Sharon's entrance day

"The Little Women"
     Sharon and her sisters Anna, Liz and Meg visit with the community in the parlor the night before her entrance. (Of course, Mom and Dad were there too.)


     The long-awaited day finally arrived! Sharon arrived with her mom, dad and three of her 11 siblings last Saturday evening. We so enjoyed visiting with this wonderful faith-filled family and we marvel at their loving and peaceful acceptance of Sharon's vocation to contemplative cloistered life. So many women have to "fight" their families to follow a call like this. Please keep Sharon and her family in your prayers during this time of transition. God reward you.
     The next day was July 6th, the great feast of our Passionist martyr Maria Goretti. I thought you would find Mother's meditation during Evening Prayer (Vespers) very inspiring. And how meaningful it was to have our dear missionary brothers present. I hope to share more about them in a couple days.
     And just as Shannon's entrance into the aspirancy coincided with the earthquake so Sharon's entering the postulancy brought us some fireworks as the organ amplifier "blew up" during Night Prayer and Office of Readings last night! (Mmmm...perhaps it had something to do with our missionary Brother Brad pulling out all the stops on the night of the Fourth of July during his little concert?
     Does anyone out there still think cloistered life is dull? :)
The following is Mother's moving meditation...

     Sharon, on this blessed feastday of St. Maria Goretti, we are pleased to admit you into our postulancy. Although Maria was not a Passionist religious, she lived in a Passionist parish, and our Passionist Fathers had a great deal to do with her canonization. So our Congregation has always claimed her as part of our great Passionist family.When looked at from the standards of our world today, St. Maria Goretti "did" nothing noteworthy. She was the child of a poor family, and her life was one of great simplicity and hard work. And so in her life the words of scripture come true: "Man sees what is on the surface, but God looks into the heart."

     When God looked into the heart of this young girl, He saw delicate cooperation with grace. Indeed, Maria must have been very faithful to grace because when that great moment of decision came, Maria showed heroic fidelity—making a firm choice for God and rejecting sin with maturity of soul well beyond her years. Someone has written—the canonization of this girl who was not even 12 years old, was the triumph of a young soul who loved God and hated sin. God truly exalted her lowliness in raising such a one to sainthood in the Holy Catholic Church.

     And so, Sharon, as you enter the postulancy today, we place the simplicity, purity and heroic love of Maria Goretti before you as a model to imitate. May her tender love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and for His Holy Mother, as well as her modesty, cheerful obedience and humility as she accepted the simple way of life that was God’s plan for her, encourage you to be very generous in responding wholeheartedly to the graces God has in store for you.

     The presence of so many Passionist missionaries here today as you begin your postulancy, is testimony that a hidden life with Mary beneath the cross of Jesus reaches far beyond the cloister to strengthen and sustain the missionary activity of the Church. The prayer and sacrifice of a cloistered Nun reaches around the world. It reaches Jamaica – to encourage and sustain these missionary brothers of ours.

     So, Sharon, we assure you of our love, assistance and prayers as you take your place in the school of Mary, Mother of the Passionist Congregation. In her company and imitating her, you will learn more and more how to devote yourself entirely to the Person and the work of her Son.

     We will bestow upon you now your postulant’s crucifix and give you the Sign of Peace. God bless you and your whole family, Sharon.

     With Mary, and with St. Maria Goretti and all our Passionist saints, may your life be something beautiful for God–a precious return of love to the One who first loved you and laid down His life on the cross for you.