...the Feminine way!
Meaning? Well, I would think novices in a house of men would play football, have a bon-fire or ?? to celebrate their novice master's feast day - of course prayer would be a part of that too. But women have flowers, candles, tea, prayer, affirmation and song! I might get into trouble saying that but it won't be the first time - men and women are different! (Of course, our culture, with its struggle with gender issues, would not want you to believe this - they have gotten "equality" and "sameness" confused. But, enough of the commentary.)
In our community we have the custom of the novitiate members hosting a party for the novice directress upon the occasion of her Feast Day. January 13 brought us the feast of little-known Blessed Veronica of Binasco. Butler's Lives of the Saints tells us that hers was a life of innocence, from her childhood. She was known for her hard work, docility, love of solitude and gift of tears. She became a lay sister of the order of St. Augustine in Milan. She came from a very poor and devout family. Pope Leo X permitted her to be honored in her monastery in the same manner as if she had been beatified and her name was inserted in the Roman martyrology. She died in 1497 at the age of 52.
Sr. Rose Marie and Ane Kirstine hosted a delightful tea party in honor of their "little mother" and novice directress, Sister Mary Veronica. Sister is incredibly generous and always available - truly "large hearted". Here are some sweet photos from that sacred time. This post is a little late, but better late than never!
Both Ane Kirstine's mother and Sr. Rose Marie's mother were present in spirit through the food enjoyed - bread with olive oil and homemade fudge!
Mary Veronica of Jesus Crucified We were happy to be able to present to her an image of her Crucified Love - a present from Mother Superior and the novitiate.
Our Holy Founder watching over the festivities.
Saint Therese and our Blessed Mother teach us how to love our Divine Bridegroom.
Sr. Rose Marie recited a poem of St. Theresewhile Ane Kirstine played Ave Maria as background music. Here are the words to the meaningful poem.
Song to the Holy Face
a poem of St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face
Jesus, Your ineffable image is the star which lights my path. You know well that Your sweet face is heaven for me here below! My love discovers the charms of Your eyes bathed with tears. I smile through my tears when I contemplate Your sorrows.
Oh! I love to console You, to live unknown and solitary. Your beauty knows how to sail, to reveal to me its mystery, And to You I would like to fly!
Your face is my only fatherland, It is my Kingdom of love; It is my bright meadow, my sweet sun each day. It is the lily of the valley giving the mysterious perfume consoling my exiled soul. It gives me a taste of heaven’s peace.
It is my rest, my sweetness, and my melodious song... Your face, O my sweet Savior, is the divine bouquet of myrrh that I like to keep over my heart.
Your face is my one treasure; I ask nothing more. Hiding myself within it unceasingly, I would resemble You, Jesus! Leave upon me the Divine Imprint of Your features full of sweetness, and soon I will become holy. I would attract hearts!
After I am able to gather a beautiful golden harvest, deign to embrace me in your flames. Give to me soon the eternal kiss of your adorable mouth.
We first heard Twila Paris' song "How Beautiful" when viewing some scripture videos by Ray Vander Laan. (Mr. Vander Laan is not a Catholic and has some misunderstandings about monastic life but, nonetheless, we have been very blessed by his studies of Scripture.) We bought the music with hopes of incorporating the song into Sr. John Mary's Solemn profession in 2003 but it didn't work out. But the music has been played almost each year on Sr. Mary Veronica's feast. It is one of her favorites and ours too!
words and music by Twila Paris
How beautiful the hands that served the wine and the bread and the sons of the earth. How beautiful the feet that walked the long, dusty roads and the hill to the cross. How beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ.
How beautiful the heart that bled, that took all my sin and bore it instead. How beautiful the tender eyes that choose to forgive and never despise. How beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ.
And as He laid down His life, we offer this sacrifice: that we will live just as He died, willing to pay the price, willing to pay the price.
How beautiful the radiant Bride who waits for her Groom with His light in her eyes. How beautiful when humble hearts give the fruit of pure lives so that others may live. How beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ.
How beautiful the feet that bring the sound of good news and the love of the King. How beautiful the hands that serve the wine and the bread and the sons of the earth. How beautiful, how beautiful, how beautiful is the body of Christ.
You may be wondering - who was the mysterious photographer? Well, the assistant novice directress gets to also attend the party!
I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse of novitiate happenings! Today we are celebrating our Vicar - Sr. Mary Agnes' feast day and are having a gaudeamus day in her honor. More photos of that to come. God-willing, it won't take me 2 1/2 weeks to post them!