“The Life of a Prophet” was the topic announced for the Sisters’ annual retreat this year, and the retreat fulfilled the promise of such an intriguing title. The prophet chosen was Eliseus, and we heard from Father MacPherson about burning your bridges (no, sorry, your plow) behind you when you answer God’s call, about taking the honour of God seriously (enough to have disrespectful children eaten by bears), and about not losing faith if at first you don’t succeed (even if what you are trying to do is stop a river by smacking it with a cloak).
|From the lower right of this picture one can learn how to strike a river|
A memorable story – linked with the theme of charity: bears maul the children who mocked Eliseus.
Rest assured, we do not have such things done to our pupils.
The retreat lasted from the fifteenth to the twenty-second of December, but we received the final blessing of the retreat one day early, as Father had to go to his mission in Auckland. This was providential as it fell on the feast of
St Thomas the Apostle, who
brought the Faith to Kerala in India,
the home of Sister Maria Swarupa, who would be making final profession the next
day. And the next day, Sunday, was also the old feast of the Patronage of Our
Lady over the Dominican Order. So St
Thomas gave his daughter in the faith a final blessing
before placing her under the protection of the Queen of Apostles and Lady of
the Friars Preachers.
On Sunday, at the sung Mass, Sister Marie Dominique renewed her vows and Sister Maria Swarupa transferred her perpetual vows, made twenty-four years ago, into the Dominican Order. For Sister Marie Dominique, the ceremony was like answering “yes, of course!” to a fiancé who asks halfway through the engagement, “are you sure you want to marry me?” For Sister Swarupa, it was like giving the same answer when your husband has been offered a job in a new country, far from your home and people, and asks if you would go with him there. For both, the Dominican vow of obedience was an act of love and a sign of God’s love for them, so after giving thanks for the many graces of the day at Mass, we celebrated this great occasion with a small reception at the school, at which we enjoyed seeing and speaking to many fellow-parishioners and pupils.
|Sister Marie Dominique makes a renewal of her temporary vows (for another two years) in the hands of Mother General|
|The kiss of peace, given by the Superior, after the pronouncing of vows|
|Sister Maria Swarupa pronounces her perpetual vows|
|Father Louis Bochkoltz presides at the ceremony|
|Father Bochkoltz pronounces the final blessing of the ceremony as Sister Swarupa prostrates in the sanctuary. She now wears a gold ring on her right hand, a visible sign of her eternal espousal to our Lord Jesus Christ.|
|At the Communion rail|
|A photo of the community outside the Church, after the ceremony|