The five-day workshop combined intensive chant and polyphony instruction and practice with excellent breakout sessions by Dr. William Marht. The Sisters were delighted to be immersed so deeply in the sacred music and liturgy of the Church for these days and are excited to share their increased knowledge with the whole community.
As a community steeped in the traditions of the Church, her sacred music is held especially dear by each of the Sisters. Our communal Office is lovingly chanted each day, and the sacred music of the Church is prayed at each liturgy celebrated in our Convent. Two of our Sisters were blessed to be able to attend Musica Sacra's Winter Sacred Music Workshop for Chant and Sacred Polyphony in New Orleans, LA this month.
In spite of the full conference schedule, the Sisters were able to re-connect with a dear community friend who is a Pastor of the Diocese. As the Sisters were walking one afternoon, a generous guide offered them a free bike tour, enabling them to see some unique parts of New Orleans and feel like real tourists.
Divine Infant King Jesus, come down into our hearts!
Sweet Infant Jesus, teach us to love Thee!
O Clavis David... O Key of David, come and lead us out of darkness!
Our good Bishop presided over Solemn Vespers at the Cathedral of St. Eugene on December 20, the fourth day of the O Antiphons in preparation for the Solemnity of the Nativity of the Lord. Our Chaplain, Father Keyes directed the Men's Scola in leading the congregation in chanting Vespers. The Liturgy of the Hours is the prayer of the Church, the very voice of the Bride speaking to the Bridegroom, and it was a honor to enter into this dialogue with such solemnity and beauty.
Bishop's Reflection on the O Antiphons
"And then we conclude, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, O Emmanuel, Come! Come be God in our midst. And then, the day after, we rejoice in the completion, a response by God on high, sending Him Whom we have called upon to come for the previous seven days. When we do that in this more formal, liturgical rite, we lend dignity, we lend a seriousness to the completion of our Advent preparation, and we lend ourselves to kindling in our hearts this eagerness for a response to our prayer "O come! Come! Come to Thy people, O come, Lord, come Emmanual!"
Regina Pacis, ora pro nobis!
Regina Pacis in the basilica of St. Mary Major
"In union with Mary, Mother of the Church, we strive to magnify Jesus Christ,
her Divine Son, by communicating the Beauty, Goodness, and Truth of the Catholic faith in
a spirit of joyful evangelization while living the fullness of the Church's liturgical life."
~ Charism Statement of the Marian Sisters of Santa Rosa
"What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place " ~ Letter accompanying Summorum Pontificum
In celebration of the tenth anniversary of the issuing of Summorum Pontificum and in thanksgiving for our precious charism, the special gift that God has given us for the life of the Church, our Superiors and Chaplain recently traveled to the Eternal City on pilgrimage. There they had to opportunity to join in many of the liturgies and conferences hosted by the Summorum Pontficum 2017 pilgrimage and to pray for the community and the Church at the major basilicas and other sacred places.
"When you shall see a soul leave all things to adhere to the Word with all her strength, live by Him,
allow herself to be guided by Him... a soul, in short, who can say: for me to live is Christ, and to die is gain,
then you can indubitably recognize her for a spouse of the Word." ~ St. Bernard
The Virgin Mary holding the Infant Jesus as He places a ring of St. Catherine's finger - by Hans Memling
Our consecration as religious women is most beautifully expressed and summed up by the three primary
relationships in our life: Daughter, Spouse, Mother.
"I am a daughter of the Church." ~ St. Teresa of Avila
"The nuptial dimension belongs to the whole Church, but consecrated life is a vivid
image of it, since it more clearly expresses the impulse towards the Bridegroom." ~ Verbi Sponsa
There is a need for people able to show... the motherly face of the Church, people who spend their lives
so that others can have life and hope. The Church needs consecrated persons who, even before committing themselves to the service of this or that noble cause, allow themselves to be transformed by God's grace and
conform themselves fully to the Gospel. VC 105
Daughter, Spouse, Mother ~ in each of these, the Sister holds Our Lady as her Model and Mistress. May Mary, Daughter of the Eternal Father, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, and Mother of Christ and of the Church, pray for us and obtain for us the grace of final perseverance in our holy vocation as a
Daughter of the Church,
Spouse of Christ,
Mother of souls!
God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom the world
is crucified to me, and I to the world (Galatians 6:14). ~ Introit for the Exultation of the Cross
“There is no evil to be faced that Christ does not face with us.
