Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Community Director Sister Natalie Binversie congratulates Sister Kateri Cooper (75 years), Sister Paula Vanden Hogen (60 years), Sister Georgellen Vissers (60 years) and Sister Jacqueline Spaniola (50 years) on their Anniversaries of Religious Profession.
Good morning on this Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. We know that it is not very ordinary for us. Congratulations to Sister Kateri Cooper on your 75th Diamond Jubilee, Sister Paulyn Vanden Hogen and Sister Georgellen Vissers on your 60th Anniversary of Profession and Sister Jacqueline Spaniola on your Golden Jubilee. We rejoice with you and celebrate a combined total of 245 years of dedication to God as Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity.
This afternoon we will be celebrating the Jubilee Mass. The theme throughout the Liturgy of the Word is the call of God and the response of each individual. There was listening, hearing the call, discerning, realizing the sacrifice that it would be, then responding to follow or not. In the Gospel Jesus gave sound advice to a person who said, “I will follow you wherever you go.” After a few clarifying statements Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.” With resolute hearts each of you put your hands to the plow, kept your eyes focused ahead and Our Lord showed you the path to life.
Sister Kateri, you are the last living member of your crowd, Firebrands of Christ. Interceding for our Community and celebrating from their eternal resting place are: Sister Mary Martha LaBreche (1977), Sister Agnes Ann Drueke (1999), Sister Mary Arthur Maus (2001), Sister Lucretia Schantz (2003), Sister Loretta Shimondle (2010), Sister Pascalita Velasquez (2010), Sister Mary Frederick Gramann (2015), Sister Phyllis Schouten (2017), Sister Eugenia Vande Hey (2018), Sister Mary Louise Skutz (2018) and Sister Paul Mathy (2020).
The Shadows of the Cross, Sister Paulyn and Sister Georgellen, we remember Sister Sean Marie Tobin (2010), who completed her earthly journey. May she intercede for the Community with special intercession for the sick and the elderly. Sister Jacqueline, your title, Sharer of Life, is an appropriate reminder of our purpose for being. In the reading from the letter of Saint Paul to the Galatians, we are told to live by the Spirit. To be a Sharer of Life, one embraces and follows the whole law, namely, to love your neighbor as yourself.
The Psalmist, in Psalm 16 for today’s Mass, verbalizes the faith and trust we have in God in living the Consecrated Life, being faithful to living the Vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience. Let this be our prayer: “O God, in you I take refuge. I say to the Lord, you are my Lord; you are my only good. Lord, my allotted portion and my cup, you have made my destiny secure. I bless the Lord who counsels me. I keep the Lord always before me; with the Lord at my right, I shall never be shaken. Therefore, my heart is glad, my soul rejoices; my body dwells secure. For you will not abandon me. You will show me the path to life, abounding joy in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.”
May this day of celebration be filled with blessings. Thank you for saying “YES” to the call to be a Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity. Congratulations and God bless you and all who celebrate with you!