On Saturday, July 7th, it will be my privilege to celebrate the Mass at Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Hanceville, Alabama. Our own Stacy Graham, who until eight years ago was a member of our parish, is now Sr. Elizabeth Marie of Our Lady of the Atonement, and she is now ready to make her Solemn Profession. Her vows bind her to Almighty God as a Poor Clare Nun of Perpetual Adoration.
For these past years I have travelled annually to celebrate Mass with the nuns there, and it has developed into a tradition now. We offer the Mass according to the Anglican Use liturgy. The nuns prepare everything carefully, right down to using Anglican chant for the psalm. It’s always wonderful to be there, and now it’s like going to the home of friends. Of course, this year will be a little different, a little more serious. Other visits were for the annual renewal of vows. This year it’s final. It’s forever. In fact, it’s put this way in the letter Sr. Elizabeth Marie sent out recently:
“Solemn Profession is at one and the same time both an ending and a beginning. The eight years of discernment have passed, the commitment has been made, and the definitive choice has been sealed. And so in this way it is an ending of sorts. But it is also a beginning. In scaling the mountain of holiness, the highest peak is not reached until we gaze upon His Holy Face in the eternal embrace of Heaven. The religious life is a mirror, a prelude, and a preparation for the eternal adoration of God in His Kingdom. Solemn Profession marks a definite beginning in scaling this great mountain.”
So remember Sister Elizabeth Marie of Our Lady of the Atonement in your prayers, and also the other sisters there and throughout the world. These holy women are front-line prayer warriors and quiet members of Christ’s Body, cloistered within His Sacred Heart.