Well, it has taken me a month, but I think I'm finally ready to write about making my first vows! I'm really not sure why it's taken so long, except that I was traveling, moved, and started a new job in that one short month, so I've been distracted and busy!
The day was beautiful--but a sweltering 104 degrees. Thank you, St Louis! My poor Montana family might have died, but, fortunately, everything is air-conditioned. The celebration took place in St Charles, Missouri, at the Shrine of St Philippine Duchesne, the Religious of the Sacred Heart who brought the order to America in 1818. The chapel was beautiful, as you can see in the pictures, and I think everyone was very happy to be there. My whole family came, my one sibling and his family, my parents, and my two living grandparents (I'm sure the others were with us, too).
I'm really happy. That must be a good sign. At the same time, I'm struggling with the transition of moving to a new place and starting a new job--I just keep telling myself that that's pretty normal too! But the vows were a wonderful event. I was ready for them--that I'm certain. I wasn't really nervous. Well, I wasn't nervous to make the vows, but I was nervous that I would be doing them in front of so many people! The vows ceremony marked the beginning of our provincial assembly, so there were about 200 RSCJ there, plus my friends and family (about 30 more). We also celebrated the jubilees of eighteen sisters. It was quite the festive event.
Back to the vows once again. I keep thinking, what has changed? I'm not really sure. I don't think I'm more committed to this life than I was--if I wasn't already committed to it, I would not have made the vows at all! And yet, there is some sort of quality that's a little different. A little more steady and secure. Plus, I get to use the initials "RSCJ" now! It's like a new name for a new life.
I'm also very glad to be back in ministry, after two years as a novice. I love teaching and have missed it, so it will be nice to get back into the classroom.
The bottom line is that I know I am loved, I know God's love for me, and I know God takes me as I am. That knowledge alone helps me to sit up a little straighter and smile a little more. I pray to be able to bring that love to those I meet in some little way every day.
|"Speak, for your servant is listening."|
|Litany of the Saints|
|Signing the official papers!|
|Declaration of the Word of God|
The readings I chose were 1 Samuel 3:1-10, Colossians 3:12-17, and John 20:1-2, 11-18. The dominant theme is God's call. In the reading from John, Mary Magdalene recognizes the Risen Christ when he says her name--I have always been touched by that.
|Offertory and preparation of the altar|