God's Fidelity to His Passionist Bride
Ah! I am back! :) Perhaps you thought I forgot I even have a blog to tend to!? Even though some days have passed I still have the fun of sharing with you about our Gaudeamus day August 22. By the way, my little sis in Tennessee wrote asking what is a Gaudeamus Day. Gaudeamus is Latin for "Let us rejoice!" So it is a day of rejoicing. And rejoice we did in honor of Sr. Mary Elizabeth's 50 years of Vowed Passionist life!
The following is an account written by one of our "monastery chroniclers". I shall let her tell the story...
Our dear Jubilarian was finally relieved of the “complex” she said she was getting as a result of being banned for weeks from an ever mounting number of rooms in the work wing, as we prepared the decorations and entertainment.
“Poor Sister” was even banned from evening recreation last night as we decked the refectory and recreation room with balloons, streamers, and golden place settings!
One of those "off-limit" rooms.
After saluting the angels in the corridor outside of chapel after Mass, we congregated in the refectory for a breakfast banquet: ham, biscuits, gravy, egg casserole, cinnamon coffee cake, and more.
As I shared in the previous post Sr. Rose Marie wheeled Sr. Mary Elizabeth from her cell into the recreation room to the music of the Air Force Song, “The Wild Blue Yonder,” which we rewrote to reflect Sister’s career as a spiritual warrior.
We then had a play-doh sculpting competition, with five teams trying to depict scenes from Sister’s life. The results ranged from clever to hilarious, and we decided that the Holy Spirit had to determine the winning team by lot.
Sister as a young girl being greeted by a not-so-friendly goat who kept her from getting into her house one day as she arrived home from school.
“Sister cleaning Steve’s room” won the prize. (our grounds-keeper's room)
Then we had a word game in which each nun tried to make as many words as possible out of Sister Mary Elizabeth’s name. Next came the skit, in which the novitiate and juniorate dressed up as heavenly visitors to our Jubilarian. Sister was overwhelmed with all the gifts and celestial greetings...
Sister's father, "Papa Sauer" was a wise man full of mischief. He planted a garden for the nuns and had interesting ways of delivering his produce. One time he stacked up the pumpkins against the doors so that the Sister Portress would have an avalanche at her feet when she answered. Another time he threw green beans, dirty roots and all, over the cloister wall! Sr. Mary Andrea at right is dressed as Papa Sauer and Sr. Rose Marie at right center is representing Sr. Mary Elizabeth's older sister Katherine.
What does one get a poor cloistered nun for her Golden Jubilee? Well, as you saw in an earlier post we invested in some beautiful liturgical gifts. This day brought candles, colored napkins and various "do-dads" for decorating the refectory on special occasions. This is one of Sr. Mary Elizabeth's monastery duties.
Below are some of the hand-made jubilee cards given to Sister by the nuns. Quite works of art!
Sr. Ann Miriam and Mother Catherine Marie marvel at the home-made cards.
At our evening meal, Mother Catherine Marie had set out jubilee place-cards for each of us, with quotes from our Holy Founder on the back. All the quotes were different, culled from his letters and dealing with the themes of faith and the will of God, and we had some lively banter about how most of them seemed to be exhorting us to silence and solitude. Attempts to foster these virtues at the Gaudeamus supper proved fruitless (at least exteriorly), but we were all touched by the Holy Spirit’s knack at once again giving each nun exactly the exhortation she needed to hear.
At the end of the meal Pope Benedict paid Sister a "visit" with a special message just for her thanking her for being a faithful daughter of the Church all these years. At Sr. Mary Elizabeth’s request, we crowned the day by singing the first verse of “Now Thank We All Our God.” We truly give thanks to God for his fidelity to his little bride of 50 years!
Sister stands near a photo of Fr. Wood who was instrumental in helping her enter the Passionist cloister in 1960. A young Air Force photo of Sister is in the center and at right, a photo of our original monastery in 1946.
The community (minus 2 sisters) poses for a photo at the close of a happy day.
Blessed be God!