Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Perpetual Profession


Our community songbook open to the Suscipe
with Sister Hospitality's liturgy
of Perpetual Monastic Profession.

On Saturday we celebrated the Perpetual Monatsic Profession of Sister Hospitality.  She had been preparing for this day for almost 9 years since her entry as a postulant long ago.  The day of prayer and celebration had one overwhelming feeling...fullfilment of God's Will.   Not only was our Sister Hospitality smiling, but each of us within the community reflected that smile of joy.  There was one challenge for our Sister. 

She has served the Monastery as assistant guest mistress and servant of hospitality to those who visit us in both the retreat and guest departments; however, this day we all took on this role for her.  She laughed as we whisked company right out of her hands to guide them to their destinations.  After the Mass of Consecration and reception, Sister relaxed with family, friends, and sisters while watching those of us clearing up out of the corner of her eye.

Each moment of the ancient Benedictine Rite of Monastic Profession holds a special meaning for different sisters.  The moment that brings me the most aware of our life is the singing of the Suscipe from Psalm 119.  Our chanted translation reads "Uphold me, O Lord, according to Your word that I may live, and let me not be disappointed in the hope I cherish" and closes with the Glory Be.  The Suscipe is chanted at our sisters' Perpetual Profession, Jubilees, and wake/funeral.  Each time we share in the Suscipe, I remember the day I promised my Perpetual Profession, look forward to the Jubilees that we will celebrate together, and keep Benedict's admonition to "keep death daily" before my eyes.

Saturday, as Sister Hospitality nervously began her solo part of the Suscipe chant, I noticed the Prioress and sub-Prioress had stepped in behind her to quietly support her voice with their own and a whole new perspective awoke in me.  The call to community in each part of our life, even in this moment where the ritual calls for a solo moment; it is community that makes it complete.


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