Who is there? Multiple guests. Some are strangers to the community and others are well known. But for all of us who were knocking at the door, we have heard a call and we decided to answer. Our calls are different. God has given us diverse gifts and God wants us to use them for the need of Her people…
This weekend, at St. Benedict’s Monastery at Bristow, Virginia, we had three big celebrations. On Saturday morning, one of the sisters made her final profession. On Sunday morning, another sister renewed her profession, and during evening prayer, we had a woman entering as a postulate and another one as a novitiate. What beautiful ceremonies!
The Sunday evening prayer started at the gathering place, where members of the community stood and waited for the postulate to knock on the door. S. Cecilia, the prioress, opened the door for her and asked that she introduces her guests and responds to the question of what it is the postulate was seeking. The same question was asked of the novitiate. Both women were welcome into the community. What a wonderful community these women were entering into!
On Saturday, I was fortunate enough to experience the love, the compassion, and the respect that the sisters have for each other, for their friends, and their guests. As S. Mary was making her final vows, God’s presence was truly felt. This is certainly true when I saw S. Mary kneeling with her arms open and each sister was going one-by-one to offer her blessings and a kiss. Tears were rolling down my face when I saw S. Mary got up to kneel in front of the fours sisters who were unable to walk down the aisle to ask them for their blessings. One could clearly see the wisdom, the care, and the respect that the sisters have for each other. Their relationship with one another (and their guests) is undeniably an example of what Christ asks of us when he asks us to welcome all people as we would have welcome him (Matt 25:35). I am very fortunate to call myself a member of this community for at least a year.
As for me, the hospitality in which I have been embraced is immeasurable. Although it can be hard to be the “new one,” I already feel at home here. All of the sisters have taken me under their wings. Slowly, but surely, I am learning my way around. Since a sophomore at St. Ben’s, I felt a call to serve with the Benedictine sisters upon graduation. I chose to answer that call and it led me to serve at the BARN, BEACON, and living in community with the sisters at Bristow, Virginia. I hope that through the sharing of my gifts and my presence, I will be a host of hospitality (and all that it encompasses) to those around me.
Until next time,