Vigil of the Feast: Looking Back and Giving Thanks
The celebration of our 25th anniversary began on the Vigil to the Feast of St. Joseph with a private dinner for the sisters from all over our province. We were so blessed to be able to host over 100 sisters here in Washington, DC. Normally dispersed to mission sites across the United States and Canada, we were able to come together to celebrate joyfully and to give thanks for 25 years since the foundation of our Institute.
After dinner, we went to the Juniorate House of Studies where we solemnly sang Matins and intoned the Te Deum with the traditional ringing of the bells. This prayer was followed by a time of recreation with all the sisters. Some of the visiting sisters were from among the first members of our Institute and they shared memories and stories of what it was like in the very beginnings. It is always edifying to remember the great sacrifices of so many women: with amazing faith and hope they risked everything for a new order that was more dream than reality. It is their fidelity and love which has allowed God to work through this small religious family, to bless it with growth, and touch so many lives.
“From St. Joseph to St. Joseph”
On Tuesday, March 19th we had many reasons to celebrate. Along with the whole Church, rejoiced at the inauguration of our new Holy Father, Pope Francis. We also wanted to thank God in a particular way for all the blessings and graces over these past 25 years since our foundation. Lastly, one of our sisters made perpetual vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and consecration to Mary, giving herself entirely to God in a holocaust of love. Her family had traveled all the way from Argentina to be able to witness the event.
The mass was celebrated by Fr. Gustavo Nieto, IVE, the provincial superior of the Institute of the Incarnate Word, the male branch of our Religious Family. In his homily, Fr. Nieto quoted Fr. Buela who would always say that the sisters’ institute lives “from St. Joseph to St. Joseph,” meaning that we have always been sustained year by year thanks to the patronage and prayers of St. Joseph. We were honored to have among the concelebrants Rev. Jeremy Harrington, O.F.M., Guardian of the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land, Msgr. Frank Depman from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, other guest diocesan priests as well as a number of our IVE fathers.
Mass was followed by a feast at St. John Baptist de la Salle Parish in Chillum, Maryland. We were so happy to have over 300 parishioners, friends, and family members sharing in our celebration. During dinner different groups of religious offered songs and played instruments in a spirit of family joy. A favorite performance was a group of four Irish step dancers.
We give thanks to all of our friends who have supported us these past 25 years and we ask for your prayers for our small and very young religious family. We want to honor in a special way St. Joseph, the Patron of the Universal Church and the Guardian of Virgins, for all the many graces he has obtained for us these past years. There has never been a time when our prayers to him have not been answered, and we thank him with great affection and trust.