Above pictured is a glowing Postulant Casey. Not only the sun shines upon her, but an inner joy animates her face these days as she anticipates her Clothing Day on June 29th, feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. This Friday, Mother Abbess solemnly announced before the gathered Sisters in Chapter the "Glad Tidings" of her reception and the appointing of her day of investiture in the Holy Habit. Below is the text of Mother's exhortation.
Glad Tidings Chapter for Casey- Easter Friday, 2018
Dear Casey, today is the Octave day of the Death of our Savior and we are already looking ahead to the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul. That seems to be a pattern of our contemplative life: we are deeply rooted in the present moment, in God’s loving will for us, yet looking with great hope to that which is to come, ultimately the vision of God for all eternity.
June 29th is not far off, as you know how quickly monastic time passes, and so we are all joined with you in preparation and anticipation of your investiture on that great solemnity.
Today is the octave day of the Crucifixion, and so we look back to the Cross of Christ, for it is the Altar upon which our Savior was offered to the Father for our salvation. The Cross therefore, has become a very precious sign of our redemption and the love of Christ Jesus for us. Both St. Peter and St. Paul knew this, each learning it through their own unique experiences of the Lord’s love for them, but once they understood, they gave their entire lives to Christ in return.
I think this is also what has happened to you. You have gazed upon Christ on His Cross, you have seen His Heart pierced open wide for you, you have tasted how good the Lord is and you want now to love Him in return for His love, to give your life, to follow Him.
Father Francis mentioned in his homily on Good Friday that it is only when we understand that Christ suffered for us (for me) are our lives wholly changed. Both Sts. Peter and Paul experienced this, as did our own Seraphic parents, Francis and Clare. Each one came to know and believe that “Christ loved me and gave Himself for me!” This became the power, the impulse of love within them which made it possible for them to give everything back to God.
And here we are, in the Octave of the Resurrection of the Lord, and you have heard the Glad Tidings of your coming investiture and I think you can see this as a sign of Christ’s choice of you. In these days of His Resurrection, Christ appeared and revealed
Himself to His beloved friends and disciples, to confirm, strengthen and encourage them; also to call them to a more intense form of following Him. Did He not say to St. Peter: “Do you love Me?” And was this not an invitation to love Him more and begin anew to lay down his life for Christ? “Feed My lambs, Feed My sheep.”
Christ has a special mission of love for you as well, and perhaps your new name and title and mark will give you some insight into what that mission is. We do know that as a Poor Clare novice, you will be entrusted with greater responsibility for the needs of the world, as you prepare to pronounce your vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and enclosure. You become a full member of our Order and take part more fully in our life. It is a time also of being drawn nearer to the Heart of Christ Who has called you and desires you for Himself.
Your entrance into the Novitiate is a step toward that day of espousals, which you surely already desire with all your heart. The habit, which you will soon wear, is symbolic of that personal covenant of love with the Bridegroom and is a continual reminder of your belonging to God. This will be a time to intensely prepare your heart and allow the Lord’s transforming grace to work in you, a time to enter more deeply into a relationship with Him.
The garments that you receive on your investiture day will be the clothing you wear for the rest of your life. Each morning, you can be clothed anew when you rise and dress yourself in the holy habit. The cord, not yet knotted, is symbolic of your blessed binding to Christ, and is also a reminder to pray that you may never be separated from Him. The headband will be a daily call to keep His passion ever in mind. The habit itself, speaks of your desire to remain always in His holy House as a true religious. How fitting that we kiss each garment before putting it on, as the habit is truly precious and sacred to us, and we want to be forever grateful and more so each day for the grace to be clothed in the holy habit of our Mother St. Clare.