Do you ever have thoughts about being a Sister? What do you do? Here is the story of a young girl.
July 28, 2014
Sister M. Gemma is preparing to make her First Profession of Vows on August 14th. Here is an article she shared with her home diocese:
“The Consecrated Life is Baptism out loud,” (Reverend Dennis Gill). My name is Sister M. Gemma Kissel, and I grew up as a member of St. Pius X Parish in Edgewood, KY. I entered the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George in September 2011. This year I have been preparing for my first profession of vows. I believe that the Holy Spirit is prompting me to share a piece of my journey with you, who are also members of the diocese where my love story with our Lord began.
It began with an encounter. Praying before our Lord in the Tabernacle, like many times before, I met Him personally. For the first time I became aware of God’s love for me; that He desired me as an individual. The God and Creator of the universe waits for us in the Tabernacle. He wants to shower us with His Love. Yet how often we fail to meet Him there, absent in body or in mind. Jesus’ Presence in the Eucharist changes us to the degree that we are open. He longs to fulfill our every desire. All that remains is for us to come to Him; to let Him love us. The more love our Lord poured into my heart, the more I wanted His Love. I found myself attending daily mass and adoration. I began going to confession once a month. There is no better way to encounter the Lord than in the sacraments He instituted. I have come to love confession. While it is still hard to look at and admit my failings, God has shown me that it is Him we meet in the confessional. In receiving this sacrament we open ourselves up to the treasure of God’s abundant mercy. Sin divides us from God and confession knocks down all walls. The Lord had still more in store for me. Gently He began to reveal His desire for me to be completely His, as His Bride. I grew up picturing my future husband, and how he would propose to me. The Lord, who I knew as my Creator and Redeemer, now sought me as His Bride. We all want to be known, valued, and loved. That is exactly what our Lord offers us. For me and others called to the Consecrated Life we claim Him as our exclusive Spouse in our vow of Chastity. We bind ourselves in love to do His will through the vow of Obedience. We choose Him as our only possession in the vow of Poverty. We do all in imitation of Christ who chose to be poor, chaste, and obedient in His life here on earth.
Over the past three years, as I have been learning what it means to be a Bride of Christ, I have come to a better understanding of what is entrusted to us at our baptism. To authentically live out our baptismal consecration is radical! Pope Saint John Paul II spoke of the universal call to holiness. Each baptized person is called to complete conformity with Christ; to become a saint. “The Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms that ‘the entire Christian life bears the mark of the spousal love of Christ and the Church. Already Baptism, the entry into the People of God, is a nuptial mystery; it is so to speak the nuptial bath which precedes the wedding feast, the Eucharist,’ (CCC 1617). Thus, ‘Christian perfection has but one limit, that of having none,’ (CCC 2028). It is thus that the Christian vocation as such admits to a certain totality. The grace of baptism itself imparts an objective holiness by which the Christian is bound to strive subjectively for the perfection of charity,” (The Foundations of Religious Life p170). Religious profession, while not a necessary result of baptism, is a deepening of our baptismal consecration. As the baptized, what is our Mission? It is to allow the Lord to fill us as He longs to do; that we may bring the world to God and God to the world in all the “ordinary” moments of our days. I ask for your prayers as I continue to seek my Divine Spouse. You are in my prayers that you may, “become holy. Each of us has a capacity to become holy, and the way to holiness is prayer,” (Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta).
June 6, 2014
What does a religious vocation have to do with evangelization? Everything! If you want to learn more, we invite you to join us on May 29th as we join EWTN (www.EWTN.com) on Life on the Rock from 8PM -9PM EDT. Our Sisters, Sister M. Maximilia Um and Sister M. Bernadette Morse will be joining show hosts, Father Mark and Doug Barry to talk about Vocations and Evangelization. Tune in and don’t miss it!
May 5, 2014
During this Easter season and this month of May devoted to our Blessed Mother I have been reflecting on the Easter Vigil homily of Pope Francis. In the Gospel he recounts how the women told the disciples Jesus’ command, “to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.” He goes on further to describe the significance of their return to Galilee. “Galilee is the place where they were first called, where everything began!”
Where did everything begin for Mary? What was her Galilee? I returned with her to the moment of the Annunciation. It is the beginning of Mary’s vocation as the Mother of God. Her yes leads to the indwelling life of Jesus within her and the call to go forth and care for her cousin Elizabeth. This has led me to return to my own moment of saying yes to become a Sister and the new life I received in following the Lord’s will, which is the message of the Resurrection. Now may you ponder these questions which Pope Francis gives to us “What is my Galilee? Where is my Galilee?”
