January 1, 2015 marked the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God, the beginning of the New Year, and the entrance of Sr. Mary Mother of Hope Ayala, SSVM into the contemplative branch of our institute. Many apostolic sisters, the sisters of the houses of formation, and family and friends from St. Rocco in Avondale, Pennsylvania gathered for the Holy Mass at the Monastery of the Precious Blood in Brooklyn where our contemplative sisters are in residence.
The setting of the historic monastery was in full Christmas cheer with the large crèche below the scene of the Passion of Christ. Msgr. Frank Depman of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and pastor of the parish of St. Rocco (formerly the “Misión Santa Maria”) was the main celebrant for the Mass, joined by Fr. Pablo Bonello, IVE and other IVE priests and novices.
At the close of the Mass, Sr. Hope said good-bye to her family before entering the sanctuary to approach the image of Our Lady. There she offered white roses to the Virgin Mary and prayed aloud a formal request for Her intercession and care in the new monastic life about to begin. Sr. Hope then crossed from the sanctuary into the monastic enclosure where she was greeted by the prioress and the other members of the community.
Sr. Hope now begins a four year period of probation in the contemplative branch of our community at the end of which she may make a more formal commitment to the vocation of monastic life. In 2014 two other sisters also entered the Monastery of St. Edith Stein: from the Philippines, Sr. Maria Ina ng Awa (“Mary Mother of Mercy” in Tagalog), and Sr. Miriam Habiba (“Beloved” in Arabic) from Egypt. Also in 2014, two American sisters made their perpetual profession at the Monastery, Sr. Maria Mater Corde Affixa and Sr. Mary Mother of Divine Innocence. Like the first “Servants of the Lord” who accompanied Christ all the way to the Cross and who wished to love Christ in imitation of His Blessed Mother, our contemplatives fulfill this call of our institute in an especially radical way. Their prayers and sacrifices sustain and render fruitful the missions of our Religious Family.
May 2015 also be a year of blessings and growth for the SSVM Monastery of St. Edith Stein in residence alongside the Sister Adorers of the Precious Blood at the Monastery of the Precious Blood in Borough Park, Brooklyn.
Happy New Year to All!