Sunday, June 5, 2011

Five sisters celebrate...

Left to right: Sister Henry Marie, Sister Mary Patricia, Sister Anne Marie, Sister Miki
Seated at right: Sister Anita

The profession formulas of five Benedictine women were placed on our altar - again. Between them, two-hundred and sixty years of fidelity to the monastic way of life. Our Gathering Space was filled with gifts and flowers from friends, family and sisters - small tokens of love and gratitude for staying on the path of God's commandments. Each sister raised her hands three times offering her life to God as she did on the day of her perpetual profession. Together they sang the ancient words: Receive me, O God, as you have promised that I may life. Do not disappoint me in my hope.

Flowers, festive dress and glorious music marked the day as sacred. My promises are still so was gift to see that the life brings each of us to wisdom and holiness inasmuch as we are willing to accept the graces along the way. Whether 25, 50, 60 or 75 years, these five women of faith have in common an ever-deepening hunger for God and a determination reach the goal of eternal joy. Joyful tears, a bit of laughter and deep awe - these were the gifts blessed and broken. Sorrows remembered and empty places acknowledged - the cup taken and shared. In each one of us is all of us. When we celebrate jubilee, we remember that God is with us and walks each of us into a future of blessing.

Sister Anita Sherwood, OSB, made her profession 75 years ago! We were so happy that she was able to enjoy her special day. We welcomed over 200 to our table. Among our guests and sisters were 14 graduates of Saint Gertrude High School - our private secondary school for young women in Richmond. They gathered around Sister Anita who was principal to nearly all of them!

Family and good friends were the best gift of all for our five jubilarians. Remarking on her 75 years of professed monastic life, Sister Anita was heard saying, "I think I'll stay."

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