- Sister M. Caterina, FSGM
May 1, 2014
I was born three years after he was elected. I was a teenager when he came to St. Louis in 1999. I was a young adult when he died. Until I was 24 years old, he was the only Pope I knew. Now he is a saint. On Divine Mercy Sunday, one of my favorite feastday because it emphasizes God’s unbounding love and desire that all would respond to that love, I rejoiced with the Church as Pope John Paul II was canonized alongside Pope John XXIII. It was an occasion on which I was renewed in gratitude for the gift of the name given to me when I was received into the community. He was not even beatified when I received the name, but we all knew it would happen sooner than later. I wanted to be named for a zealous, missionary catechist. He was not the first to come to mind, but after my initial ideas were rejected, it became clear that he fit the bill.
In the nearly eight years I have borne his name, different aspects of his life and teaching have struck me but I consistently return to one phrase, echoed countless times in his speeches and homilies: Be not afraid.
Given his life experiences, no one would have blamed him if he were afraid. He experienced loss, loneliness, war, being elected Pope (probably the scariest moment) and an attempt on his life. Yet he knew “Him in whom He trusted.” Christ was his sole hope and that witness gives me courage. His difficulties were never used to justify mediocrity or as an excuse to give up. He carried his crosses to the end and he did so with love for us, imitating Christ’s sacrificial love. He carried his cross and he won the crown of life.
He is a hero, but an ordinary hero. He chose to become better rather than bitter. Even what seems extraordinary (ie, taking down communism), was accomplished because he cooperated with God’s grace. All of us have what it takes to become a saint, an ordinary hero. We just need to do it, forsaking excuses and shortcuts. Inspired by our newest saint and assisted by his prayer, it seems a bit more accessible to me. Sunday’s celebration was a reminder of what happens when we cooperate with Divine Mercy.
My connection with Pope John XXIII is not as intimate as my name, but he looks out for me all the same. From the time I was a young child spending the night at my grandparent’s house, he was watching over me, literally, from a framed picture that hangs on the wall of my father’s boyhood bedroom. I did not know who he was until I was in college, but when I learned more about him, his life, papacy, and contributions to the Church, I was glad to know that we were old friends. I was also excited to learn the day on which I was baptized, October 11, is the anniversary of the opening of Vatican II and observed as his feastday.
Both of our new saints radiated the joy of Christ through their humor and in the manner in which they encountered each person with whom they came in contact. They used all that they were for God’s glory and now they share it with Him. May we all one day join those same ranks in the Ocean of Mercy.
- Sister M. Karolyn, FSGM
April 24, 2014
On Palm Sunday, April 13, 2014, I renewed my vows for the first time with 16 other junior professed Sisters. It took me back to August 14that my first profession, saying the words for the first time and placing my hands into those of Mother M. Regina Pacis. Our lives are consecrated and lived through the vows, not simply for their own sake, but for the sake of others. As a Community each Sister has the responsibility to live individually and yet together this way of life as the Body of Christ. When each junior professed sister renewed her vows, and as I did it myself, it was beautiful to recall that image of the Body of Christ and to allow Him to lead me each day wherever He desires His merciful love to be made visible.
April 18, 2014
As first year novices we spend quite a bit of time learning, reading, and praying about our three vows. So far, I have focused more of my time outside class on the vows of poverty and chastity. It has been a great blessing to deepen my understanding of God’s call for me to live in intimate union with Him – loving Him before all others and above all else, and seeing everything (and everyone) else as a gift from Him. I have been able to recognize more His great love for me in the gift of my vocation and all the many gifts He gives me each day of my life.
That was a rather long introduction to the point of this post. I am supposed to be writing about a Lenten grace. When I was praying about how God was calling me to fast and pray this Lent, He seemed to be saying, “Okay, what are you waiting for? It’s time to think about that third vow.” So I resolved to focus on Obedience for this time of Lent. It seemed simple enough to me – just do what my superiors asked, follow the order of the day, and be cheerful while doing it. If I really wanted a challenge I could even make myself available to do things that my co-sisters asked, even though I didn’t really have to. By doing all of this I could more closely imitate Christ in His obedience to the Father.