There is no enemy that Christ has not already conquered. There is no cross to bear
that Christ has not already born for us, and does not now bear with us.”~ St. John Paul II
Saint Augustine says: "Beautiful is God, the Word with God ... He is beautiful in heaven,
beautiful on earth; beautiful in the womb, beautiful in his parents' arms, beautiful in his miracles, beautiful in his sufferings; beautiful in inviting to life, beautiful in not worrying about death, beautiful in giving up his life and beautiful in taking it up again; he is beautiful on the Cross, beautiful in the tomb, beautiful in heaven. Listen to the song with understanding, and let not the weakness of the flesh distract your eyes from the splendor of his beauty." The consecrated life reflects the splendor of this love because, by its fidelity to the mystery of the Cross, it confesses that it believes and lives by the love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In this way it [consecrated life] helps the Church to remain aware that the Cross is the superabundance of God's love poured out upon this world, and that it is the great sign of Christ's saving presence, especially in the midst of difficulties and trials.... Fidelity to God also inspires devotion to neighbor, a devotion which consecrated persons live out not without sacrifice by constantly interceding for the needs of their brothers and sisters, generously serving the poor and the sick, sharing the hardships of others and participating in the concerns and trials of the Church. ~ Vita Consecrata (emphasis added)
"By virtue of their dedication lived in fullness and in joy, consecrated women are called
in a very special way to be signs of God's tender love toward the human race and to be special witnesses to the mystery of the Church, Virgin, Bride, and Mother." ~ Vita Consecrata, 57
Perpetual profession of vows of Sister Maria Faustina of Our Mother of Mercy
The final profession of vows is a solemn and grace-filled moment for the Sister, the Community, and the whole Church. It represents the moment when the Church affirms, ratifies, and makes permanent the response the Sister made to Christ's loving call many years before. She professes the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience according to the rule of life of her community, committing to strive for perfect charity in her way of life. By perpetual profession, the Sister enters into a spiritual marriage that is unbreakable.
The Litany of Saints
Following the examination, the Sister prostrates before the altar for the praying of the Litany of the Saints. The Bishop asks those present to join in praying that Sister may be strengthen in her resolve and address Sister:
"Sister, you are dead to the world and your life is hidden in Christ. God forbid that you should glory save in the cross of your beloved Crucified Spouse, that having lived daily in Him, you may one day be conducted by our heavenly Mother to the eternal consummation of your Divine espousals.
"Saint Maria Faustina, ora pro nobis!
"Saint Teresa of Calcutta, ora pro nobis!
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, ora pro nobis!
At the conclusion of the Litany, the Bishop prays:
"Arise, and live ever as one in the world but not of the world.
Be not a foolish, but a wise virgin with her lamp ever trimmed."
The Solemn Consecration
After the profession of vows, the Sister kneels before the Bishop as he prays the prayer of consecration. This prayer is a prayer of praise of God's mercy, a brief synopsis of salvation history
and an asking down ofHis special graces on this His chosen bride that she may be
faithful and fruitful in her life of consecration.
The Presentation of the Ring and the Crown of Thorns
Following the solemn consecration, the newly perpetually professed Sister kneels before the Bishop to receive the gold ring of a perpetually professed member of the community (engraved within 'To Jesus, my heart, my all, forever), while the Bishop says:
"Receive this ring, for you are betrothed to the Eternal King. Keep faith with your
Bridegroom so that you may come to the wedding feast of eternal joy."
The Sister responds:
I am the Bride of Him whom the angels serve, who the sun and moon gaze upon with admiring wonder.
The Lord Jesus has placed His ring upon my finger. He has clothed me in the character of His spouse."
The Sister then is crowned by our Mother Superior with a crown of thorns:
"Receive, beloved Sister, the crown of thorns in memory of the crown of the Lord,
and through this may you know that not to be joined to your Thorn-Crowned Head, that is Christ,
is to be a delicate member, and if you bear the crown of thorns of tribulation in this life He shall render you, His spouse, a crown of glory forever."
At the conclusion of the Holy Sacrifice, the Sisters renew their total consecration to Jesus through Mary before
the image of Our Lady of Fatima as is our custom on all major feasts and occasions in the life of the community.
"The kingdom of this world and all its pomps have I despised for the love of Jesus Christ my Lord: whom I have see, whom I have loved; in whom I have believed; to whom I have given my love."
May 31, a joyful and grace-filled day, the feast of the Visitation and the feast of the Queenship of Mary, marked the clothing of four new novices and the First Profession of Vows of Sr. Margaret Mary of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. Sr. Margaret Mary is the first daughter of the Diocese of Santa Rosa to make profession in the community, making this a significant profession for the Diocese as well as for the community. The Profession Mass was celebrated by His Excellency, Robert Vasa, Bishop of Santa Rosa, assisted by the priests who have played a significant role in Sr. Margaret Mary's life and spiritual formation: our Chaplain, Fr. Jeffery Keyes; the Rector of the Cathedral, Fr. Frank Epperson; Fr. David Anderson, the Pastor of the Eastern Rite Catholic Church; and Fr. Raul Lemus, a dear family friend and former Pastor.
Mother pins on the blue veil
"...It is Jesus whom I love; I am become the spouse of Him whose Mother was a virgin,
and who was begotten spiritually of His Father, of Him whose sweetest music already sounds in mine ears: If I love Him, I am chaste: when I touch Him, I am pure; when I possess Him, I am a virgin....
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
"...O ye holy virgins, obtain for me that chaste, tender affection,
which may give me the right to make my nest, as a turtledove,
in the would of love which is in the Heart of Jesus, my Spouse."
Text from the unrevised Pontificale Romanum
Please join us in praying for Sister Margaret Mary,
for her growth in holiness and perseverance in her holy vocation.
Mary, our Queen and Mother, pray for us!
As an emerging community, the Sisters are frequently given the opportunity to participate in "firsts" - the first clothing of novices and the first Mass in our new convent being just two of the more important of the "firsts". This Holy Thursday marked another "first" for our community: the first Procession of our Lord to the conventual Altar of Repose. We have never before had enough space to make a real Altar of Repose and so delighted in our ability to offer Him this small act of loving adoration.