At Evening Prayer last night Sister Mary Clark, OSB, made her First Profession. Surrounded by the monastic community and invited guests, Sister Mary made the three-fold promise of stability, obedience and fidelity to the monastic way of life. This ancient formula makes monastics distinct among religious. Benedictines predate the evangelical counsels: poverty, chastity and obedience. Our profession rite is over 1500 years old and reflects the direct instructions of our Holy Father, Saint Benedict.
In making this profession, Sister Mary has bound herself for a period of three years to the Holy Rule. Sister Cecilia Dwyer, OSB, our prioress, spoke to the assembly about monastic profession. Sister Cecilia explained that although this moment constitutes a three-year commitment, Sister Mary must believe that it is truly the beginning of a life-long covenant between her and the monastic community. The power of this rite comes from its focus on Christ. Sister Mary signed her profession formula on the Book of the Gospels - a symbolic act that represents a lifetime of love for the Word. It is a public act in the Church - before God, the saints and the prioress who holds the place of Christ in our house.
Sister Mary is the daughter of Mary Elizabeth Diebler of Mt. Carmel, IL. Sister's family was held in prayer as they are part of our extended community. On Labor Day Sister Mary leaves the monastery to help re-establish the Richmond mission. She will reside at St. Gertrude Convent and serve in the library of our high school. Please keep Sister Mary in your prayers as she continues to search for God as a Benedictine Sister of Virginia.
Blessings and love to you all...
- Sister Vicki