As promised, we share with you something of the joy of Carmel in the final profession of our novices. Over four years are spent in preparation for this great day in the life of a Carmelite. But as any of us here can tell you, the Divine Master and Spouse of souls prepares us for long years before this day. For He plants the seed of His grace at holy baptism, and the vows we take “until death” on the day of our final profession are nothing but a perfect fulfillment of the vows of baptism—a further dedication and consecration to the living and true God, our Beginning and our End—Alpha et Omega!
The celebrant of the Mass preached a sermon directly to Sister and reminded her of the close association of the consecrated religious to the work of Christ, especially in His sacrificial work upon the Cross for the salvation of souls. It was in His silent suffering and the surrender of His life that He accomplished the Redemption:
“So does He expect it of you. And He will have nothing less than the complete gift of self, the surrender of mind and heart and body. So that whatever sufferings He has reserved for you, they are meant to be an extension of His own for the salvation of souls... You are meant to share in it; because, you are His closest associate, His bride, a co-worker with Him. You are meant to be a true missionary laboring for souls, to be an assistant, a helper to the priest who extends Our Savior’s work on earth… That’s why I’ve told the Sisters more than once that there is no religious order, no congregation in the entire Universal Church, that is as priestly as this one. I love the picture of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, the Little Flower, when she is shown in the sacristy putting little altar breads in the ciborium. That’s the story of the Order. It expresses the union of all the brides of Christ in this congregation with the Holy Mass, in your providing for…all that is needed for the celebration of the Liturgy, through which Our Lord and Savior comes on earth. He applies your own prayers and sacrifices, uniting them with His Own, to bestow the benefits that He won upon souls, especially those who need them the most.”
We thank all those who sent notes of support and prayers for Sister’s day, May 1st, as well as all friends and family, even from Poland, who attended the veiling ceremony, in which the black veil is given to replace the white veil of the novitiate. Sister’s family shared in the festivities by providing dozens of beautiful white roses, a wedding cake, huge Polish sheet cakes (one with poppy seeds, of course) and a delicious celebration dinner for all the Sisters. Then, they all went out for a big feast of their own, inviting other families and friends of the Carmel.
Striving for perfection and holiness, implicit in the taking of vows, is the first obligation of every religious consecrated to God and His Church. How grateful we are to be able to follow in the footsteps of holy Carmelites who have tread before us the path to perfection and its goal of Heaven. One such Carmelite was Sister Marie-Aimée de Jésus, who lived in the Carmel of Paris in the mid-19th century. We close with her reflection of gratitude for our holy vocation:
with its perfection and way of perfection.
Carmel, with its purity,
Carmel with its special love for the Sacred Humanity of Our Lord
and its veneration of the Blessed Virgin...
Carmel, which has above all glories
the incomparable glory of
With our prayers—in the Immaculate Heart of our heavenly Queen,
Your Carmelite Sisters
P. S. Every vocation, from the beginning of God’s call to the day of final vows, has its trials. These difficulties are the steps along the way which must be met with courage, determination and love, if we are to reach our goal of fulfilling God’s will for us. It is not uncommon for one of the greatest trials of a religious vocation to be parental resistance. In God’s Providence, this was one of our new black-veiled sister’s tests along the way. But most happily, it was also in His loving Providence that our new black-veiled sister’s parents received the great grace to value their daughter’s holy vocation as an immense treasure to the family. May we share the admirable sentiments of her mother, who has become a dear friend to our Carmel?“My dear child, I am very happy that you were accepted to the convent. I am happy because you are happy, and my only desire is that you would be happy. If our good God wants it to be this way, let it be done according to His Will. I only pray that He may give me the same strength that he has given you, and the only hope that I now have left is that someday I will meet you in Heaven and there I will cradle you close to my heart. Live, my dear child, happily in the place that has been given you, and I only ask you to pray for me, and I too will beg God that He would give you strength and peace of soul and heart.”