The feast of Our Lady of Lourdes on February 11, 2019 was celebrated with due solemnity at Saint Benedict Center and had the added glory of marking the Final Profession of two of our Sisters.
After three years of First Vows, Sister Marie-Celine Kelly and Sister Mary Clair Sonnier pronounced their Final Vows as Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary during the Offertory of the Mass, uniting the sacrifice of their lives more intimately to Christ, Who is offered and sacrificed in the Holy Mass.
The beautiful chants of the Mass of Our Lady of Lourdes strikingly complemented the simple, yet profound ceremony, as they echoed the invitation of Our Lord, “Arise, my love, my beautiful one, and come!”
During the ceremony the Sisters individually requested to make “perpetual profession in this community of Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the glory of God and the service of the community,” pronouncing their perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, “in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for the service of the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church.”
The Brides of Christ then carried their charters of profession to the Gospel side of the altar where they signed and kissed them. The celebrant then spoke the awesome words – “I on the part of God, if you keep these vows, promise you eternal life.”
The newly professed each received a blessed veil and a crown of roses “as a sign of their anticipation of the Eternal wedding feast as a Bride of Christ” and a lighted candle, symbolizing the light of Christ, “as a sign of immortality, that, dead to the world, they may live in God, fleeing the works of darkness.” The professed then left the chapel to don the veil of profession.
Its always breathtaking to see the look of profound joy on the face of the newly professed as they reenter the chapel wearing the veil and crowned with white roses!
As the Mass came to a close, the professed Sisters and those in the congregation turned their hearts once more in loving petition: “O Lord, may the right hand of Thine Immaculate Mother uplift us …that by her help we may deserve to come to our eternal fatherland.”
A formal luncheon with the community and family members followed. Some family members traveled from as far as Hawaii, Mississippi and Arkansas to join the celebration of this joyful occasion.
Please pray for Sr. Marie-Celine and Sr. Mary Clair as they continued their earthly pilgrimage on to their eternal wedding feast as Brides of Christ. “Confirm, O Lord, what Thou hast wrought in us…”