Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What's new at the monastery?

Lots! Mary Clark, who was accepted to enter our community last summer, will become a postulant on February 8th. To all of you who joined us in prayer for the sale of Mary’s home – THANK YOU!
We have a new face in the house. Robin Duffy, who has lived and worked near Cincinnati for several years, began our “Live-In” Program on November 1st. Please welcome Robin when you see her on Sundays and keep both women in prayer as they continue to discern with us. We know that the prayers of our extended community and of our dear Oblates have brought many of us to God’s house. As we reflect on our blessings this Thanksgiving, know that we will be thanking our God for all of you.
Blessings and love,
- Sister Vicki

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's my feast day!

It was our tradition to take a new name when we entered the novitiate. It was a saint’s name – male or female, it did not matter. I’m told my sisters could request three names and then on the day they became “sisters,” the prioress would give them their new name. Even though they knew the three choices, it was still a surprise to see which name they would carry “in religion.” Then, from that day on, the community would celebrate the saint’s day as the sister’s feast day. On November 22nd, for example, – the feast of Saint Cecilia – we celebrated our prioress’ feast day.

This tradition changed after the Second Vatican Council when the Holy Father and his brother bishops urged religious to reclaim the spiritual roots of our founders/foundresses, and examine their commitment to the life in the light of their baptismal promises. Monastic Profession was thus viewed as the fulfillment of the promises made for us in the waters of baptism. Now, for many sisters, their feast day is the day of their baptism. Such good theology!

There are sisters who came to the Catholic faith as adults so their baptismal day in stored in the heart’s memory. For most of us – myself included – we have only the story of that day according to our parents and some curled-up black and white photos. Regardless of age, we believe that the grace of Christ is at work in us from that day forward. And, it is only by grace, that, as adult Christians, we give ourselves to the monastic life and persevere over a lifetime. I was baptized 45 years ago today at Our Lady of the Magnificat Chapel. My Aunt Winnie and Uncle Bud Hubner held me over the font and the immediate family prayed that the Christ-light would burn bright in my heart. I imagine it as a lovely moment until the reality of history nudges the sweetness aside. Forty-five years ago today, Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald, in full view of a grieving nation. Needless to say, my cuteness was probably not the main topic of conversation after the rite. Yet, in the face of such a brutal act, to bring a baby to the water of life was, in and of itself, an act of great faith.

So, today is my feast day…my sisters here in Richmond have already fussed over me and my sisters at the monastery held me in prayer this morning. It is a lovely tradition in religious life and an opportunity for gratitude for the gift of living water and fragrant oil – the earthy symbols of the Love that will never abandon me on the journey.

Blessings and love to you all…
- Sister Vicki

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Challenging Feast...

It’s been over 230 years since we had a king in America. And, it’s been 45 years since “Camelot” – the closest we’ve come to a royal family in our second century. Yet, we are fascinated by the royals of Europe. OK, I’m a bit fascinated. There is something mysterious and fantastic about kings and queens – persons who attain power and greatness by bloodline and skillful matchmaking. I wouldn’t trade freedom and true democracy for anything, but when Charles and Dianna married, I was watching live in the wee hours of the morning with millions around the world.

That said, what are we American Catholics to make of the Feast of Christ the King? Yes, it’s the last Sunday in the season of Ordinary Time. Yes, it signals the coming of Advent and a new liturgical year. But the image of Christ as king must contain blessing. There must be something to this title that touches the heart. I think our scriptures for this day provide some wonderful texts for contemplation. The “king” we worship is a shepherd who “seeks out the lost” (Ezekiel 34.) We want for nothing in his care (Psalm 23). The enemy of this king is death itself (I Corinthians 15.) And, he will determine our fidelity by acts of compassion and mercy (Matthew 25.) This is a king who chose a throne of wood and iron - a king, who became servant of all beneath a crown of thorns, and who reigns now in glory because he loved us to death. This is a king I can give my heart to.

In The Rule of Benedict our Holy Father asks is we are ready to “take up the strong weapons of obedience and do battle for Christ our King” (Prologue.) Today, in every Church around the world, God’s people say, “YES.” Today, as we celebrate the Feast of Christ our King, we affirm the coming of his kingdom in our midst and pledge our hearts to the works of love that will transform our reality into Christ so that “GOD may be all in all.”

Happy feast! Blessings and love to you all…
- Sister Vicki