Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Three bowls...

This morning I laid out three cereal bowls and spoons – one for Sister Mary, one for Karen and one for me. (You probably can guess which one us eats from the melamine "Spiderman" bowl. It was a gift, OK?) It was such a happy sad moment. I felt a rush of joy because this simple ritual means that our house in a home again – we are three. I felt a twinge of sadness, too, because that was always Sister Charlotte’s gift in the early morning. I remember how it made me feel loved when I first moved in three years ago. It really is the little things in community – or in a family – that touch the heart deeply. I missed her this morning - even as I thanked God for Sister Mary and Karen.

Today was their first day at Saint Gertrude High School. I can’t tell you how many teachers and students stopped to greet us! There is great joy around their arrival and the gift of their presence at Saint Gertrude this year. Miss Alexander, who did her undergrad in Mathematics, will intern with Campus Ministry and be a Math resource for students who need some one-on-one support. Sister Mary, a former research librarian – will do special projects in the Library & Media Center. They both have many gifts to share, though it is their joyful Benedictine selves that will be the real gift to our school. Both received homemade “welcome” cards from Miss Fusco’s theology class. Very sweet… And there were some real sweets in the mailbox marked, “Benedictine Sisters.” It was a lovely first day of school that began with a very good morning. Three bowls on the kitchen counter mean that my days of dining alone are over. More importantly, three bowls mean our Benedictine way of life is continuing in Richmond. That is something to celebrate!

Blessings and love to you all…
- Sister Vicki

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sister Mary makes First Profession...

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.
Some weekend!
Blessings and love to you all...

- Sister Vicki

Sunday, September 5, 2010

"Someone's Knockin' on the Door"...

As the bell rings Rosa Farrar walks, surrounded by her family, to the door of our Chapel.

The community waits inside the Gathering Space for the new postulant to knock.

Sister Cecilia opens the door and asks Rosa the question: "What do you seek?"

Rosa introduces her family to the community: three sons, one daughter and many beautiful grandchildren! After the entrance rite, her family joined us for Evening Prayer and supper on the patio. What a beautiful day God gave us for a celebration!

Our new "sister"...

Sister Pat Novak, OSB, entered the novitiate on Saturday morning. The private rite begins her year in the womb of community - a year of study, prayer and internal ministry.
Sister Doris Nolte, OSB, is our Novice Director. Sister Pat will be in her care for the next 12 months. Though Sister Pat will be limited in her ability to travel during the coming year, she will experience the true freedom of the monastic life. It is the most intense year of initial formation. Sister Pat is looking forward to the journey...and we are blessed to have a new sister among us!

Sister Pat received the blessing of the entire community. After hugs and kisses, we shared a WONDERFUL breakfast buffet with Sister Pat's family.