fact, the Monastery of the Infant Jesus has been in four different dioceses–Galveston, Galveston-Houston, Beaumont, and Tyler–without ever changing its location.
Of course we had to get a picture with the Bishop and Fr. Tran, and our chaplain Fr. Ian kindly took it for us:
Thanks so much for coming by, Bishop! We hope we will see you again some time!
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!
Fr. Ian Bordenave, O.P., is our new chaplain! He’s a Dominican priest of Creole descent who grew up mostly in Florida, and he’s been visiting our community now and again for about twenty years. Right now he’s finishing up his doctoral thesis, and needs a quiet place to work–and so we are fortunate enough to get him! We are enjoying his straightforward homilies and quiet manner, and we hope he will find it quiet enough here to get his work done. We’ll have more about Father in our next issue of “Monastery Bells”, coming out this fall.
Welcome, Father Ian, and may you grow closer to God while you are with us.
Today marks the 75th anniversary of our monastery\’s establishment here in Lufkin! We had big plans for today: a Mass with numerous concelebrants, a reception, visits, souvenirs…but all that went by the wayside when COVID-19 came along. We hope to reschedule these events later, but for now our celebration has been scaled back a lot. Nevertheless, we are still celebrating!
We published a long and informative article on the history of our monastery in the latest issue of our newsletter, \”Monastery Bells\”. If you don\’t receive the Bells, you can read it here.
(By the way, if you\’re interested in receiving our newsletter in your snail mailbox, please go to the email address on our website and send us your name and address! It\’s free!)
We also want to share just a few pictures that didn\’t appear in the Bells:
This is another view of the first incarnation of the Monastery of the Infant Jesus. Note the statue of the Infant Jesus in front! We still have this statue in our infirmary yard. In 1945, the Monastery was right on Lotus Lane, instead of up the hill as it is today.
This photo was actually taken in the late 1940s, but it shows the growth the Monastery experienced in a short amount of time.
The sign on Lotus Lane directing visitors where to turn onto the access road to reach our Monastery today.
Part of the front of the Monastery today.
And finally–another version of our latest community picture!
We give joyful thanks to God for the past 75 years, and pray we will be here for many years to come!