Our recent day of prayer was like no other. The Contemplative Sisters of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Missouri, were invited on May 4, 2015 by Most Reverend Edward M. Rice, Sister Marysia, RSM, and Lynne Lang for a day of prayer and recollection at Mount Grace Convent of Perpetual Adoration, where the nuns are commonly called Pink Sisters because of their rose colored habit. The Knights of Columbus transported Sisters to and from Mount Grace Convent.
Challenge to take courage
The day began with the vocation story of Bishop Rice and was followed by his keynote presentation. He emphasized that we are on a “journey of faith.” The Bishop urged us to take courage through fidelity and zeal, putting our heart into our prayer-filled daily lives. If we are empowered by the Holy Spirit we will face challenges for whatever the future holds.
Bishop Rice went on to say that as consecrated contemplative women we have a special call in the Church to keep watch at the dawning of the day through our prayer, charism and spirituality. We are a “sign” of good things to come as we search for the face of God.
The Bishop spoke about human formation being needed to build quality community life. He said that in a community it is necessary to cultivate those qualities which are required in all human relationships. After he spoke of this we had time to reflect and share about what we are doing together as a community of love. We were anxious to learn from one another, as there were many common practices among us, as well as the various structures and traditions. We really experienced what the meaning of “unity in diversity” means as we came together as contemplatives living different charisms and lifestyles.
Mission of prayer
We spent more time in table sharing and group sessions in the afternoon. We had come together from different congregations and different nationalities, yet our mission of prayer was the same. We are all intercessors for the entire world. As Carmelites, Pink Sisters, Redemptoristines, and Good Shepherd Sisters we live the Paschal Mystery with joy, experiencing the presence of God in our communities. It was an amazing experience. Although most of us had just met one another on the day of prayer it was as if we had always known each other.
We began creating action plans to address the needs of our communities. We addressed caring for our elderly and ill Sisters, looking at the generation gaps, formation, vocation ministry and more. The time passed all too quickly and we expressed to Sr. Marysia our desire to spend another day together!
The day of prayer also held some happy reunions. Sr. Sharon Rose reconnected with the Redemptoristine Sisters, renewing a 30-year friendship. Sr. Sharon Rose had made two retreats with them in Liguori and visited the Sisters often when the Fathers there were her spiritual directors.
Another surprising moment occurred when Sr. Mary Helen, a Redemptoristine nun, told us that she had been an apostolic Good Shepherd Sister for 10 years in the Philippines. She remembered Sr. Madge, and they shared fond memories together. We noticed that over half of the Pink Sisters were Filipina, so we are sure that everyone can imagine the joy this brought to both Sr. Madge and Sr. Beth. They all bonded as family and the rest of us had fun watching them speak in Tagalog! It was truly a day to be cherished in all of our hearts.
Symbol of unity
Before we closed for the day each Congregation wove together a cross signifying our oneness in our unique calling. Lynne Lang framed them for us and we were given the woven cross as a remembrance of our special day together. We express our gratitude to Most Reverend Edward M. Rice and Lynne Lang for their presentations and for Sr. Marysia who organized and planned this day of graces, as well as providing delicious snacks and a noon meal. We cannot forget to mention Archbishop Robert Carlson who gave his blessing on our day and encouraged us to attend. It was really a day worth recalling as contemplatives praying for the whole world, that we are one in the spirit and one in the Lord. We look forward to the next journey of faith as we face the future of the contemplative nuns in St. Louis, Missouri.
Sister Marysia Weber, Director of the Office of Consecrated Life for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, organized the day of prayer as part of The Year of Consecrated Life after meeting the Adoration Sisters at their Open House and having a conversation with them about their spiritual needs. The Sisters lamented that there had not been a collaborative day of prayer among contemplative Sisters since 1985 and that they felt unfulfilled by not having a time set aside for contemplatives to come together for prayer and holy sacrifice. Sr. Marysia relayed what she had heard to Archbishop Robert J. Carlson and Auxiliary Bishop Edward M. Rice.
“Bishop Rice and Archbishop Carlson see the contemplative Sisters as a powerhouse of prayer and joyful witness to the love of God. When they learned of the longing the contemplative Sisters felt for a collaborative day of prayer, we began planning immediately to meet this need,” Sr. Marysia said.
Sr. Marysia coordinated the day of prayer with the assistance of Bishop Rice and Lynne Lang, who works in the Catholic Education Office as Director of School Climate for the Archdiocese.
“Our contemplative Sisters represent the jewel of the Kingdom of God through their life of prayer, love and sacrifice. We want to do whatever we can to always meet their needs, “Sr. Marysia said.