Reflections From the New Novice

    On February 2, the feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple and the day dedicated to honoring Consecrated Life in the Church, I received the Passionist habit and a new name. In a simple and moving ceremony, I put aside my secular dress and embraced a new existence as a betrothed bride of Christ, choosing to belong exclusively to the Crucified Lover of our souls. May He who has drawn me here to St. Joseph Monastery be forever praised!

Clothed in the Passionist Habit

    It is, indeed, a great privilege to be clothed in the Passionist habit, and this privilege brings with it great responsibility. This garment is actually a sacramental, blessed by the Church through the hands of a priest so that it may be an outward sign of an interior reality: the clothing of my heart with the Passion of Jesus. I have been given a call to be a witness to the world that Jesus Christ suffered, died, and rose again for our salvation!

    St. Paul of the Cross, our founder, explains that

the Daughters of the Passion, not only by their habit but much more so in their heart, in their mind, and in their labors, should continually mourn out of love for the Crucified Lord, and anoint His most holy wounds by the continual exercise of every virtue.

    Having been clothed in the Passionist habit, I must with my whole life show forth His magnificent love which was willing to be crucified for you and for me. 

Given a New Name…

    Our Lord inspired Mother Catherine Marie, CP, to give as my name Sr. Cecilia Maria of the Body of Christ, a name which holds deep significance for me. I am Cecilia after the early Roman virgin-martyr and after one of the foundresses of our monastery, and I rejoice at the opportunity to learn from St. Cecilia how to sing hymns to the Lord in the oratory of my heart. Our Passionist motto is, “May the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ be ever in our hearts!”; my refrain will forever be, “May the canticle of the Passion be ever in my heart!”

    I am Maria after our Blessed Mother, another holy maiden who lifted up her heart in continuous and joyful song to the Lord. Whether in ecstasy as she carried Him in her womb, or in adoration and offering as she stood at the foot of the Cross, or through all the ages as she raises us up as her spiritual children, the Virgin Mary has always sung a double refrain: “My soul magnifies the Lord,” and “May it be done to me according to your word.” May she grant me a share in her spirit as I embark on this adventure of religious life.

…and title

    My title, “of the Body of Christ,” refers to the three great loves of my prayer life: the Eucharistic Body, the Mystical Body, and the Crucified Body of Christ. Indeed, all three are one – the “whole Christ” who pours Himself out in order to feed us and to draw us into Himself, so that we are offered upon the Cross with Him in an eternal and perfect sacrifice. May my life, poured out in this Passionist cloister as an offering to Him, become ever more united with His, “offered once for all” for the salvation of the world.

    Please pray for me, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, that I may persevere in my prayers for you.


13 thoughts on “Reflections From the New Novice

  1. Pingback: Lisa Graas » Sr. Cecilia Maria, Clothed in the Passionist Habit

  2. Pingback: Lisa Graas » Are Depression and Boredom Interconnected?

  3. Pingback: Are Depression and Boredom Interconnected? - Christian Forums

  4. Both of your novices are splendid writers and beautiful, luminous witnesses to the love of Christ and the joy of the consecrated life. This is a lovely post and your community inspires me. I love to visit this blog. It calms me.

    Also I love the panoramic picture at the top. The crucifix in th center of your garden is eloquent of how our Lord is the center of your lives. I pray you get many new vocations.

  5. Sponsa Christi,

    Hope that you are well and enjoying a blessed Lent. I am still grateful for your many prayers that helped my family and me through a difficult time. God bless you and your community.

    If you have the time, I’ve tagged you for a meme on my blog:

    In Jesu XPI Passio,

    Dear David, it’s good to hear from you! It has been awhile. God bless you for tagging us. We will participate. Hope to post it soon…(famous last words???)

  6. Lisa beat me to it. I agree that I love the Novitiate Corner pages and the profiles at the bottom of the home page. Then again, I have a bias!

  7. Hi Sr. Cecilia (Kirstine to us 🙂 ),
    We enjoyed your novitiate corner page. Nice to see the pictures.
    Love Alice, Chris, & Grandma

  8. My, but she is truly a Passionist.

    What touches me most, Sr. Cecilia Maria, is your title “of the Body of Christ” because my conversion was Eucharistic. I remember my first attendance at Mass, and the hymns were “One Bread, One Body” and “Gift of Finest Wheat”….and how phenomenal it was to see all those souls filing up to the front of the Church to receive Him. I knew nothing of the Eucharist until that moment, except from what I remembered from reading in John 6, and I was immediately converted in my heart to Christ. I hope that more and more people will be drawn to that great joy the way you were on your journey. So many are unmindful of Him, but He has drawn you to Himself profoundly, and so many graces will surely come for others who so need to know of the Body of Christ. I thank you for the gift of yourself.

  9. Question. I know different communities choose names in religion for their novices differently. From Sr Cecilia Marie’s essay, it sounds as if in your community, Mother Catherine makes the selection.

    Some Sisters have a clear connection between their name in religion and their baptismal names. Others do not. If it isn’t the new Novice’s own decision, how does your community decide when to have clear continuity (Andrea –> Sister Mary Andrea) and when to do something extremely different (Ane Kirstine –> Sister Cecilia Marie)?

    Thanks! This blog is fascinating.

    Great question! As you noted, the Superior selects the novices name. She does it after dialogue with the novice-to-be and after much prayer. The community has no say in the selection of the new name. The decision is entirely in the hands of the Superior acting under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, to truly understand why some are given their baptismal name and others an entirely new name you would have to understand Mystery. 🙂

    Hope that answers your query.

  10. Compliments to the webmaster SMA for the new and improved link to the blog from the homepage. Thank you for all the work you put into making your website excellent.


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