On December 5, 2014, we rejoiced in the investiture of the sister and brother novices of our Religious Family of the Incarnate Word as a sharing in the newly inaugurated Year of Consecrated Life (November 30 2014 – February 2, 2016).  Since this special celebration of consecrated life has at its heart the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council’s Perfectae Caritatis, the Decree on the Adaption and Renewal of Religious Life (1965), we also turn our thoughts to the words of the document concerning the holy habit: “The religious habit, an outward mark of consecration to God, should be simple and modest, poor and at the same time becoming. In addition, it must meet the requirements of health and be suited to the circumstances of time and place and to the needs of the ministry involved.(#17)”

11-full-habits

The Holy Mass of investiture was presided over by His Eminence Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, and held in the Crypt Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC.   We thank His Eminence for his presence with us as such a great sign of support for all those who have discerned a religious vocation in our small Religious Family.  In all his apostolic encounters with youth, Cardinal McCarrick never fails to encourage those who may be called to diocesan priesthood, priesthood as a religious, or women’s religious life according to a specific charism in the Church.

The Preparation and Reception of the Holy Habit

In addition to the holy habit, novices of the Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará receive religious names during their canonical novitiate leading up to investiture.  These new titles of Mary allow the novice sister to experience the “new mission” of her call by receiving a new name as had Biblical figures throughout the Old and New Testaments (“Abram” to “Abraham,” “Sarai” to “Sarah,” “Simon” to “Peter,” “Saul” to “Paul,” et al.).  Advocations of Mary are drawn from litanies, regional shrines, and titles used by the Church to honor the Mother of Jesus.  Since we also take a fourth vow of Marian consecration, bearing names of Our Lady becomes another way of “Marianizing life.”

Photos from the Holy Mass and Immediately Following

We also hosted a reception where families and friends of the sisters and brothers could spend time together in a spirit of festive joy.  The novices prepared a number of songs and instrumental pieces for the cultural performances that were offered at the end of the meal.  May Our Lady guide and protect these young religious as they take another step on the road of the consecrated life.

Reception with Families and Friends