This article was originally posted August 23rd, before the big crash…
The past weeks have turned into busy months of planning for a great wedding anniversary – Mother Catherine Marie is celebrating 50 years as a professed Passionist Nun! Many preparations both temporal and spiritual have been made…the day is almost here. The public celebration is this Saturday and our community celebration will be in October.
I’d like to offer this post in tribute to families who have a son or daughter who is a priest or consecrated person or who is discerning such a vocation…be assured that the FAMILY is the first to benefit (in this life and the one to come) from such a stupendous gift.
The following is a meditation Mother wrote for the Mass booklet. I hope you will be blessed by it and join us in prayers of thanks to God for his fidelity to his Passionist bride.
Behind and before each vocation to the priesthood or the consecrated life there is always someone’s strong and intense prayer: a grandmother, a grandfather, a mother, a father, a community.
(Pope Francis, April 21, 2013)
As I reach this 50-year milestone in my life’s journey, my heart is overflowing with gratitude to God for His merciful love, and for the working of His providence through the family, community and friends accompanying me through life.
Whose “strong and intense prayer” was it that obtained for me the grace to realize, appreciate and say “yes” to the vocation assigned to me from eternity? One of the joys of heaven will be to see clearly how interwoven all of our lives have been in the family of the Church, as we loved, prayed for and served one another.
Kay, second eldest of 10 children, is standing 2nd from left. This photo was taken shortly before her entrance in the monastery
August 7, 1961.
No vocation, no calling within the family of God is ever for itself alone. Each is ordained to build up the Body of Christ in love. Only through the grace flowing from the pierced Heart of Jesus, crucified and risen, can any of us be faithful to the vocation God assigned to us. The fidelity of one sustains the fidelity of others.
It is with this awareness of the Church as the family of God and all of us as companions on the journey, that I have invited you to thank God with me and with my community for all His blessings as I tried to live my contemplative Passionist vocation throughout these years.
I am particularly grateful for the presence today of my 95-year-old mother. It was from my parents that I “caught” the faith, and first learned to pray. Their generous gift of themselves, their time, talent and treasure to the Church, showed me what active participation in the life of the Catholic Church is about. Their devotion to God, to the Church and their family created an environment in which I was able to hear the call of God for my own life.
Mother with her parents during her
25 Silver Jubilee celebration
Nevertheless, this didn’t make it easy for them or for me, as I left a close-knit family for the cloister. But God is never outdone in generosity. At my Silver Jubilee Mass 25 years ago, Mom and Dad offered the following prayer:
“God our Father in heaven, You choose and call whomever You will. We now thank You for choosing one of our children to serve the Church as a consecrated religious. We say ‘now’ because at the time You called Catherine, we did not have the faith, trust and love of Abraham as he freely offered Isaac back to You. We happily and freely renew the gift of our daughter to Your Son in Passionist life. Through her example of prayer and sacrifice, joined with her sisters in this Monastery, she has been a rock of strength for our family unity. We beg that all of us will remain faithful to the Church and to serving You in the vocation to which You call each of us. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Picking up on Mom and Dad’s words, as I offer humble thanks to God today in union with Jesus’ sacrifice in the Holy Mass, I pray that this celebration will help all of us to “remain faithful to the Church and to serving” God in the vocation to which He has called each one of us.
Thank you for coming. Let us pray for one another!
“May the Passion of Jesus and the Sorrows of Mary
be ever in our hearts!”