Veni Sponsa Christi - The Father Calls You
Come, Spouse of Christ! Veni, Sponsa Christi! Ahhh...how does one write an article about such a profound event?! ...Being set apart for the praise of God, being deputed to intercede on behalf of the Church and the world... Sr. Rose Marie's Profession of Vows was such a mystical experience.
I shall let the photos tell the story...
The Rite of Religious Profession takes place during the Liturgy of the Word within the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. There are a number of stages within this Rite
- The Call
- The Examination
- The Prayer for God's Grace
- The Profession of Vows
- The Presentation of the Passionist Insignia
- The Intercessions
- The Presentation of Gifts
Profession of Vows:
To the honor of God, I, Sr. Rose Marie of the Merciful Heart of Jesus, firmly resolve to consecrate myself more intimately to Him, and to follow Christ more closely. In the presence of the community of this Monastery of St. Joseph, a part of the whole Institute of the Religious of the Passion of Jesus and a sign of the universal Church, and in your hands, Mother Catherine Marie, I vow to promote devotion to and grateful remembrance of the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, and to express it in my style of life. I also vow chastity, poverty, obedience, and to live in enclosure, for three years, according to the Rule and Constitutions of the Religious of the Passion of Jesus Christ.
I promise to lead a life of love, together with you, my Sisters, "called within the Church to be a sign of the love of Jesus Crucified for the Father and for mankind."
May the grace of the Holy Spirit, the intercession of the Sorrowful Virgin Mary and of St. Paul of the Cross, and your charity, my Sisters, sustain my weakness, and strengthen me in what I have promised by vow.
Help your servant, Lord. With trust in the word of your Gospel, she has given you her faith.
The superior responds: By the authority entrusted to me, I accept your vows in the name of the Church for the Institute of the Religious of the Passion of Jesus Christ. I commend you earnestly to God that you may fulfill your dedication which is linked with this Eucharistic Sacrifice.
Presentation of the Insignia of Passionist Profession:
The newly professed Passionist is now given: --the black veil and a ring, both of which signify that she is truly the bride of Christ Crucified, united to Him by her holy vows.
The celebrant hands the black veil to the newly professed who is then clothed with it: Celebrant: Receive this veil which proclaims that you belong entirely to Christ the Lord and are dedicated to the service of the Church. Newly Professed: Amen.
As the celebrant gives her the Passion Sign, he says: Celebrant: Receive, dear Sister, the Sign of the Passion of Jesus Christ. Place it as a seal on your heart, so that the Passion thus symbolized may be truly within your heart. Newly Professed: Amen.
He then places the Passionist ring on her finger, saying: Celebrant: Receive this ring, for you are betrothed to the eternal King. Keep faith with your Bridegroom, so that you may come to the wedding feast of eternal joy. Newly Professed: Amen.
The newly professed receives the Profession Crucifix, the cross and the crown of thorns, all of which are symbolic expressions of her vocation to participate in the Passion of Christ and become one with Him in His love for the Father and for the Church.
Then the celebrant gives her the Profession Crucifix: Celebrant: Receive, Sister, this Crucifix. May it recall to you the saving love of your Crucified Spouse, so that you may be faithful to what you have promised Him today. Newly Professed: Amen.
Next, he gives her first the cross and then the crown of thorns: Celebrant: Receive, Sister, the cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the crown of thorns. May you follow Him in humility, obedience and self-denial. Newly Professed: Amen.
The newly professed Passionist Nun, together with her community, sing the following:
Veni, Sponsa Christi (Come, Spouse of Christ)
The love of the Father has set you apart, Veni Sponsa Christi! The love of the Son now draws you to His Heart, Veni Sponsa Christi! The love of the Spirit of God Most High, has called out to you that eternal cry: Veni Sponsa Christi! Veni Sponsa Christi!
Arise, my love! My lovely one, come! Veni Sponsa Christi! For see, the winter is past, and the rains are gone. Veni Sponsa Christi! The flowers now appear on the earth, and the song of the dove is heard in our land. Veni Sponsa Christi!
The Lord of lords holds your life in His embrace. The King of kings fills your soul with His own grace. Veni Sponsa Christi! Veni Sponsa Christi! For the King now desires your beauty! For the King now desires your love! Veni, Veni, Veni; Veni Sponsa Christi! Veni Sponsa Christi! Veni Sponsa Christi!
(Copyright Carmelite Sisters, D.C.J. 1988; Used by Permission; Music by J.A.S.)
Presentation of the Gifts:
The Church herself, by her God-given authority, accepts the act of profession, and in her liturgy associates it with the Eucharistic Sacrifice of Christ. The grace of a total giving of self to God through the profession of the religious vows is first received by a person as a gift from God before being brought back to God as an offering. Sr. Rose Marie and her novice directress, Sr. Mary Veronica, together with Sister’s parents and brothers now carry the gifts to the altar.
Bishop William Medley, Bishop of our Diocese of Owensboro, KY, presided at the Mass. There were a number of other priests, religious and diocesan, as well as two seminarians and two transitional deacons. The deacon at right is Sr. John Mary's brother Deacon Jeff Read of the Diocese of Evansville, IN.
Sign of Peace
Canticle of Love
How great and tender is our God who has smiled on the lowly. Eternally, my heart will sing a new canticle of love. Come, all who hunger, all who thirst, all who long for fulfillment. The God of mercy waits for you as a mother her child. Oh come to the living water, fear not your weakness, forever trusting in God’s merciful love. Through the shadows of this night, love will be my guiding light. Presence hidden from my sight, ‘til the clouds are put to flight.
Beneath your gaze I’ve blossomed forth, as a rose in the sunshine. With joyful heart I’ve given all to the mystery of love. In peace I will come before you with empty hands, relying solely on your merciful love. Through the veil your face appears, beauty shrouded, bathed in tears. Bread of sinners I will share, rose un-petalled everywhere. Ah, my God, I will sing of your love for this one eternal today, for this one eternal today, eternal today.... Until in eternity we join in one chorus, forever singing of God’s merciful love, canticle of love, for today I will sing, sing of your love.
by Sr. Marie Therese Sokol, OCD (St. Therese of the Child Jesus was also young when she entered religious life. The following hymn using St. Therese’s words and spirit, is very fitting for a young Passionist Nun.)
The reception for our guests following the Mass of Religious Profession
"Most Sacred Heart of Jesus I implore, that I may ever love Thee more and more."
Fr. Fred Sucher, CP - perhaps the most venerable of all our guests!
Sister greeted all the guests - here she is with two postulants of the Fathers of Mercy.
Well...I know I kept you waiting for this blog post; I hope this was worth the wait! :)
*** Special thanks to our dear friend Larena Lawson who took all these photos!