20 November 2008

Shhhhhh .... Sisters at Prayer

"Every year, on November twenty-first, Feast of the Presentation of Our Lady, after three days of recollection, all the sisters publicly renew their religious vows, although simply as an act of devotion."
Constitutions of the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary, chapter XXXII

It may be "simply as an act of devotion" but is, indeed, an important day in the life of our monastery. The 1816 vow book, in which the founding sisters of our monastery wrote their vows, comes out of its glass case and is placed on a table in front of the altar. During Mass we all recite a short renewal formula and then, all during the day, the sisters have a chance to sign their page in the vow book. We even have a visitor's page for sisters who are away from their monastery on this feast and renew their vows with us.

It is fitting -- and particularly meaningful for us -- that November 21st has also been named a day "pro orantibus" -- for those who pray and, in particular, the Church prays for cloistered religious. We leave off here with a prayer from St. Francis de Sales' instructions as he founded our Order:

"Grant, O Jesus, holy and sweet love of our souls, that the year in which each Sister shall inscribe her oblation in this book may be a year of sanctification for her; the day, a day of salvation, the hour an hour of lasting benediction."

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