O blessed cross, you alone were found worthy to bear the Lord and King of heaven, alleluia. (From the Office of Readings for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross)
On the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross the Church celebrates the infinite wisdom of God driven to accomplish the redemption of man. “We recognize it as the the cup he longed to drink and the climax of the sufferings he endured for our sake. As to the cross being Christ’s glory, listen to his words: Now is the Son of Man glorified, and in him God is glorified. And if you would understand that the cross is Christ’s triumph, hear what he himself also said: When I am lifted up, then I will draw all men to myself” (St. Andrew of Crete, bishop).We ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to intercede for us to share worthily in Christ’s cross so that we may one day share in his glory.
The Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross is the main feast of the female branch of our Religious Family. We celebrate it with solemnity because we are congregated under the Cross of Matará.
The Vigil Mass: September 13th
First Vows and Renewal of Vows
The feast began on Thursday with the Vigil Mass, which we were able to celebrate in the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Washington DC. During the Mass one sister professed her first vows and eight others renewed their temporary vows. In addition, all of the perpetually professed sisters who were present spiritually renewed their vows, an annual practice to keep their consecration ever-new and ardent. After the Mass we had dinner and entertainment with family and friends to celebrate the occasion. We ended the night with the solemn chanting of Vespers in honor of our Lord’s Holy Cross.
The Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross: September 14th
Perpetual Vows: Sponsa Christi
The feast continued on Friday as we solemnly commemorated the victory of Christ’s Cross. The Mass was celebrated in the Crypt Church of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. We were blessed by the presence of His Eminence Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, who presided at the Mass. During the Mass, Sister Mary Ark of the Covenant Koenig, Sister Mary Pearl of Virgins Concepción, Sister Mary Our Lady of Ostrabrama Ludka, Sister María de la Revelación Castañeda, Sister Maria Panagia Miola, and Sister María Espejo de Paciencia Rodriguez made their Final Profession of Vows. Their classmate, Sister María de Talpa Vargas professed her final vows in Santa Clara, CA on the same day.
As a sign of this total gift of self, the religious prostrates herself before the altar during a solemn Litany of the Saints. She then stands and makes her profession of vows. Each perpetually professed sister receives a wedding ring which symbolizes her espousal to Jesus Christ, a crown of flowers which represents the crown of glory she hopes to receive in Heaven, and a copy of the Constitutions of our Institute–the rule under which she has consecrated her life to God.
The Mass was followed by a reception at St. John Baptiste de la Salle Parish in Chillum, Maryland. We were happy to share with family and friends the festive joy of this beautiful feast.