As promised, here is the sharing of our youngest novice's investiture ceremony:
Praised be Jesus Christ, and happy 2018! Behold the letter you have all been waiting for: recounting the joyous day of our Investiture on December 16! First of all, I hope you have so far had a blessed New Year, filled with many graces and blessings. For me, my heart sings loudly: “The mercies of the Lord are new every morning!” It is so refreshing to realize how true this is and that this year before us is waiting for our “yes to all that the Lord will ask of us”, as Mother Abbess said in her New Year’s Eve Chapter. I will expound upon this later in the letter. Now, where do I start?
I’d like to share about our retreat which I am so grateful for; it was so peaceful. The weather was very cold, but I managed to get outside almost every day to enjoy God’s creation. I did some light hiking down our trails and visited our beautiful pond. My soul was wrapped in silence, and my heart was humming a gentle song of thanksgiving. This became my theme for the retreat, which began on December 11, the vigil of the Solemnity of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I received our refectory penance from Mother: “I humbly beg you to pray for me that my Poor Clare life may be a sign of the love of Christ for the world.” This was a reference to our Lord’s words about the Divine Mercy image. Kneeling before each sister and asking her to pray for me for this intention was such a joyful and humbling experience! The Solemnity was rich with graces and at the end of the day I had the opportunity to participate in the festivities at recreation—although from a distance. I sat with our dear Lord in the dimly lit Choir and listened to the angelic voices that came from down the hall in the Chapter Room. Listening to the sweet sound of sisterhood brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart!
To finish off this time of quiet preparation I decided to pray the Stations of the Cross as an offering of thanksgiving for each of my sisters and their many prayers that made our retreat so fruitful and peaceful. When I reached the last Station, I looked at the wooden cross with the anchor etched onto it. I felt something within me that made me want to stay a bit longer at this Station. I looked at that anchor intently; a sense of hope and peace washed over me. Little did I know this anchor was destined to become my Poor Clare mark! Definitely a nudge from the Holy Spirit!
The next day was the big day. My family arrived from
the previous evening. We were thankful for clear skies and clear
roads because they made the trip by car!
Later they told me they were exhausted from the drive but were very
eager for the morning to come so they could see me in our bridal gowns; the
first one being, of course, the traditional “fine garments of the world”, and
the second being the lowly garments of a true Bride of Christ. The first dress was a beautiful rose lace
treasure brought over from Florida ,
complimented with my Mom’s heart shaped miraculous medal. Eindhoven
So now I’m sure you are wondering how Mother chose St. Faustina to be our patron. Mother of course knew of my growing devotion to St. Faustina which began during Holy Week of 2016, months before I entered. I entered in August that year and made the consecration to Merciful Love two months later on October 5, the feast of St. Faustina, which was very providential because I had other dates in mind; one of them being on St. Therese’s feast day. Many graces followed and I grew in my love for our Lord of Mercy. St. Faustina became like a sister to me, I could speak to her so easily. Mother Abbess told us during recreation after the Investiture that she had noticed me standing for a long time before a picture of her that we had out in the Narthex on the evening of April 23, 2017, Divine Mercy Sunday, which was surprisingly and providentially the same date of the first Divine Mercy Sunday inaugurated by Pope St. John Paul II! That was when she knew something special was going on.
Having said all that, and looking back on all the occasions God showed his mercy to me throughout my discernment, I realize how blessed I am to have St. Faustina as my friend and guide on this journey called life! So that is how it all came to be! Praise God! I am still humming that gentle song of thanksgiving for all His mercies especially for placing me in the hands of such an amazing family.
Before I close, I said I would expound upon Mother’s New Years Eve Chapter conference. She gave a beautiful exhortation which gave me hope for this New Year as a Poor Clare Novice. One thing that really spoke to me was the words I shared at the beginning of this letter: “say yes to all the Lord asks of us”. This made me think of all the ways the Lord may ask us to adore and glorify his Mercy in each loving encounter with our sisters and the needs of the world.
I also remembered the words our Lord spoke to St. Faustina: “These Rays of mercy will pass through you, just as they have passed through this Host, and they will go out through the entire world.” After reading this I was filled with joy as I pondered the beauty of our Poor Clare vocation; our Holy Mother St. Clare desired this for all her daughters, that through our continuous life of prayer and sacrifice, although lived behind the walls of the enclosure, the endless mercy and love of Christ may spread throughout the entire world. Outstanding is our vocation! May the Holy Spirit make this great work of mercy blossom in our souls this year and may our Blessed Mother Mary teach us always to sing her great hymn of praise and thanksgiving for all the mercy the Lord has shown us.
Lovingly in Christ, Sister Mary Faustina of Merciful Love