On April 1, 2008, the feast of the death of St. Benedict (transferred from March 21), we celebrated the anniversaries of two of our sisters' monastic professions. Sr. Angelika celebrated 70 years of monastic profession and Sr. Pauline 50 years. Both sisters are prime examples for the community of perserverance in the monastic life and fidelity to God.
For this festive occasion, Mother Maria-Michael asked the jubilarians to give a few words to the community on what has inspired their fidelity for so many years. Sr. Angelika, the platinum jubilarian, presented to us three quotes found in the Rule of St. Benedict (which you will also recognize from the Bible):
"First of all, to love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy strength. Then to love thy neighbor as thyself." (RB 4:1) ;
"Never despair of God's mercy"' (RB 4:74);
and finally, "He himself has promised what eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man what things God has prepared for those who love Him." (RB 4:77)
Indeed, she did not need to say more as we can all witness that she lives these maxims faithfully each day.
Sr. Pauline, our golden jubilarian had this to say to us:
When Fr. Mark Tierney was here to talk to us about the beatification process of Abbot Marmion he said that it was Rome's intention to canonize him and Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity together because theirs was a kindred spirituality. So I feel quite at home with her even though she is a Carmelite.
A little sentence from her writings made a deep impression on me some 50 years ago and I found it excellent advice: "A truly supernatural soul doesn't stop at secondary causes." What I understood this to mean and have tried to practice is that everything comes to us from God: the joys and the pains. In times of suffering it is very useful to remember that the bitter medicine is given to me by my heavenly Father.
For instance if someone says or does somehting that hurts me, instead of dwelling on the though of that hurt, which can grow to proportions totally out of line with reality, I try to turn to God and acknowledge that it is bitter medicine, but I know that he is giving it to me for my good and I thank him for it. And then move on.
The fact of focusing on God rather than on the instrument he uses to polish me up gives great peace, prevents relationships from deteriorating and probably prevents stomach ulcers too!
We thank God today in a special way for these two sisters.