Our Religious Family in this Province is under the patronage of Our Lady as the Immaculate Conception, who is also the patronage of the United States of America as a nation.
Gathering together for this feast, we pray in thanksgiving for the graces of the past year, we invoke Our Lady’s ongoing maternal care in the year to come, and we witness the newest members of our family—the IVE novices and SSVM novices—receive the holy habit.
On the vigil, December 7th, our Province was honored to have His Eminence Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, DC, preside over the Mass and preach for this occasion held in the Crypt Church of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC. The many IVE concelebrating priests were also joined by a number of diocesan and other religious priests.
Our own sisters traveled from the missions in the US and Canada, as well as a missionary sister from Papua New Guinea who came for the celebration. Families came to support their sons and daughters and to pray for them from across the country as well as from far-flung nations, most notably from Australia!
Our novices receive the white veil as a sign of their new stage of growing in their religious vocation. During this period they continue to learn more about religious life in our Institute, to know and be known, and to deepen their lives of prayer during their canonical novitiate year.
The IVE novices receive the black cassock as a sign of their death to the world and desire to be totally in conformity to Christ. As they are a clerical order, the large majority of our brothers go on to study for the priesthood, though there are permanent brothers as well as monks in our Religious Family.
Following the Mass, we had a reception with all our guests. Dinner together was already joyful, but as is our family-style tradition, we also offer a little show of songs and cultural dances to extend the celebration and share our traditions with one another. This year, there was a first of its kind “father-daughter” dance of tap (with white tie and top hat!) performed to “Puttin’ on the Ritz” by a sister who had danced professionally and her investment banker father. A real crowd-pleaser!
In the midst of so much movement and excitement, we never forget the watchful, patient, and faithful presence of Our Lady of Lujan, an image of the Immaculate Conception. She “keeps all of these things, mediating on them in her heart” and will present them to her Son and show us how to love and serve Him ever more deeply. Our Lady of Lujan, Mother of Our Vocations, pray for us! Immaculate Conception, pray for our province and all those entrusted to our care!
ADDENDUM: During the week of December 7th there were two other ceremonies of investitures of our sisters in addition to the one of 15 sisters in Washington: 15 novices in Italy, and 6 in Ukraine. What a special grace during that week of both the Year of Consecrated Life and the opening of the Year of Mercy! Please remember our novices in your prayers.