Franciscan Community Director Comments on First Profession of Sister Pamela Catherine Peasel
Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Community Director, Sister Louise Hembrecht addressed the Community at breakfast on June 5, 2011 in honor of the first profession of Sister Pamela Catherine Peasel. Read here her comments.
Congratulations Sister Pamela Catherine. Happy Feastday. Personally, I am partial to double celebrations, but this is really a triple one for you. In a few hours you will profess your vows. I trust that the Novitiate has been a blest time for you, a time of grace.
During these past two years you have studied our Franciscan life, studied the vows, studied us. The Novitiate has been a time to grow in prayer, to be grounded in prayer. The learning is not complete now or in a few hours from now when you profess your vows. It really has only began. Throughout your whole life, you will need to continue to integrate prayer, community, and service. These past two years, time was set aside for growth in each. As you begin your vowed life on mission, you will find that the pull to service is great but I trust that the pull to prayer and community is just as great. The three together form the basis of our evangelical apostolic religious life with Christ as the cornerstone.
I called this a triple day of celebration for you – your profession day and your double feastday. When you entered the novitiate, you asked for the Ascension as your feastday. Now usually a feastday is connected with a namesday. You do not have a separate namesday, instead your personal feastday is the same as the feastday of the title you chose: Witness of Divine Joy.
As you profess your vows, there is no doubt an abundance of Divine Joy both here on earth and in the heavenly kingdom. How pleased and filled with joy the Trinity must be. But how do you give witness to that Divine Joy.
Today, the obvious answer is by living the vows with joy and love. As you have learned the vows are not about what you can’t have or can’t do, but about who you are and who you can become.
Poverty allows you to see the things of this earth as gift rather than possession. It allows you to treasure what you have been given but to long for and set your heart only on God. In this way you will be a Witness of Divine Joy.
Chastity allows you to expand your heart to include all those loved by God. It allows you to go beyond yourself and even beyond your need to be loved so that as you can both ground yourself in loving God and reach out to others in gentleness, compassion, and love. In living this way, you will discover and experience how much you are loved. You will be a Witness of Divine Joy.
Obedience allows you to listen to the voice of God in your life, to open to His will in the many ways that it will be revealed to you – in your own heart and in prayer, responding to the needs of others, in what the Community asks of you each day, in what those in authority both in the Community and the Church ask of you. Trust his will for you. As you grow in openness to God’s will you will be formed more and more into the likeness of His Son, Jesus the Lord. You will be a Witness of Divine Joy.
Your task is both simple and overwhelming. Keep your eyes and your heart focused on the goodness and generosity of God. See the love of God in all that He gives you, in the beauty of creation, in the people He places in your life. Know that He will give you the grace to respond, not only to the big challenges of living the vows, but also to the little things of daily life. In this way, you will be both happy and holy – for what is holiness, but happiness with a future. As you profess your vows, the Bishop will say to you that if you live these vows, he promises you life everlasting. Holiness – happiness with a future.
May God bless this your profession day and each day of your vowed Religious life.