“I freely make an oblation to God of all my being in order to deepen with a love each time more sincere and intense the gift of the evangelical counsels…in order that my life may be a living memory of the way to be and act like Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, before God and man (excerpt from the formula of vows).”
On November 1, in the presence of the whole Church and under the protection of all the saints, seven sisters from our Province professed their first vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience for the love of Christ; and in order to carry out these vows more perfectly, they also made a fourth vow of maternal slavery to the Blessed Virgin Mary according to the tradition of our Institute. In the words of our founder, Fr Carlos Buela, “Religious profession is a true consecration through which the religious becomes someone sacred, property of God and destined for divine worship (Constitutions, 365).” By the vows a religious surrenders herself completely to the service of God, and binds herself to abstain from what has not been forbidden so as to be free to pursue with all her heart, mind and soul, the perfect love of God. On this day we especially remember the example of all those holy men and women who have gone before us, and we rely on their constant intersession and help as we journey towards our heavenly homeland.
All You Holy Men and Women, Pray for Us!
Our celebration took place in the Crypt Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine to the Immaculate Conception. We were honored to have Cardinal Theodore McCarrick celebrate the Mass and preside over the vows. Cardinal McCarrick gave a wonderful homily comparing the journey of the spiritual life, to the adventurous explorations and travels of Marco Polo. This is a very fitting analogy for our missionary order in which we solemnly promise in the formula of our vows to commit all our strength “so as not to be evasive to the missionary adventure.” We were also very blessed by the presence of Rev. Fr. Carlos Walker, General Superior of the IVE, who is visiting the Province from Rome this month. Many IVE Fathers from the Province concelebrated along with several special guests including Fr. Benjamin Folaumoetu’i, the Tongan uncle of one of our sisters, the Rt. Rev. Abbot Joseph Lee, MSU a good friend and neighbor to our Juniorate House in Washington DC, and the Rev. Fr. Jeremy Harrington, OFM, Superior of the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land. We thank them all for their invaluable help and prayers.
The public profession of vows was pronounced in unison by the sisters following the homily. Mother Sacred Heart Gaes, Provincial Superior, officially witnessed the vows on behalf of the whole Institute. After the vows were received, each sister’s white veil was replaced with the blue veil of the professed and the spousal crown of white flowers. The changing of the veil is an outward, visible sign of the underlying, invisible spiritual reality that takes place within the religious sister. The white crown of flowers symbolizes the purity of the Bride of Christ, and also represents the crown of unfading glory we hope to one day wear in Heaven.
Feast of Thanksgiving
The mass was followed by a lovely reception at St. John Baptist de la Salle parish hall. We were very happy to be able to celebrate with so many of our families and friends. Many of the families of the sisters making vows had made great sacrifices to be able to attend, traveling from places all over the country and the world including Papua New Guinea, Australia, Texas, California, and New Hampshire. Their presence and support truly helped to create a familial and joyful atmosphere.
We thank the members of the IVE along with all of our families and friends who came to celebrate with us the many gifts and graces we have received from God through the intersession of all the saints. We are especially grateful for the gift of seven new Brides of Christ to our Religious Family and for the Church. We ask your prayers for the sanctification and perseverance of all the members of our Institute, particularly those sisters who have just recently taken vow