Tag Archives: Dominican Nuns

West Springfield Dominican Nuns – Back to Basics

In West Springfield, Massachusetts, on a busy street, up on a hill, is the Dominican Monastery of the Mother of God. Their presence there silently proclaims to the passers-by their faith in God and their desire to belong wholly to Him. Their foundress, Mother Mary Hyacinth of Jesus, entered the Dominican Sisters of the Perpetual Rosary in Union City, NJ, on September 8, 1908.  She was chosen by Bishop Thomas Mary O’Leary to be the foundress of their community: “Come, come to Springfield in the name of God and Mary. This will be our gift to Our Lady on the feast of her birth.”

They eventually took on perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and went from Third Order sisters to Second Order nuns. Life in modern times is more complicated for everybody, cloistered nuns not excluded, but they have striven in recent times to strengthen the essentials of their enclosed life, striving for the one thing necessary – union with God.

In 2008, reflecting more deeply upon their contemplative vocation after the nuns’ Jubilee Year, they decided to take back their traditional veil, believing that each nun should strive to become a mini “house of prayer.”  This was followed by the restoration of a simple grille in their parlors in 2011, as another reminder of their call to silence and withdrawal from the world.

Following the Rule of St. Augustine, they make solemn vows and follow Papal enclosure. The solemn chanting of the Divine Liturgy is at the heart of their day.  Their Eucharistic adoration and Rosaries flow out of this wellspring of grace, while study and lectio divina are a fruitful preparation for it.  They strive to make the Liturgy as beautiful as they can, all for the glory of God.

May Our Lady, who helped them to begin this work of love for God, allow it flourish through her special Motherly intercession.  Amen!

Dominican Nuns of Marbury Vocation Letters

marburyThe Dominican Nuns in Marbury, Alabama, have issued a series of letters between a woman (fictional) discerning a vocation and a Dominican nun. The names may have been changed to protect the innocent (as they said in the old Dragnet series) but the letters do accurately depict Dominican monastic life as it is typically lived at Marbury. The sisters wish to keep their day-to-day life veiled behind the enclosure but you get a good glimpse of Dominican life behind the walls as you read on!

“Melanie” writes to the Novice Mistress “Magistra” which is Latin for “lady teacher.” Melanie also writes to her sister “Clare” who is curious about her “Come & See” visit to the monastery. After she enters the monastery, she writes to her family. Here are some excerpts:

It seems to be a common misconception that “extroverts should be active, introverts should be contemplative.  However our community history does not bear that out…. God calls people of all temperaments to live for Him in the contemplative life…. From Sr. Mary Magistra

It is a great motive for fidelity and joy in living our cloistered, contemplative life, to know that we are living it on behalf of and in union marbury1with our brethren the Dominican friars (and the other members of the Dominican family) in their consecration to God and in their preaching for the salvation of souls. From Sr. Mary Magistra

When Mom and Dad experience first-hand the peace to be found here, and see for themselves the joy of the nuns, they understand much better why such a life could be attractive and fulfilling for their own child. From Sr. Mary Magistra

When is the best time to enter religious life? Without delay. From Sr. Mary Magistra

(Melanie, writing to her family after entering) Since this was my first time being here in the monastery for the Paschal Triduum, I had to use of lot of energy just following everything and trying to turn the page at the right time, but I am so looking forward to having these ceremonies grow into a part of me over the years….  It is truly the liturgy that gives direction and movement to our lives, drawing us ever deeper each year into union with the Mysteries of Christ, “whom we desire to love solely.”

The letters are accompanied by charming pictures. As a visitor to Marbury last spring, I can vouch for the accuracy of the images!

For more information, visit the Marbury website.

marbury3

 

5 Myths About Cloistered Life

marbury3The Dominican nuns of St. Jude Monastery in Marbury, Alabama, have a little brochure describing the 5 myths about cloistered life.

Myth #1: They pray all day

Their whole life is harmoniously ordered to preserve remembrance of God throughout the day. They chant the 7 hours of the Divine Office daily and have times for Adoration, meditation and the rosary. But they also clean, cook, nurse, study, recreate and more. They rise early and go to bed late and their hearts are free for God alone.

Myth #2: Talented. Go elsewhere?

Of course, all of the talents a women brings to the cloister are put to good use (teacher, musician, artist, writer, nurse) but the greatest gift a woman gives to God is the gift of herself, so that it may bear fruit a hundredfold for the life of His Mystical Body. Contemplatives are Christ’s chosen spouses, imaging in a radical way the exclusive union of the Church as Bride with her Lord.

Myth #3: The Cloister is for Introverts

The cloistered life involves solitude of heart which leads to deeper union with God. It also involves intense community, for you live in the enclosure with your sisters 24/7, 365 days a year. They pray, work and recreate together, striving to grow in unity of heart and mind rooted in love of God. . The cloistered life is for both introverts and extroverts—both have strengths and challenges which are transformed by grace; both serve God.

Myth #4: Cloistered Nuns Never Talk

The question is not, “Do I like to talk?” Rather it is, “Am I able to keep silence?” Silence is an ancient monastic observance which directs a nun’s thoughts and affections towards God rather than in unnecessary and distracting chatter. During work hours, however, the sisters speak when necessary and talk during meetings, classes and recreation.

Myth #5: Unfit for the Active Life? Try the Cloister.

Actually, the cloistered Dominican life is just as demanding though not as distracting as that of a student, mother or active religious. Normal good health is essential to enter upon their life of total dedication, complete self-giving to Jesus through Mary for the salvation of souls, lived through the monastic life of the community.

Contact the Dominican nuns for the brochure or if you are interested in knowing more about their life.

 

Keeping Their Eyes on Christ

Who knew that nuns roller bladed?
Who knew that nuns rollerbladed?

During our December Executive Committee Board Meeting, the IRL unanimously approved the  nomination of the Cloistered Dominican Nuns of the Monastery of the Infant Jesus in Lufkin, Texas, to be an IRL Affiliate Community.

As contemplative Dominican Nuns, their mission is to witness to the Gospel by a hidden life of prayer and sacrifice on behalf of all God’s people. They adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament throughout the day and evening.

Their monastery is located in the piney woods of East Texas on almost 100 acres of land that includes a small lake. The chapel at the monastery is open to the public to come to for prayer or to attend daily Mass.

The Dominican nuns were founded of course by St. Dominic in Prouilhe, France, in 1206. However, this monastery was founded from Detroit (now Farmington Hills), Michigan, in 1945. There are presently 23 nuns in their monastery who hail from the USA, Cuba, Mexico, Tanzania and Vietnam. They sing the entire Liturgy of the Hours as a community every day.

For more information, visit their website!

oplufkinAnd for a glimpse into their life, watch this YouTube video!

The nuns should keep before their eyes by day and night Christ the Lord who, during his life on earth, offered up prayers and supplications to God with loud cries and tears, and now sits at the right hand of the divine majesty, always living to make intercession for us. (LCM 74:I)