St Clare of Assisi

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Solemn Profession - Sr. Claire Helene

Sr. Claire Hélène in our internal chapel
One of our sisters, sr. Claire Hélène, took her final vows on 05th August 2011. Solemn mass was celebrated in our chapel in St. Julians followed by a small reception for family members and friends in our garden. We thank all who were present for the celebration most especially His Grace Archbishop Paul Cremona OP who led mass. We thought of sharing the Archbishop's homily on the occasion as we feel that it would benefit all who wish to grow in their relationship with the Lord.

Archbishop Paul Cremona spoke about how God created us in His image and His wish is that His image in us reaches perfection. There are two things we can do in order for this to happen. The first is to create space within us as God can only fill an empty space. He gave the example, that if we allow 5 mins of prayer in our life, God will be able to fill that space but if our lives are full of other things and we leave no space for God than God cannot fill us as we allow Him no option. The other thing we should do is to accept the gift of God's love. There is no other way we can become His image unless we allow Him to fill us with His love.

Solemn profession in religious life is the greatest radicality in the Church as a way to put the above into action. It is the greatest space imaginable that a person can offer to God. Archbishop Cremona made reference to the reading of the day  “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Anchor a door of hope......" taken from the second chapter Hosea and explained how solemn profession means that if a person is offering an open space in all her life, then that person will be totally His (of God).

Archbishop Cremona then moved on to explain the three evangelical votes which sr. Claire Hélène was taking namely Poverty, Chastity and Obedience. Jesus came to earth in a specific way:  celibate, poor and obedient to the Father. Each of these three votes creates a space which God will fill as follows:  the space created by chastity will be filled with God's love, the space created by poverty will be filled with spiritual richness and that of obedience will be filled with God's will, being that which God wishes sr. Claire Hélène to accomplish.

Another vote specific for contemplative life is that of living in cloister. The cloister offers the opportunity to the person taking the vote, to be free and empty from all the alienations of the world so that attention can be focused all on God. Making reference to the Gospel according to John chapter 17, Archbishop Cremona explained how Jesus said that the empty space inside us is to be filled with God's Word. Thus the first mystery that a consecrated person is to be filled with is that of the Incarnation of Jesus. He further explained how Jesus invites us to be one like the mystery of the Holy Trinity which is 'communion'. Thus a consecrated person is to live this in the community so that the world believes that as Jesus said "... you have sent me". "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me...." Jn 17:20-23

The consecrated person is also to be filled with a love and thirst for souls, just like Jesus was, and believe that a person who is given the gift of prayer, is gifted with a value which will give fulfillment and all the spirit necessary to be there. Hence the importance of the quality of prayer, so that those who come in contact with the person can see it. “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world." Jn 17:24 The Archbishop explained that, this is the escatological dimension which means that here (this world) is only the passage. Its true glory, which at the time being we are foretasting, is what we will enjoy in God the Father in the future when we become all in all.

Referring to the Gospel (vs 17), Archbishop Cremona concluded his thoughts as follows: "I pray for those who hear your Word and follow it".

Hos 2:16,21-22;    Salm 33;    Fil.2:1-11;    John 17:20-26

To the Archbishop's thoughts we wish to add a little prayer by St. Nicholas of Flüe: My Lord and my God, take from me everything that distances me from you. My Lord and my God, give me everything that brings me closer to you. My Lord and My God, detach me from myself and give my all to you.

Sr. Claire Hélène now forms part of our community at 'Nazaret', Triq Santa Dminka, Rabat in Gozo. For those of you who would be interested to join our sisters for prayers you are welcome to do so at the following times:

Lauds / Morning Prayers:          7:00am
Mass                                          7:30am

Vespers / Evening Prayers:        5:00pm
Silent Adoration                          5:30pm - 6:30pm

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