20 November 2009

For Those Who Pray

... that's a literal translation of "Pro Orantibus" which is what the Vatican celebrates on Saturday 21 November, the Feast of the Presentation of Mary. Since 1955, the Church has dedicated the Feast of Our Lady's presentation as a day to pray for those whose contemplative vocations give them the great privilege of being available to pray for others.

Here in our monastery of the Visitation of Georgetown, we are blessed with the best of both worlds. We are steeped in a 400 year monastic tradition (okay: 399 years, 5 months, and 14 days to be exact) and our particular monastery was founded in 1799 for the dual apostolate of prayer and education. So, while we observe a monastic horarium and monastic customs, the "work" we do each day is done -- for the most part -- both in the monastery and in the school. It is a unique blend of contemplative life and the apostolate of education.

This beautiful feast is especially meaningful for us for two reasons:

First, since it is "pro orantibus" day, we are very mindful of the number of people who call, email, write letters, send faxes, etc., with special intentions. And we are grateful for the Church's prayerful support of this precious responsibility of praying for those in need.

Second, 21 November is a very special day for us since it is the day upon which all Visitation sisters around the world renew their vows. Each sister will rewrite and resign her vows (the short formula) in her monastery's vow book. Our vow book dates from 1812 and has the vows of every sister who has even been professed in our house -- or who has ever been visiting on this feast (we have a special page in the vow book for guests, visiting sisters who happen to be with us on this day.)

As is the custom of our Order, all Visitation monasteries observe a mini-retreat for the three days prior to the renewal of vows. Do pray with us as we prepare to reecho our "Yes" to the Lord on Saturday morning!

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