Franciscan Blessing of Symbols of Perpetual Profession
Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity begin the Rite of Perpetual Profession with a vigil Evening Prayer including the blessing of the symbols of the ring and the crucifix. Here is the introductory commentary explaining the significance of the symbolism. Father Placid Stroik, OFM, led the blessing. Sister Natalie Binversie is the writer of the commentary.
On this, the eve of the Feast of the Portiuncula, it is fitting to recall one Palm Sunday night when Clare Offreduccio quietly made her way to the small, simple church called Saint Mary’s of the Angels of the Portiuncula. There waiting in the church that was so dear to them was Francis and his brothers. They were waiting to witness Clare give herself totally to Christ in a free response of love. For Clare, the symbols of her consecration were the cutting of her hair and the trading of her costly, beautiful clothes for the clothes of a poor person.
Like that Palm Sunday night some 800 years ago, we come to our own Saint Mary’s to celebrate a woman giving her total self to God by being chaste, poor, and obedient. Two symbols that represent Sister Elena’s and each of our consecration are the ring and the crucifix.
The ring we ask blessed, having no beginning and no end, signifies God’s infinite presence and love, and our deepening love for Him. It’s simplicity is indicative of the single-heartedness with which we desire to follow Christ and spread His kingdom on earth.
The crucifix we ask blessed, reminds us of Christ’s passion, death, and Resurrection, and signifies His total acceptance of the Father’s will and our willingness to share in the Paschal Mystery.