Monday, March 26, 2012

Feast of the Annunciation and the Renewal of Vows for the Daughters of Charity

Luke 1:35, 37-38
The angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you… For nothing is impossible with God.”  Mary said, “I am the servant of the Lord.  Let it be done to me as you say.”  With that the angel left her.

Today all around the globe, Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul will renew their annual vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and service of those living in poverty.  The vows are simple and private.  In the context of a Eucharistic celebration, the Daughters will kneel after the homily and silently renew their vows.  The vows are with the intention of forever even though they are for one year.
I was reading our "Common Rules"--our rules from the beginning.  It begins, "The principal end for which God has called and established the Daughters of Charity, is to honor our Lord Jesus Christ as the source and model of all charity; serving Him corporally and spiritually in the persons of the poor, whether sick, children, prisioners, or others who, through shame, dare not make known their wants."
This remains our principal end no matter if we are in Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Columbia South America, Eritrea, Bethlehem, Taiwan, France, Poland, Kenya or any of the 93 countries that we call home. Being an advocate for the marginalized and invisible people of society is not always easy--people often don't "get it."  It is amazing how small our world view can be even with technology making information so available.  Nothing can replace our experience and if our experiences are narrow our view can be also.
I am grateful to be part of an international community.  I hear about the impact of the tsunami in Japan from those seeking to help.  I hear how our Sisters in Mexico experience the challenges of being safe in the midst of the drug wars just like the rest of the population.  I have been able to rejoice to hear how a trafficked woman was able to get back to her homeland with the help of our Sisters.  I have been blessed to visit other countries and see the impact of our actions or inaction here in the U.S.
Being vowed as a Daughter of Charity bonds me to over 17,000 other women of faith who have consecrated themselves to Christ in service as women of the Church.  I believe that as women of prayer--women who not only pray but pray regularly together--God will use us to face many types of misery that remain hidden from general view.
As I prepare to renew my vows later today, I pray that my local community may live closely united in prayer as our founders challenged us to live the example of the Blessed Trinity.  May we continue to seek ways to live a simple lifestyle in the midst of a consumeristic society.  May we spread and nurture seeds of faith, hope and love in the midst of so many weeds.  May I live the gift of faith and compassion which I have received to its fullest.  May I  find Christ in each person I meet, especially those who act hateful.  May I see their woundedness and reach out in faith in Jesus' name.

Check out Sr. Honora's reflection on the Annunciation at Catholics on Call:

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