The First Profession of Three of Our Novices
Professions are always a super-special day for the whole community and we wanted to share that joy with you. On July 1, 2017, three of our novices made their First Profession as Daughters of St. Paul. As part of the Rite of Religious Profession, the three novices were given new names:
Sr. Danielle Lusier was given the name Sr. Danielle Victoria.
Sr. Julie Turner was given the name Sr. Julie Marie Benedicta.
Sr. Putri Mameseh was given the name Sr. Putri Magdalena.
One of the new professed, Sr. Julie Marie Benedicta, shared with us her thoughts which she had included in her invitation to family and friends:
… The Daughters of St. Paul are a 100-year-old congregation of sisters (a.k.a., “nuns,” but there is technically a difference), who are committed to spreading the news about Jesus Christ through all forms of communication, according to the spirit of St. Paul. But this is not a job or a career, it is actually our identity: twenty-four hours per day, 7 days per week, we are “media apostles,” showing forth Jesus Christ in our lives and through the media we produce.
Each of us has experienced having been called by God into a new kind of relationship with Him. We respond to that call—which is experienced as a profound encounter with love, unique to each person—by totally offering ourselves to be consecrated to Him. “Consecration” refers to a “setting apart” of something or someone for a particular purpose. So, by making the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, we are saying “yes” to God and allowing Him to set us apart for the distinctive life and mission of the Daughters of St. Paul, as recognized by the Catholic Church. The new name, the veil and emblem, etc., are a reminder to us and a sign to others of this interior change that has taken place.
Sometimes, people get the wrong impression about what these vows mean. Yes, in pronouncing these vows, I will be renouncing the right to marry, to own things or have my own bank account, and to make my own decisions about where I’ll live or what kind of work I’ll be doing. But it’s not because any of those things are considered bad or unholy—in fact, it’s because those things are so incredibly good that we offer them back to the Lord as gifts. Even more importantly, though, each of these vows invites me to live in a new and deeper intimacy with Jesus, the ultimate Poor, Chaste, and Obedient one, who has become the Love of my life, the source of my Joy, and my everything. I say “yes” to modeling His way of living as closely as possible in order to become His presence in the world today for my brothers and sisters.
Sr. Mary Leonora Wilson, Provincial Superior, received the vows of the three sisters. After Communion she spoke directly to the new professed:
“Set me as a seal upon your heart…” (Ct 8:6); “Capture my heart again; your love is extravagant, intimate…” Sr. Danielle Victoria, Sr. Putri Magdalena, Sr. Julie Marie Benedicta, this is how you began this Eucharistic liturgy this morning. You cried out these words with all the longing of the bride for her husband, but do you realize that your Divine Spouse, who is at the same time your Redeemer and Lord, is speaking these very same words to you? “Set me as a seal upon your heart… Capture my heart again.”
As Blaise Arminjon so aptly said, “[the bride] herself will now be the seal of the Bridegroom. … Her place will now always be on the heart of her beloved. And thus he will never be able to cease thinking about her.” And so it is. Still, the Lord God has never ceased thinking about you, or about anyone here. He has loved you, loved us, into life. But now as He takes you to Himself in this intimate covenant of religious profession, in these marvelous sacred nuptials, he woos you with your own words: “Set Me as a seal upon your heart…so that you will never be able to cease thinking about Me.” St. John, in the passage following the one you chose for today, records this same sentiment of Jesus: “Remain in my love.”
My friends here present, this is the essence of religious consecration; the women who have professed their vows today are women in love, women captured by Love Himself. I honestly doubt that there is a bride anywhere in the world this minute who is happier than our new professed sisters are. Their faces are radiant with joy. Why? Because their sights and their hearts are set on Jesus Master who is their Way, their Truth and their Life. He is everything they long for, the One who gives meaning to their lives, to their sacrifices, to their work. He is their All. May it always remain so.
Today you, Sisters Julie Marie Benedicta, Danielle Victoria and Putri Magdalena, have publicly declared your intention of following Jesus Master in the way of the evangelical counsels as a Daughter of St. Paul, vowing to live chastity, poverty and obedience in imitation of your Divine Spouse. You have done so because you want to be totally conformed to Him – to His life and to His death – so that like St. Paul you may gain Christ and be found in Him (Phil 3:8). This will mean letting Christ strip away everything that separates you from Him, letting Him prune the vine, burn away the dross, allowing His Will to become your will, His Heart to become your heart, His life of simplicity and poverty to be reflected in your lives of simplicity and poverty.
It’s not the way of the world, nor is it always easy. In fact, it’s the foolishness of the Cross! But to embrace it, is to let yourselves be embraced by Love – Love, the Person, the person of Jesus Christ! It is to embark on the most amazing journey of faith and of trust. And I promise you, life will never be dull, routine or monotonous! Your Spouse is the God of surprises Himself! Just be ready with your “Yes.”
…In these days as we remember our foundation in this country just 85 years ago, I would like to close remembering Mother Paula. She left Italy in 1932 as a young professed sister, sent by the Founder and Mother Thecla. She was only 23 and hadn’t made final vows yet. She and her companions had practically no money, knew no English, and when they arrived here were told that they weren’t wanted and should go back to Italy, which, of course, they did not. What did Mother Paula and those first sisters have? An enormous amount of trust in obedience and Divine Providence, the faith that moves mountains, and hearts filled with love. Everything we have today is a tribute to them and their genuine religious spirit.
That’s why my wish for you, dearest newly professed sisters, I chose from a letter of the 2nd Superior General of the Society of St. Paul to Mother Paula. He wrote: Without wanting to, you have placed yourself upon the mountain top, and people see and believe because you believe; they love because you love; they follow because you have your goal clearly in mind and you follow it without hesitation or complication.” May this be said of you and of every Daughter of St. Paul.
We love you, God bless you and welcome among the professed!
Sr Leonora's Talk to the Newly Professed