From the Pastor: Sister Rachel Maria Sends Her Love!
Sister Rachel Maria of the Virginal Heart of Mary professed Solemn Perpetual Vows as a Servant Sister of the Home of the Mother! She was absolutely thrilled that my mother and I made the trip, that you all helped her family make the trip, that the ceremony and Mass were going to be livecast in our social hall, that the... Well, let me just say that she was thrilled with everything and everyone! There were no words to really express what she was going through but she kept saying “thanks” and “I’m sorry”. The “thanks” was for all that you have done back here for her and her family. The “I’m sorry” was for not being able to spend much time with anyone, including her own family, and not being able to thank everyone in person or enough. She was busy. She needn’t have apologized, as her frenzied, bubbly, joyful, busyness was expected by everyone but her!
Eleven Sisters and one Brother made their professions in the same ceremony. They were asked by the Bishop (I will use only the feminine, though the questions were also asked, obviously, to the Brother in the masculine), “Dear Sisters: What do you ask of God and of His Holy Church?” Their answer was, “To serve the Lord in the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother all the days of my life.” The Bishop asked more questions. “Dear Sisters: Through baptism you have died to sin and are consecrated to the Lord. Do you now wish to consecrate yourselves more intimately to God through the perpetual profession in the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother?” Each replied, “Yes, I do so wish.” Bishop: “Do you wish, by the grace of God, to faithfully observe perfect chastity, obedience, and poverty, thus imitating Jesus Christ and His Mother, the Virgin Mary?” Sisters: “Yes, I do so wish.” Bishop: “Do you wish to strive to obtain perfect charity with God and with your neighbor, with firmness and constancy, faithfully following the Gospel and observing your statutes?” Sisters: “Yes, I do so wish.” Bishop: “Do you wish to defend the Eucharist and the Honor of Our Mother, especially in the privilege of her virginity, in and with your life?” Sisters: “Yes, I do so wish.” Bishop: Do you wish, guided by the Holy Spirit, to generously spend your entire life at the service of the people of God, especially of the youth?” Sisters: “Yes, I do so wish.” We prayed that God would give them the graces necessary to confirm them in their holy resolutions.
Strengthened by the Litany of Saints, they made their vows, which reflect the above-asked questions, ending with, “I surrender myself to You, Lord, with all that I am and all that I have. I consecrate myself to You with all that I may ever be and may ever have. Such as I am, I give myself to You now and forever, as a Servant Sister of the Home of the Mother in order to live with my Sisters in community of life, work, prayer, and love, making of our house a true Home of Nazareth, in full conformity with the Constitutional norms, which we have voluntarily chosen.” Finally, the Bishop gave them a Solemn Blessing and Consecration. “Oh God, source and origin of all holiness, You have so loved men that You have made them participants in Your divinity and You have not permitted that Your plans of love be destroyed by the sin of Adam or changed by the offenses of the world. Already at the beginning of time, You gave us an example of innocent life in Abel. You inspired holy men and women, full of every virtue, to arise among the Hebrew people, among which the Daughter of Zion, the most Blessed Virgin Mary, stands out, in whose virginal womb Your Word, Jesus Christ Our Lord, became incarnate. He is the image of the holiness desired by You. He became poor to enrich us; He became a Servant to restore our freedom. By His paschal mystery and with ineffable love, He redeemed and sanctified His Church, which was promised the gifts of the Spirit. Under the inspiration of the Paraclete, Lord, You have called innumerable sons and daughters of Yours to follow Christ so that by abandoning the things of this world and joined by the bond of love, they may unite themselves to You with a fervent spirit and be at the service of all their brethren. Lord, look upon these Your children, whom You have called in Your providence, and pour forth upon them the Holy Spirit, so that by Your aid and full of joy, they may faithfully fulfill what they have promised today. May they attentively meditate and faithfully follow the examples of the Divine Teacher. May they abound in chastity, joyful poverty, and generous obedience. May they please You with their humility, serve Your with a docile heart, and love You with fervent charity. May they be patient in tribulation, firm in faith, joyful in hope, and active in love. May their life build up the Church, promote the salvation of the world, and be a clear sign of the heavenly goods. Lord, Heavenly Father, may You be the guide and support of Your children, and when they reach the judgment of Your Son, may You be their recompense and reward so that they may rejoice in having offered themselves in religious life. Thus strengthened in Your love, may they rejoice in the company of the Saints, with whom they will praise You without end. We ask this through Christ, Our Lord. Amen.”
We love you, Sister! Ora pro nobis!
With prayers for your holiness,
Rev. Fr. Edwin Palka