Until December 6, 2013, the only Capuchins Steven and I had met were those affiliated with the Solanus Casey Center in Detroit. Then we attended Bishop Danny’s annual dinner in Weslaco and learned about the Poor Clares at the Monastery of St. Joseph and St. Rita in Alamo, TX. Amazing, considering that the only Poor Clares we’d heard about were those Father Mario had visited in June when he’d taken St. Anthony’s relics to their monastery in the Chicago area.
Bishop Danny’s annual fundraiser for the various charities in the diocese was the perfect venue for sales. The Capuchin Poor Clare nuns had provided a palette of cookies to be sold
before the live auction, so Steven purchased a box of Clarisas and quickly handed them to me. Gingerly examining the container without flipping it over, my fingertips felt something on the underside of the soft plastic container; so, naturally, I picked away at it with my nails until the tape gave way.
The neatly folded paper square, once smoothed open, satiated some of our curiosity— when, where, and why the Poor Clares had taken up residence in the Rio Grande Valley and why their cookie sales were so important— but the invitation to prayer immediately propelled us into let’s-check-it-out mode.
We fully intended to visit the Capuchins during the Christmas holidays, so we had work to do. I’d write to the Sisters and learn more about the chapel, and Steven would search online for a map and directions.
Subject: Capuchin Poor Clare Nuns - Alamo, TX
Date: Monday, December 23, 2013 9:39 AM
Pax et bonum!
Dear Deli and Esteban Lanoux,
May God reign in your hearts. Thank you for your letter. God be your reward.
Ten years ago our monastery was established in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Here, we adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.
We’re glad you liked the cookies that we make. We sell our cookies only at the convent. We do not sell online because they are very fragile and may break during shipping. The cookies that you viewed on the website are sold by the Capuchin Sisters of Denver, CO.
We hope to meet you one day and personally thank you for your support.
May God bless you always, especially this Christmas.
In Francis and Clare of Assisi,
Your Capuchin Poor Clare Nuns
St. Joseph and St. Rita Monastery
P. O. Box 1099
Alamo, TX 78516-1099
Subject: Capuchin Poor Clare Nuns - Alamo, TX
Date: Monday, December 23, 2013 9:55 AM
What a delight to hear from you personally! Oh, my goodness, yes. Steven and I will be going down to Brownsville during the Christmas holidays, so we’ve already made plans to go visit you before the New Year.
It’s wonderful to know your monastery is so welcoming, that you responded to my letter right away, and that we can buy your delicious cookies when we’re there at the monastery. (Something I’ll definitely post on my personal blog!)
God bless y’all most abundantly!
Deli & Steven
St. Anthony Guide.
Reminiscent of Isaiah’s “treasures in secret places” (45:3), Steven and I are always in awe of the wonderful places (and people) we find here and there. For instance, not long after we arrived at the St. Joseph Chapel in Alamo, we met three lovely visitors, a mother and her two daughters from south of Houston, in the chapel foyer’s gift shop. Like us, they were so taken with their first visit to the Capuchin sacred space that they’ll be returning again and again.
Slice of heaven
Before leaving the chapel, Steven lit twelve votive candles for the twelve months in 2014. As we think back on our visit, our prayers for everyone will be doubly special for having been remembered a year in advance as well as daily wherever we happen to be.
Next, we made our way to the monastery. When we’d walked the grounds earlier, we’d spotted a family dropping off a box of clothing to one of the Sisters; so we thought we might ring the doorbell. Still, we were reluctant to disturb the Poor Clares, since they’re cloistered nuns. Even the chapel has the one-way glass panels on either side of the altar, so the Sisters can attend Mass unseen by the public!
Standing outside the small, wrought-iron barred patio area in the biting cold, I guess we made enough noise that one of the Poor Clares stepped out of the house to see what we needed. When we explained that I’d written to let them know we’d be dropping by, Sister Marta started to let us in; but I motioned to her that we didn’t want to intrude. We merely wanted to leave off some items, find out more about the Clarisas cookies— which we now know are sold at Breadsmith in McAllen— and thank them for the invitation to visit their beautiful chapel.
“Oh, you’ve seen it already?” Sister asked.
“Yes. It’s lovely,” Steven told her.
“Did you photograph it?” Sister asked.
“Yes,” I chuckled. “We spent about three hours in the chapel, so we had more than enough time to pray and take photos.”
Sister was glad for our visit, and we were most appreciative of Sister’s time. The day was cold and damp, but we’d enjoyed a very special slice of heaven that day.
Links of interest… Breadsmith (Clarisas)… Catholic diocese of Brownsville TX: St. Joseph & St. Rita Monastery… Capuchin Poor Clares: about / blog / email / monastery
/ prayer (intentions) / vocations / work… Franciscan: calendar / prayers / requests… St. Clare: about / book / chaplet / companions in prayer / don’t bring eggs (article) / enlightened one / for healing / patroness / profile (Aug 11) / prayer requests / prayers / successor… St. Rita: about / biography / chaplet / feast day (May 22) / forty-six miracles / growing in holiness / life / miracle / national shrine / novena / patroness / prayers / profile / rose legend / story (YouTube)… St. Joseph: about / celebration
(more) / feast / litany / memorial (May 1) / name / prayers (more) / solemnity (Mar 19) / who is / zeppole… Viva San Giuseppe…
WP posts… Budding relationships… Christmas blessings… Clarisas cookies…
Finding St. Rita… God’s master plan… On being Christian… Pink divinity… Promise of hope… Revisiting St. Simon… San Giuseppe… Santo Niño… Seven dwelling places… St. Jude Shrine (Corpus Christi)… Sweet Jesus… Venerable Margaret
Filed under: call of service, chapels, Christmas, prayer, spiritual gifts, St. Clare, St. Joseph, St. Rita | Tagged: building community, God's master plan, St. Joseph & St. Rita Monastery-Alamo TX, St. Joseph Chapel-Alamo TX | Leave a comment »