Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Anne Marie Lom reminisces about her years of Initial Formation. Now, fifty years later, these are our Sisters celebrating 50 years of consecrated life: Sister Anne Marie Lom, Sister Christine Stoller, Sister Mariadele Jacobs, Sister Mardelle Meinholz, Sister Maria Goretti Scandaliato, Sister Rochelle Kerkhof, Sister Mary Karen Oudeans. Sister Jerianne Stelmack celebrates in heaven. They were received in 1968. With the postponing of their celebration today, memories surface of their Reception….a real change in Reception Celebrations post Vatican 2.
Many Sisters were leaving the Community. The common comment was that they did not make an individual decision but “went along with the group” and “didn’t want to disappoint their families”. All of Religious Life was changing.
We all went home after Postulancy that year. We were not to contact anyone of the Postulants (our friends) so no one knew who was returning. When we arrived back at the Motherhouse in the afternoon, we put on our new habit skirts and tops and went to St. Al’s Homeroom. Our chairs were in a circle with our white veils on them.
We had composed our own ceremony before going home.
We prayed together with Mother Agna and Sister Roseann were there. Mother Agna gave each of us our religious name. We put on our veils. We sang as we processed to the Ave on the first floor near the stairs above the gong.
We were novices. The Sisters saw us for the first time at Evening Prayer. We had our own dining room (where St. Rita’s Offices are now located. I don’t think there were any pictures taken.
The Counsel at that time wanted us to join the Community for the right reason and it was to be a free and individual choice. No family, no Community members, no chapel service, no choir. Minimal fanfare but beautiful for the 1960’s style of the Lovers of Life.
Two years later we made our First Profession. We received the Constitutions, a lighted candle, and a crown of flowers. This same year Sister Maria Goretti Scandaliato was making her First Profession as a Poor Clare. In 1976 Seven Sisters made our Perpetual Profession.
In 2007 Sister Maria Goretti transferred from the Poor Clares Community to the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity and became a member of this group as her First Profession previously was in 1970. Here we are today, again, celebrating our Golden Jubilee as another “unique event”. Hopefully we will all be able to celebrate together at what will probably be for this crowd another “unique event.”
Here are some of the words from our group song:
This life we live is a prayer to God, … a risk to us…May we live it abundantly.
This life we give is all we have, not too perfect, ever growing…May we live it willingly.
This life we love is alive with friends,…life with the Son…May we live it unselfishly.
So today and through a forever of tomorrows….may we live life, give life, love life. AMEN.
( Based on Deut. 30-19-20)