"I will arise and put on Christ Jesus Crucified, Whom my soul loves and in Whom my heart rejoices."
~ The first prayer a Marian Sister prays each day
Our holy habit is more than an article of clothing. When a new novice is clothed, Mother assists her to put on the habit, representing her putting on of Christ Jesus Crucified. This habit will be her constant companion throughout her religious life. It is her bridal gown and when she goes to meet her Spouse face-to-face, she will be buried in it. It allows each of Sister's "children" to recognize her as their spiritual mother - even if they have never seen her before or will not see her again in this life. It is the visible sign of her consecration that enables the stranger pumping gas to confide to Sister their terminal diagnosis and ask for prayers, knowing that Sister will carry them in her heart when she speaks to her Divine Spouse.
As Sister fastens the familiar pins each morning, she prays for her own sanctification and perseverance in grace. Her life of consecration is aimed at a more perfect living out of her baptismal promises, so she prays, "Cleanse me, O Lord, and purify my heart that being made white in the blood of the Lamb, I may have the fruition of everlasting joys." Her white habit reminds her throughout the day of her soul's baptismal innocence. The care she takes to keep her habit white reflects the care she has to avoid even the smallest of offenses against her Divine Bridegroom.
The blue scapular calls to mind her total consecration to Jesus through Mary. She slips on the medal of the Immaculate Conception that she wears around her neck as a reminder of this consecration, invoking Our Lady, "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!" Mary is her model and her Mother, her help in every moment. It is from Mary that she has received her Spouse and through Mary that she will return to Him.
Her habit sets her apart, even from the family she loves with all her heart. She is set apart, not to be cut off from them, but so that she can serve and love them better. Her total gift of self to Christ enables her to love them more purely, not for what she receives from them, but for who they are as souls given by Christ to her care. She carries them, along with all her other spiritual children, before her Bridegroom each day, imploring for them His grace and protection, and asking for their eternal salvation.
"Why do you look so beautiful?" a little girl asked Sister. The little one wasn't taken by Sister's flawless external beauty (she doesn't "measure up" to society's elusive beauty standard). This child's innocence was captivated by Sister being a faithful reflection of her Spouse. 'Tis a beauty that can bear the heat of the day and the daily cross. The faithful company of these trials enhances her beauty because they increase in her the supernatural life of her Spouse. She prays daily, "O Lord, Who hast said 'My yoke is easy and My burden is light,' make me so able to bear it that I may obtain Thy favor."
As she slips on her shoes - plain, sturdy shoes that have seen many miles in the Lord's service, shoes that have hastened to the aid of a Sister in need, carried Sister in the service of her children, supported her during her hours of prayer, and been gratefully slipped off at the end of the day - the Sister prays, "O Lord, teach me to walk in Thy footprints and preserve me from stumbling; guide my steps in the way of salvation. May Thy holy angel direct and guard me. Not according to my own will, but purely in obedience, I will take every step." Kissing her simple ring as a renewal of her vows, Sister leaves her cell, her heart hastening to her Beloved waiting in the chapel, her will fixed on doing His will in each moment of the day.
"My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready!
"I come to do Thy will, O Lord!"
"Mary, my Mother, keep me faithful unto death!"