The Great Adventure - Responding to the Lord's Call

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Nora's father brought us two rocks for the rock garden. One is from the U.P. (Upper Peninsula of Michigan) and the other is from Adirondack, New York. They picked it out during a pilgrimage they recently made to Chapel Hill, New York. Also, you see her brother Jude holding a jar of wild flower honey. This is part of his precious treasure of 25 pounds of honey he harvested from his bee hive! Treasure indeed - we consume a LOT of honey around here!
Nora's father brought us two rocks for the rock garden. One is from the U.P. (Upper Peninsula of Michigan) and the other is from Adirondack, New York. They picked it out during a pilgrimage they recently made to Chapel Hill, New York. Also, you see her brother Jude holding a jar of wild flower honey. This is part of his precious treasure of 25 pounds of honey he harvested from his bee hive! Treasure indeed - we consume a LOT of honey around here!

Here are the long-awaited photos of Nora's monastery entrance this past Sunday. Also, I posted for your inspiration Mother Catherine Marie's entrance talk given during Vespers that evening.

Nora's parents give their blessing as Nora prepares to enter the cloister
Nora's parents give their blessing as Nora prepares to enter the cloister
Nora with her parents and five brothers; one of whom is a Capuchin Franciscan Friar who just made his First Profession of Vows they day before they arrived at our monastery.
Nora with her parents and five brothers; one of whom is a Capuchin Franciscan Friar who just made his First Profession of Vows they day before they arrived at our monastery.
Two postulants greet each other after Nora receives her postulant crucifix from Mother Catherine Marie during Vespers.
Two postulants greet each other after Nora receives her postulant crucifix from Mother Catherine Marie during Vespers.

Here is the text of Nora's entrance talkgiven by Mother Catherine Marie:

Over a month ago, Nora and her friends were kayaking on the Allegany river, hearts thrilling with excitement as they conquered the challenges of their great adventure!  This evening, Nora once again “puts out into the deep” (to use the words of St John Paul the Great), setting out on an even greater adventure–one to last a life-time, yet one that offers her the excitement, challenge and fulfillment of all her best and highest desires to love and be loved.  Of course, I am speaking about Nora’s courageous response to Our Lord’s call, “Come follow Me,” in cloistered Passionist life.

Today’s Mass readings (Seventeenth Sunday Ordinary Time Cycle A) tell us so much about the vocational event–Nora’s entrance into the postulancy–that we are witnessing this evening.  In St. Paul’s letter to the Romans (8:28-30), the Holy Spirit brought vividly before us the timeless, foundational reality of all religious vocations: i.e., the loving, eternal foreknowledge and choice of God, the wondrous mystery of having been thought of, loved, desired, chosen and called from all eternity, to serve God as a daughter of the Passion of Jesus! Those of us who have lived Passionist life for awhile, know what a great and priceless gift and treasure this is.  It is truly worth giving our all, for we always get so much more back in return!

Today’s Gospel provides further insights into the gift being offered to Nora, as well as to all of us.  We can say that the vocation to cloistered Passionist life is like:

  • a “treasure hidden in a field”. When a generous-hearted young woman discovers it, “out of joy” at her find, she “goes and sells all she has and buys that field.”
  • or, it is like a “pearl of great price”. This discovery too is so precious and valuable, that the one who finds it, after searching and searching, goes and sells all she has and buys it.

Of course, this “treasure” and this “pearl of great price” are Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself–true God and true Man, Him whom the angels serve, the greatest lover of all humankind,  the One who gave His life on the cross for us!  To find and possess this divine Treasure and Pearl, Jesus Christ, and to become His bride in consecrated life, it truly worth it, so let no sacrifice seem too great, for you will receive a hundred-fold, and even a thousand-fold back in this life and eternal life in heaven besides!

So dear Nora, as you set out on this adventure and enter our postulancy in company with our beloved Postulant Elizabeth, may both of you encourage and cheer each other on in this great pursuit of  Jesus your treasure, your pearl of great price.

“Out of joy,” allow yourselves, through Sr. Mary Veronica’s wise guidance, and the love and prayers of each of your Sisters here in community, to take your place in the “School of Mary,” the Mother of the Redeemer, the true Superioress of our monastery, always remaining under her protection and care and under the protection and heavenly intercession of our holy founder and all the countless Passionist men and women who have walked this great adventure before us.

In this Spirit-filled School of Mary, you will indeed find and encounter the divine Treasure and Pearl of your heart’s desire—hanging on the Good Friday cross of Calvary and also radiant in His Easter Sunday beauty and splendor.  The more humble and docile you seek to be under the action of the Holy Spirit, the longed-for days of Passionist vestition and then profession will come, as the Crucified and Risen One gradually prepares you to be His consecrated Bride in Passionist life, His helpmate with Our Mother of Sorrows in the work of human redemption. Be assured of our prayerful support, Nora – and also Elizabeth – for we are all companions on this great adventure.

And now, Nora, if you will come forward with Sr. Mary Veronica, you will receive your postulant crucifix.  “May the Passion of Jesus and the Sorrows of Mary be ever in our hearts!"