On this Feast of All Saints, we honor the vast crowd of holy ones in Heaven — those formally canonized and those known to God alone. This reality of the communion of saints reaches into our lives here below as we ourselves strive to become saints, uniting ourselves with Christ more and more every day so that He may live in us and we in Him. The intercession and example of our “friends in Heaven” remain a constant source of encouragement and determination. “They did it, why can’t we?” As St. Ignatius of Loyola experienced during his own conversion while reading the lives of the saints, “I thought to myself, what if I did what St. Francis did? What if I did what St. Dominic did?” Indeed, what if…!
For our American sisters studying at the International Juniorate in Italy, today is celebrated with a first-class pilgrimage to the tombs of so many great saints. While we do not have photos of that event as it unfolds…we do wish to share some images of their sending-off, the gift they left behind, and their arrival “in the arms of Saint Peter”.
As a missionary community, we wish to be spouses of Christ whose consecrated lives are given to others out of love. We commit ourselves “not to be evasive to the missionary adventure” in our formula of vows. This means that being sent to foreign countries, taking up difficult and new languages, as well as serving in domestic missions from Silicon Valley to out-of-the-way missions on the peripheries of American society.
The first taste of this “sending” happens when the sisters in formation leave the Juniorate House of Studies of their home province, and travel to Italy to join the large and highly international Juniorate in Tuscania, (Viterbo), Italy. The Third Year sisters left our Juniorate on Quincy Street in September. A beautiful send-off!
What They Left Behind
In thanksgiving for the grace of their religious vocation and these years of initial formation, the rising Third Years sisters worked together to give a new ornamental dress, rosary, and crown to the statue of Our Lady of Lujan in our chapel. They designed the dress to have 24 roses, to honor St. Therese of the Child Jesus, co-patroness of our Juniorate in Washington, as well as embroidery of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the title of Mary which we have as our principle patroness. This fitting tribute to Our Lady has been a reminder to us of the graces needed in formation, and the spirit of gratitude we should always have towards the Virgin Mother who obtains these graces for us from her Son.
Above: During Adoration for the Feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross. Below: Beside her statue is a first-class relic of St. Louis Marie Gringion de Montfort, whose method of Marian consecration we use for our Fourth Marian Vow.
“In the Arms of Saint Peter”
Finally, we rejoice to know that they are pursuing their studies in Italy and continuing to respond to the call for generosity in the missionary adventure! At St. Peter’s Basilica they have been able to participate in the Holy Mass with Pope Francis, pray at the tomb of St. Peter, St. John XXIII, and, of course, our beloved friend and spiritual father, St. John Paul the Great.
Please continue to pray for these sisters at the International Juniorate as they study and prepare for the missions (bottom of link includes e-mail and postal address). We also thank all the many benefactors and friends who have helped to sponsor their studies in Italy. To become good and holy missionary sisters, our young sisters need first to be deeply rooted in the life of prayer, to know how to fulfill the demands of community life, and to love Christ and His people in the heart of the Church with a true spiritual maternity. (Added here it the PayPal link should any other readers wish to make a donation towards the International Juniorate. God Bless you!)
May All the Saints, pray for them! And pray for us!
from left to right:
Sr. Mary Mother of Truth, Sr. Mary Rock of Constancy, Sr. Mary Rose of Heaven, Sr. Mary Consolation of the Afflicted, Sr. Maria Asterone Dodeka, Sr. Mary Faithful Virgin, Sr. Mary Queen of All Saints