Thursday, August 6, 2015
by Sister Elise Cholewinski
One of the highlights of the summer for our Sisters is the celebration of Jubilee Day. As we participate in this joyous occasion, we are invited once again to consider the meaning of the commitment we have made. St. Paul says it very well in Sunday's second reading: religious life is a life of love.
A Sister in her 90s enters the convent chapel in the evening and kneels on the floor before the tabernacle. She spends the last few minutes of her day in communion with her Beloved. Religious life involves a deep, intimate, personal love of Jesus Christ. Personal prayer is at the heart of a Sister's daily routine.
A Sister attends her mother's funeral two weeks before Christmas. She spends several days at the convent during the holiday season, praying, visiting, sharing meals with the Sisters, and repeating her story yet one more time. As she drives home to her mission, she tells herself, "I feel so loved." Religious life is about sharing joys and dreams, burdens and pain, with a group of women who inspire and encourage, befriend and support each other. Being bonded with her Community, a Sister is assured that she never has to walk the journey alone.
A Sister returns home after school and announces that although she has reached the retirement age, her parish will do anything to keep her there. She has made such an impact on the children and their families that the administrator will create a new position for her. A Sister serves in many ways, through education, healing, and related ministries, but her presence goes far beyond the particular work that she does. She is remembered primarily for the love she has shown.
Prayer, community life, ministry -- these are the pillars of religious life and they are all dimensions of that one commitment to love. Jesus is the center of that one dedication. As a Sister moves into the future, her only goal is to fall more deeply in love. Why? Because she knows that God has first loved her with an everlasting love.
Rooted in the Cross, Word, and Eucharist ... compassionately responding through prayer, presence, and hospitality.
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