The Aspirant's Passion Sign
Last month I shared with you a bit about the life of an aspirant in our community. (In case you have forgotten our monastic terminology - an aspirant is a woman who lives in the monastery for 3 months to discern our way of life.) I forgot to mention that a special point in this stage of discernment is the reception of the small Passion sign pin at the beginning of her aspirancy.
Mother Catherine Marie places this pin near the Tabernacle, asking for our Lord's blessing upon our aspirant. During Vespers she takes the pin and gives it to the novice directress to pin it on the aspirant, asking our Lord to bless her and that if it be his will one day she receive the large Passion sign of a professed Passionist Nun.
If the woman is so blessed to enter the monastery she will continue to wear the passion sign pin along with a crucifix.
In the Sourcebook on St. Paul of the Cross by Fr. Jude Mead, CP, Fr. Jude gives this explanation of the Passion sign:
Among the intellectual visions that preceded the foundation of the Congregation of the Passion, St. Paul of the Cross received one of the "sign" or emblem: a white heart, surmounted by a cross, bearing the title of the Passion of Jesus Christ. It was formed in his mind in successive phases: first the Cross and the name of Jesus, then the rest. He always considered it as a sublime gift that came to him through the hand of the angels, and he referred to it as holy, most holy and the terror of Hell, the sign of salvation.
The signs worn by the saint himself had a special, even miraculous power. He had no difficulty in giving away those signs which he no longer wore...
The seal of the whole Congregation is composed of this sign, which he had encircled with the devices of victory and peace: the palm and the olive branch. It is a compendium of his charism.
St. Paul himself explained the white color of the heart as meaning that the heart which had the Passion imprinted on it ought to be pure. He further affirmed that this public and visible glorification of the Passion caused all Hell to tremble in a special way...
Please keep up those prayers for Anne during this important time. We recently admitted another young woman to the aspirancy - praise the Lord! She hopes to come this summer after graduating from college. Please pray for these two and for the other two women who hope to visit us this spring.