How Will I Repay the Lord for His Goodness to Me? (Psalm 116:12)
This year 2019 marks the tenth anniversary of our Novitiate group professing our first religious vows on September 14, 2009. After ten years of living religious life, we wanted to present a spiritual offering to Our Lord and Our Lady in thanksgiving for all the graces received during these first ten years.
Not only the four vows we profess (poverty, chastity, obedience and slavery of Mary) but many others are the graces we receive from religious life that allow us to live close to our Lord: daily participation in the Holy Mass, daily Holy Hour of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the Liturgy of the Hours, the Rosary, assistance from the IVE Fathers, weekly Confession, Spiritual Direction, monthly retreat, yearly Spiritual Exercises, our one month Spiritual Exercises, dialogue with our Superiors , the grace to have Spiritual Reading, Lectio Divina, community time, formation, studies, apostolate, the example of the religious who have gone before us, all the different missions that the Lord entrusted to us, the grace to experience the mission in different cultures, which gives us the grace to be part of a bigger mission (the mission of the Church), and the list goes on!
With these graces in mind, a small group of us who live in the US and one Sister who came home to visit her family were able to reunite on December 6th for the Investiture of the SSVM Novices, and we prayed the rosary together in a walking pilgrimage to the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC from our Immaculate Heart of Mary Juniorate House of Studies. We passed by two chapels on the Catholic University Campus and visited the classroom where Venerable Fulton Sheen spent twenty-three years teaching and Caldwell Chapel were he would celebrate mass and visit the Blessed Sacrament during between classes. Our classmates who could not participate united spiritually by praying the rosary at the same time, in thanksgiving for all the graces received during these ten years of vows and for the intentions of our General Government and for our Religious Family. We were able end the rosary by singing the Salve Regina in Caldwell Chapel with a large statue of St. Paul, the special patron of our Novitiate Class, as our year of novitiate was the year of St. Paul.
In response to these ten years of graces, the soul can only sing, “How can I repay the Lord for His goodness to me?” and we know that the only adequate response is in the same psalm “My vows to the Lord I will fulfill.”
We ask the Lord, through His Blessed Mother and St. Paul, for the grace to faithfully live our vows and the Charism of our beloved Religious Family until death, and we promise to keep asking for this grace for all the members of our Religious Family and we commend ourselves to your prayers.
In Jesus and Mary,
Novitiate Class 08-09 USA