24 November 2008

Renewal of Vows

On Friday, as we celebrated the Feast of the Presentation of Mary, we observed our custom of renewing our vows during Mass and signing our vow book during the day. Pictured above is the 1816 vow book as it waits for the next sister to approach it to rewrite and sign her vows.

Having the book out of its glass case for a day is a real treat. One stumbles upon many fascinating pages as she follows the handwritten numbers in the top-right corner of the pages to locate her own page. The very beginning of the book bears the traditional inscription of every Visitation vow book which is taken from the original manuscript in Annecy, written by St. Francis de Sales in 1611. Below is an excerpt from one of our Holy Father's aspirations for Our Order:

"O true God, who will grant me grace for the Almighty to hear my desire that He Himself should write this book, so that I may carry it on my shoulders and put it about me as a crown? . . . Yes, Lord Jesus, hear the cry of my heart for your servants: may you yourself write in this book, and may no Sister ever write her name in it except by your inspiration and in response to your call . . . . In all my soul's aspirations to you I shall call out all the names written in it, and this roll-call will be a hymn of joy and praise to offer up to your Divine Providence as a bouquet of sweet fragrance."
St. Francis de Sales

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