Celebration of Jubilees of Religious Profession 2017

On June 24, 2017, we came together to glorify the Lord’s marvelous faithfulness and love as we celebrated the 60th, 50th and 25th jubilees of 10 of our sisters: nine present at the Jubilee Mass, and one, Sr. Mary Veronica, recently departed for her true homeland, where she now celebrates her eternal profession. 

 

Jubilees are always very special because they remind us of how much God loves each one individually and uniquely. Each of us, regardless of who we are, has received a particular vocation in life, a call to cooperate with God in the work of creation and redemption, to become holy in our state of life, to make this world a better place, and to attain happiness with God forever in eternity. 

In his homily, Father Jim Mattaliano reflected on the readings of the celebration. Because it was the Solemnity of the Birth of John the Baptist, the readings were those of the day. And how appropriate they were for a Jubilee! Father Jim compared the life and mission of John the Baptist with the life and mission of our sisters celebrating their Jubilees. John the Baptist, he said, was born to be a great luminary in history as he announced the Light of the World. Each of the sisters was also chosen, set aside, and truly a servant of the Word of God in order to bring light to the world today. John the Baptist was a witness to Jesus par excellence. He spent his entire life proclaiming the truth. And that also is the vocation of a Daughter of St. Paul, called like John the Baptist and like St. Paul to witness to Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life, for whom the world is longing.

One of the stories that is most remembered about the life of John the Baptist was how he received his name. After his birth had been announced in the Temple to his father Zechariah, his father had been unable to speak because he had doubted the power of God. When he told the townspeople that his newborn son’s name was to be John, his tongue was loosed and he broke out in the Canticle: Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has come to his people and set them free! Our Jubilarians also received new names upon profession, names that would mark them as witnesses in the world to the Savior of the world. Just as for John, this life of witnessing is at times difficult, as we proclaim a counter-cultural witness. John not only preached the message, he was the message. John the Baptist and St. Paul were lost in the One they proclaimed, just as those who are Daughters of St. Paul are called to be: lost in the Word, proclaimers of the Word, living Christ and giving Christ to today’s world. The world needs true and faithful witnesses ever new, true, fresh, and lasting.

The Lord has chosen some of us and set us apart, asking us to follow him in a more radical way, living as he lived in poverty, chastity, and obedience; bound to him in a more intimate relationship of prayer; forgetting ourselves and spending all our energies to lead people to him. But the Lord doesn’t just call and then leave us on our own. No. He enters into a covenant with us–a Love Covenant–much like the covenant of matrimony. In that covenant he promises to love and protect us, to sustain us and fill us with himself, and to never abandon us. He promises fidelity. We too promise faithfulness, to love the Lord more than ourselves or anyone else, to do always what pleases him, to serve him in our sisters and brothers, and to live simply, unattached to things. It’s a reciprocal covenant. Jesus says, I give myself entirely to you, and we respond in kind. 

From the reflections of Sr. Mary Leonora, Provincial: “Today we look back over 60, 50, 25 years and marvel at how good the Lord is! With the psalmist we cry out: “The faithfulness of the Lord endures forever!” I am sure that each sister being celebrated today can testify to the faithfulness and love of the Lord in her life, of his incredible tenderness and strength, of the adventure of being in love with God and sent in his name! That is why with the Blessed Virgin Mary we cry out, “My soul glorifies the Lord!”

“The readings of this solemnity of the birth of John the Baptist are also a very fitting reminder of our mission to “prepare the way of the Lord.” John took these words to heart and lived them totally–always listening to the voice of the Bridegroom (a title he used in reference to Jesus). John was all about Jesus, just as we are called to be.

“My prayer for you, dear jubilarians, comes from the second reading of today: “I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart, he will carry out my every wish.” May the Lord also say, “I have found Sister Mary Stephen daughter of Magdaleno, Sister Thecla daughter of Serafino, Sister Mary Lea daughter of Lee, Sister Mary Emmanuel daughter of Gordon, Sister Mary Elizabeth daughter of Henry, Sister Christine Salvatore daughter of Philip, Sister Liria daughter of Arturo, Sister Rebecca Marie daughter of Theodore, Sister Margaret Michael daughter of George, a woman after my own heart; she will carry out my every wish.” May this be your everyday response to the faithfulness and love of God.”