Monastic Profession at the Grotto of the Lady Mary (Milk Grotto)

On Sunday, February 2nd, Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple and the World Day for Consecrated Life, Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custos of the Holy Land, blessed the profession of two Sisters of the Order of Perpetual Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament.

The Sisters, whose monastery is located in a convent next to the Franciscan sanctuary of the “Grotto of the Lady Mary” (Milk Grotto) in Bethlehem, pronounced their vows before a large gathering present for the event.
In his homily, Fr. Pizzaballa invited all to meditate on the “consolation” experienced by Simeon, a consolation which only God could give. He remembered also the radical choice of the Sisters and the disposition of the hearts of Simeon and Anna, ready to let themselves be surprised by the Lord. Although the Custos directed his words especially to the Sisters who listened with great attention, the entire assembly was able to receive the beautiful teaching and to welcome the peace which God gives to those who recognize him in the littlest of things.

Sister Maria Rachele making her simple profession, originally from the Philippines, following her presentation by the Superior of the Order, was called by the Custos who questioned her about her desire and her choice to follow Christ in monastic life, in observance of the vows of obedience, poverty and chastity.
Having answered the questions with a joyous and strong “Yes, I want to,” the Sister, in the presence of the Mother Prioress, seated in the choir, read the text of her profession and sang the Suscipe (Receive), a prayer in the monastic tradition which is an appeal to the Lord: “Receive me, Lord, according to your word and I will live.”

The novice, clothed in white, following her profession, received the red scapular characteristic of the Order, the belt and white veil signifying temporary profession.

Sister Catherine, originally from France, made her solemn profession, committing herself forever before God and men. Questioned with almost the same words and following the singing of the Litany of the Saints, Sister Catherine pronounced her perpetual vows and was filled with a serene joy. When she removed her white veil, the Custode cut several locks of hair, a gesture underlining renunciation of the world. She then received the black veil signifying perpetual profession, the ring, sign of her covenant with Christ, the habit of the choir and the book of the Office. In the end, she was crowned with a crown of thorns and flowers, it too symbolizing her union with Christ.

The ceremony continued with the Eucharist, action of grace par excellence, and at the conclusion, the Sisters received the congratulations of all gathered.

The Sisters of the Order of Perpetual Adorers of the Blessed Sacrament, as their name indicates, guarantee a continual adoration before the Most Blessed Sacrament in one of the three chapels of the Sanctuary of the Milk Grotto. Their presence from 2007 has renewed this sanctuary of the Custody, a sanctuary dear to those who live in this city. Based on the example of the Franciscans and of the daily procession at the Grotto of the Nativity, the sisters wished to hold a daily procession at the Milk Grotto, Sanctuary of the Holy Family. The procession takes place every day at 3:30.

The Custos presented his best wishes to the newly professed and to the entire community, thanking them for their witness which vivifies the Church in the Holy Land.

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