Posted by: fvbcdm | October 1, 2014

Feast of Saint Therese of Lisieux (1 October 2014)    

Less than a month ago, the fury of hurricane Katrina struck the Mississippi gulf coast and the city of New Orleans, leaving a trail of havoc that is still very much in evidence. Now, another hurricane of equal strength and danger is in the Gulf of Mexico, threatening this part of the world and our people.

And here I am, in the safety and comfort of my apartment within the confines of this wonderful monastery of cloistered Dominican Nuns in Lufkin—out of “harm’s way” as they keep saying on television. I can assure you that the Sisters are very much aware of their responsibility to pray for the well-being of our neighbors and this part of the country whose hospitality the nuns have been enjoying for sixty years.

I was reminded while preparing for Mass with the Sisters today of the interesting story I heard when visiting some years ago in the city of Rouen in that part of France called Normandy. During the persecution of the Church in England by Henry VIII, a community of Benedictine Nuns sought refuge in Rouen, across the English Channel. They established themselves in a convent there, and remained there for some four hundred years, until after World War II, when they returned to England. During those centuries, Catholic girls from England continued to enter the religious life in Rouen. As the Sisters died they were buried beneath the floor in the cloister walk around an interior garden, and the gravestones were placed on the walls of the cloister . On their return to England, the convent was taken over by our French Dominican Friars who are there now, and whom I visited. The graves of the nuns, and the gravestones are still there in Rouen.

My confreres told me that during the war, the city of Rouen was the target of allied bombardment to cripple the port and render it useless to the occupying German war machine. The Sisters offered themselves as victims and asked God that if lives must be lost in the bombardments, their own lives be taken and those of the surrounding neighbors be spared. One night, some of the bombers became confused and dropped their bombs not in and around the port and the river installations, but in the part of the city where the Benedictine convent was located. Not a single lay person was killed by the bombing, but two of the nuns were. And the local people knew of the nuns’ offering of themselves as victims for the salvation of the people of Rouen, and were deeply grateful to the Sisters for their willingness to die in place of their French neighbors.

I certainly hope that no one must die as a result of hurricane Rita, but I also want to assure my hearers or readers that the Dominican Nuns of Lufkin and the Carmelite Nuns of New Caney are praying for the safety of their neighbors to the Lord who calmed the stormy lake of Galilee twenty centuries ago. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This Message was composed some years ago.


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