June 6, 2010 is the feast of Corpus Christi, a real solemnity in our Catholic Church. June 6 also marks the date of Sister Chiara LaValley’s first profession as a Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity. Tonight, the eve before Sister Chiara’s profession, Franciscan Sisters gathered in St. Mary’s Chapel for a special ‘Blessing of the Habit and Veil’.
Our Franciscan clothing blessing takes place within Evening Prayer. The ritual symbolizes a professed Sister’s dedication to Christ and her purpose-to accept the responsibilities of a consecrated Catholic women religious. In the opening rite, a novice is first questioned on what she desires. After responding that she is thankful for the grace of her Novitiate and asking for prayers from all community members for her perseverence in God’s service, she carrys her profession habit and veil walking behind the Motherhouse chaplain, while following a processional crucifix and a lighted candle held by professed Sisters.
Tonight, Father Finian Zaucha, OFM, our current chaplain, after reaching the front of chapel reminded Sister Chiara:
To serve God in the religious state means to die to one’s self and to live for God alone. It is a great privilege which God in His infinite love has bestowed upon you by calling you to religious life.
But, great as this calling may be, you should not venture to make your commitment of religious profession without firm conviction that you are called to do so by God and that you may respond sincerely and freely as Mary did.
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Watch for further coverage of Sister Chiara’s profession day.