Wednesday, February 2, 2011

One of those moments...

photos: Michelle Sinkhorn, OSB (Ferdinand, IN)

There are moments in life that feel huge – they crystallize even as you are still experiencing them. I had that feeling this past weekend as 100 Benedictine women - under the age of 55 - from across North America and Puerto Rico gathered to celebrate a hopeful future. This assembly was especially significant because we met beyond the boundaries of our federations/congregations – the structures that currently exist to organize our houses. I saw women I haven’t seen since I was a novice and met many I had never met before. New friends - all daughters of Benedict and Scholastica – it doesn’t get any better than that for an extrovert!

What Hilton or Holiday Inn did we co-opt for this nun-fest? Truly, monastic women are happiest at home so we chose to meet in one of two monasteries large enough to accommodate a group of this size – Mount St. Scholastica Monastery, Atchison, KS. We are indebted to the prioress there, Sister Ann Sheperd, OSB and the many sisters who made hospitality seem effortless.

Today, the Church celebrates the Feast of the Presentation – the special day that Mary and Joseph brought their baby to God in the Temple at Jerusalem. The first male child – consecrated, set apart for God’s service and glory – just happened to be the long-awaited Savior of the world – his very flesh the temple of the Most High God. It was surely an overwhelming moment for his parents, Simeon and Anna – the holy prophets who longed to see his face.

There is another layer to this feast – it is one day in which our Church acknowledges religious women and men everywhere who have consecrated their lives to God’s service. As we celebrated (a little early) with Bishop Di Lorenzo yesterday, I couldn’t help thinking of those 100 women in Kansas. Each sister represents a family that gave a daughter to God through the Order of St. Benedict. Those 100 are just a small segment within the Benedictine household - and a tiny speck in the great gathering of all women religious - so many lives given in true freedom, so many faithful parents willing to give back to God a most precious child. May God bless the women in discernment with our monasteries and give their families the courage to support them in their search for God. Happy feast!

Blessings and love to you all…
- Sister Vicki