"In all religious houses...some part should be reserved to the members alone. This form of separation from the world...is part of the public witness which religious give to Christ and to the Church. It is also needed for the silence and recollection which foster prayer."
~ Essential Elements 11
Moving to a different location has presented the community with the opportunity of setting up a new house where Jesus Christ can be loved above all else. The convent, as the Church tells us above, is not just a place where like-minded people congregate together to do good things for God. It is rather a part and an expression of our consecrated lives. As such, the way the convent is configured and the objects present in it affect and reflect our vowed life. Recently, we have been able to erect a few things of particular significance for the community: the convent bell, the Stations of the Cross, and the statue of Our Lady of Fatima.
The evangelical counsel of obedience, lived in faith, is a loving following of Christ
who was obedient unto death." ~ Essential Elements 22
The convent bell, which Father is seen blessing above, is the voice of Christ sounding on the convent grounds. The Sister responds to the sound of the bell as to the voice of her Bridegroom. It calls her to prayer, to study, to meals and community life. The Sister's loving response to all that the daily order requires allows her to enter into the mystery of Christ's own mortification in both her interior life and the use of her exterior senses.
"If anyone wishes to come after me, let him take up his cross daily and follow me..."
"Oh Jesus, it is for love of Thee and in reparation for the offenses committed
against the Immaculate Heart of Mary and for the conversion of poor sinners."
As a community, we take Our Lady as our model in living our life of consecration to God. As such, it is no surprise that depictions of her are found all around the convent while we endeavor to cultivate her spirit of joy, peace, and loving sacrifice. Her images serve to remind us to ask her to share with us something of her strength of mind and courageous will as we strive to spread the reign of Christ Jesus in the world. The little shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, whose message inspires our apostolates, is a new favorite place for the Sisters to pause for a moment of recollection and for the community to gather in prayer. We are very grateful to a team of dedicated friends who made it possible to erect this beautiful (and heavy!) marble statue!
A bell, Stations, a statue - each of these are good in and of themselves, but as part of the convent they take on extra significance. They help us to remember who we are as women consecrated to Christ, seeking to find Him in all things while maintaining a certain separation from all that is not Him. They also serve to help others to see the sacredness of the convent space. They are visible reminders that these grounds are not a common space but are given to Christ along with the people who live on them. It is this set apartness of the convent that fosters the intimate conversations with Christ that are at the heart of consecrated life, conversations from which the Sister is strengthened to go forth in service of God and His people.
Our Lady, Queen and Model of the Religious Life,
intercede for us, enable us to make this convent a place where Christ is loved above all else!