On the eve of the First Profession for Novice Sister Mary Teresa, Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity gathered for Evening Prayer that included the Blessing of Habit and Veil. We would like to share a bit about this Community Prayer. This ceremony begins with a question.
Father Placid: Sister Mary Teresa, what do you desire?
Novice: I ask you to thank God with me for the grace of my Novitiate and to petition my perseverance in His service.
After the opening song, Father again asked a response from Sister Mary Teresa.
Father: 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.
Sister Mary Teresa: On this vigil of my Profession, I ask my sisters to join me in prayer, petitioning the grace of mutual perseverance. And I ask you, Father, to bless this habit and veil which will symbolize my dedication to Christ and my purpose– to accept the responsibilities of a consecrated religious woman. Sisters, please join me in my prayer for perseverance.
The prayer continued with the psalms and reading. The habit and veil were blessed with holy water with appropriate words after the reading. After the closing prayer, Sister Mary Teresa was invited to stand in the front of chapel and the Sisters sang our traditional Blessing of St. Francis.