Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Community Director Sister Natalie Binversie offers remarks on the celebration of the golden and silver jubilees of our Sisters.
Good afternoon! On this 12th Sunday in Ordinary time we find the calendar announcing the celebration of Father’s Day and World Refugee Day! Another memorable event on the calendar for the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity is the celebration of our Sister Jubilarians, the Lovers of Life, the Golden Jubilarians of 2020 and the Children of the Divine Light, the Silver Jubilarians of 2021!
Special congratulations to the Lovers of Life who are celebrating their 51st Anniversary of Profession of Vows. We rejoice with Sister Anne Marie Lom, Sister Christine Stoller, Sister Mariadele Jacobs, Sister Mardelle Meinholz, Sister Maria Goretti Scandaliato, Sister Rochelle Kerkhof and Sister Mary Karen Oudeans. With belief in the Communion of Saints we trust that you have Sister Jerianne Stelmach (2016) interceding for you from her eternal resting place.
We are also blessed to celebrate with the Children of Divine Light who professed the Evangelical Vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience 25 years ago. Congratulations to Sister Caritas Marie Le Claire, Sister Francis Mason and Sister Mary Ann Tupy!
The Scripture Readings for Mass this morning had the theme of storms. In the first reading The Lord addressed Job out of the storm. (Job 38:1, 8-11) In Psalm 107 we heard about those who sailed the seas, treading on the deep waters, seeing the works of the Lord and His wonders in the abyss. They were able to give thanks to the Lord for His love is everlasting! (Psalm 107: 23-31) In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus is asleep in the boat when a storm threatens the safety of the Disciples. Jesus calms the storm and questions the faith of His companions. (Mark 4:35-41)
The 2020 edition of The Compass, honoring the 2020 Golden Jubilarians had the theme of “Celebrating the Presence of God in Our Lives.” The Sisters were asked to share their advice on how to reach for God’s hand in the storms of life. Their responses included:
- The Lord is always there with His hand extended to help us. We need only to grab a hold of His hand.
- I have found that being quiet and going into the deepest part of my life – waiting and listening – is the best way to handle the situation.
- Fix your eyes on Jesus and allow Him to guide and instruct you. Do not take your eyes off WHO made you, loves you and will see you through.
- At times, the only thing that is possible is to ‘clutch the garments of God.’ One must hang on to the faith and hope given to us at Baptism.
- Waiting in the dark, blinding silence, the hard reality is that some storms are cleared only with time, God’s time.
- Trust – Let Go – Believe in the love Jesus has for you, even when it seems all is darkness. He will always be there for you. No matter what, His love will carry you all the way.
- The Lord does hear us and answers us in His own way, not always as we would expect. He may help us through others that are willing and ready to assist us.
- We need to trust and allow the Lord and others to support us.
When the “Children of Light” professed their Vows 25 years ago, July 14, 1996, Bishop Robert Morneau was the celebrant for the Mass. In the Homily Sister Caritas Marie, Sister Francis and Sister Mary Ann, you were given keys to grow in the commitment in living the vows as a Consecrated Woman Religious. You were given keys to weathering the storms that you would face. Bishop Morneau focused on the witnesses, after which you were named. Saint Francis embraced Poverty and Simplicity, in Humility, after the example of Jesus. He knew that he could weather any storm by faithful following in the footsteps of Jesus. Mary, Jesus’ Mother and first Disciple, is the witness of Obedience. Her Fiat, saying yes to God, meant, “Let it be done according to Your Will!” Saint Ann, the Mother of Mary and Grandmother of Jesus witnesses to the importance of family support, the importance of Community Life! Caritas, Charity, Love is the over-arching key to weathering every storm. In the face of sin, we call it Mercy, in the face of suffering we call it Compassion, in the face of glory we call it Beauty.
With the review of all the wonderful advice from our Sister Jubilarians, we are able to come through any storm. Each of us is called to follow in the footsteps of Jesus as Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity. We are grateful for the blessing of Community and we thank our Sister Jubilarians for the witness and example of their lives. Thank you and God bless you!