“The total sacrifice, whereby Joseph surrendered his whole existence to the demands of the Messiah’s coming into his home, becomes understandable only in the light of his profound interior life.”
John Paul II, Redemptoris Custos (1989), #26.
On Monday, March 20th the whole Church celebrated the Feast of St. Joseph, Foster Father of the Son of God and Spouse of the Virgin Mary. On this day we also celebrated our 29th anniversary of our foundation, and the 25th Jubilee of fifteen of our early sisters!
In Thanksgiving for 29 Years: 1988-2017
The Institute Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará (SSVM) was established in San Rafael (Mendoza) in Argentina on March 19, 1988 by Fr. Carlos Miguel Buela, IVE. We belong to the Religious Family of the Incarnate Word which includes the religious priests and brothers of the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE) and the secular Third Order.
Celebrations in New York
In our Province we gathered with our contemplative sisters of the Monastery of St Edith Stein, located at the Precious Blood Monastery in Brooklyn. The Holy Mass was presided over by Fr. Alberto Barattero, IVE, the Provincial Superior of the IVE, and concelebrated by a number of other IVE priests and diocesan priests.
During the Mass we had a special blessing of a new chalice, a gift to the sisters from the IVE priests and brothers. The chalice has three medals embedded in the base: the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Conception, and Saint Joseph.
These images found together on a chalice are especially meaningful to us for three reasons. First, this honors the formally consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus of our whole Religious Family around the world (both Institutes, and each local convent) during the past months.
Second, the image of Mary honors our Province which is under the patronage of the Immaculate Conception. From Canada to Guyana and Suriname, across the United States and into Mexico, we are united as a Province under her care. It is a great blessing to have the Provincial Houses of both the IVE and the SSVM be located in the Archdiocese of Washington near the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Most of the priestly ordinations, final vows and investitures take place in “Mary’s House.”
Thirdly, of course, Saint Joseph has been our guardian and protector from the start. Just as he protected and cared for the Infant Jesus and His Holy Mother in Bethlehem, in Egypt and in Nazareth, so too does St Joseph teach us how to make a home for Jesus and Mary in our hearts in our lives.
Finally, the gift of a chalice is the most eloquent symbol of the way we wish to live out our consecrated lives by giving primacy to the interior life.
In our Constitutions (#7) we read: “We want to be “another humanity added to His own,” (Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, Elevation 34.) ; we want to be chalices full of Christ that pour out their superabundance on all the rest; we want to show with our lives that Christ lives.”
Silver Jubilarians: 25 Years of Religious Profession (1992-2017)
Following the Mass, we gathered in the large parlor of the contemplative sisters to share a festive reception together.
Three of the fifteen silver jubilarians belong to our Province, and two of them are contemplatives. Mother Maria del Redentor, SSVM (Monastery of St Edith Stein), Mother Maria Gema de Jesus, SSVM (Wachula, Florida), Sr. Maria del Verbo Encarnado, SSVM (Monastery of St Edith Stein).
Our contemplative sisters were also joined by Sr. Eileen, one of the Sister Adorers of the Precious Blood at the monastery shared by the two communities.
We rejoice in the gift of perseverance for our sisters and we give thanks to God for the gift of our charism in the life of the Church. May the primacy of the interior life — so eloquently proclaimed by the contemplative life — be the source of apostolic work and the joy of our hearts. Good Saint Joseph, teach us how to know and love Mary and Jesus more each day by an ever deeper life of prayer and contemplation.