Mon 6 Dec, 2010
Tags: Profession, Sister Maria Victoria, Vows
What a joyous, wonderful, special weekend we had as we celebrated the Rite of First Monastic Profession for our newest member – Sister Maria Victoria! With our Adoration Chapel temporarily closed due to monastery renovations, the ceremony took place in the chapel of Our Lady of Rickenbach (our infirmed Sisters’ facility).
The origins of this beautiful ceremony are rooted in our Rule of St. Benedict. During the rite, a novice is presented to the prioress general and the community after fulfilling the requirements of formation. Then the novice officially seeks admittance to the Congregation after which the Sisters say, “We accept her. We welcome her. Thanks be to God!”
In our Congregation, one who makes profession can request a new religious name. The name – if approved – is kept secret until it’s revealed during the ceremony. So the days leading to the ceremony are usually filled with speculation of what the new name might be, and the novice gets more than a little joy in keeping the secret from everyone.
So when Prioress General Sister Pat finally shared Novice Clarisa’s new name – Sister Maria Victoria – it was met with surprise and delight, especially considering the name was chosen to honor her grandmother.
In a voice that shook with emotion and joy, Sister Maria Victoria made her vows of Stability, Conversatio and Obedience to the Rule of St. Benedict.
Stability is a commitment of lifelong fidelity to God and our Congregation. Conversatio is a commitment to embrace all of monastic life as a path to holiness and conversion. This includes poverty or simplicity of life and chastity. Obedience is a vow of listening, responsive love to the voice of God as it comes to us through prayer, the Rule of St. Benedict, Scripture, our Prioress and our Sisters.
Her petition read: ‘In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen. I, Sister Maria Victoria, of the diocese of Lomas de Zamora, Argentina, vow for three years to Almighty God: Stability, Conversatio and Obedience according to the Rule of Benedict and the Constitution of the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, before God and all the saints and before Sister Patricia Nyquist, Prioress General, and the Sisters of this community.
As a member of this Congregation, I dedicate myself to the adoration of Christ in the Eucharist.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
In witness whereof I have written this document and signed it here at Clyde, Missouri, in the year 2010, on the fourth day of the month of December.’
Sister Maria Victoria placed the petition upon the altar as a symbol of offering her life to Christ in community and was then presented with the habit.
She excused herself to change into her new clothing. Changing from secular clothing to the black and white of the Congregation is an ancient Benedictine custom, ritualizing dispossession, conversion, simplicity and incorporation into the community. Upon her return, Sister Pat placed the emblem of the Congregation around her neck.
Our emblem symbolizes the bread and wine of the Eucharist, inspiring us to always prefer nothing whatever to Christ and to live a life generous of love and humble service.
For the next three years, Sister Maria Victoria will settle more deeply into monastic life and determine whether or not this is the path she wishes to dedicate herself. If so, she can be received as a perpetually professed sister.
Witnessing the Rite of First Monastic Profession is a joyful, spirit-filled experience. We are so glad her friends and family could be with us on this special day and look forward to having Sister Maria Victoria help lead the next generation of Sisters, continuing the tradition set forth by those before us in this religious life.
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