|On the banks of the Hudson with Sr Julia last week.|
Right after I got back from the Theology of the Body program at Franciscan University ("Steubie"), I was off again for two more weeks to see my family in New Orleans (and Texas!). The day after I returned, Sr Julia and I headed to Newburgh, NY, where I had promised to give a group of Carmelite men a workshop on social media and religious life. Their provincial gathering included the celebration of Jubilees (one priest was celebrating his 70th anniversary!) and the feasts of their patrons, the prophets Elijah and Elisha. I have been in religious life a long time, and have participated in many unique liturgies, but this was my very first experience of the Mass in honor of the Prophets Elijah and Elisha.
|Official holy card for the Cooperators' centenary.|
Then it was back to Boston, right on time for our own sisters' Jubilees: nine sisters marked 60, 50 and 25 years of religious vows. I found it hard to believe that our dynamo Sister Mary Thecla is already at her 60th anniversary; we were stationed together in Chicago for her 50th (which she celebrated for an entire year--as she plans to do this time, too!). The day after the Jubilee celebration we had the opening Mass for the Centenary of the Pauline Cooperators' Association, the first of Father Alberione's institutes to be officially recognized by the Church. (I'll post the prayer below.)
In the two days I have had in my office since mid-May I have gotten back to work on the retreat I am scheduled to preach for the sisters starting July 10. Thankfully, I was asked to offer a series of reflections I had already prepared and delivered (twice, I think), but in the years since I have continued to find amazing and pertinent insights from the books I have read and the Gospel readings of the day--and besides, the sisters deserve more than a recycled sermon--so I am attempting to revisit, refresh and revise the original talks. It is a vast and intimidating enterprise, and I have enlisted several friends (including a cloistered sister) to pray for abundant fruits. (Please add your own prayers; it is pretty awkward for me to reprise these themes a third time!)
In between editing retreat talks, I have been taking the newly-repaired drone out for daily practice sessions. Weather permitting, I will get a bit of footage on Saturday when our novices make their first appearance in their habits as they head to chapel for first vows. That's right: this weekend is First Profession Day for our three novices, who will receive the habit Friday morning (our community feast of St Paul)--they receive the habit, but don't actually wear it until right before they make their vows. Family and friends are beginning to arrive now (from all over the world!), along with a group of young women in discernment who will be making a retreat in this context of consecration. (Pray for them all!) You can meet the soon-to-be professed sisters on their social media profiles: Sister Julie, Sister Danielle, Sister Putri.
Just hours after the celebration of the novices' first vows (with the much-anticipated revelation of their new names), our Sister Emily Beata will say "arrivederci" and take off for Italy and the beginning of her preparation for final vows.
|July 2, 1978.|
And the very next day is my 39th anniversary of profession.
I had better keep my running shoes on!