Today my sister made her first profession of vows as a Sister of Life! That means she is officially consecrated to God as bride of Christ. She vowed to live chastity, poverty, and obedience as well as a fourth vow of defending the sanctity of human life from conception. Although my mother and I were not able to witness the ceremony in person in Stamford Connecticut, we participated in a spiritual manner and later got a chance to speak to Sister Grace briefly. She informed us that she could not hold back the tears while speaking the words of profession– no big surprise there! Everything went well and the ceremony was followed by a reception to celebrate the momentous occasion!
It’s very fitting that the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was chosen to be the date of the profession. This special feast of Our Lady is not only for members of the religious order of Carmelite friars, sisters, and lay people who share in that particular charism, it is for all those who wish to honor our Blessed Mother and ask for her guidance, favor and protection. It’s the day that Our Lady shared her own mantle, the Brown Scapular, with the Carmelite order and through them, shared it with all of her children. Wearing this piece of blessed brown cloth symbolizes putting on the yoke of Christ and was given to us by none other than the one who first took that sweet yoke upon herself. This feast day commemorates the obedience and perfect discipleship of the Blessed Virgin towards her son, Jesus Christ. Today, my sister professed to imitate her mother in the way she was called to.
Interestingly, the word Carmel means garden of God. Mount Carmel is an area of fertile land in the Holy Land. Mary images this: she is one who received the word of the sower and accepted it with joy so that it produced a great harvest (Mt. 13:1:23)! May my sister and all the sisters who professed their vows today be blessed and bear abundant fruit that lasts unto eternity!