entrance day

Today is September 8th, the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It's also a day that many of our Sisters received the habit and made profession. Last year on this day we opened our Congregation Novitiate and I entered said Novitiate for the beginning of my canonical year (which ends tonight at midnight!). This morning we gathered for morning prayer in the house to mark the entrance of Dorothy into the Congregation Novitiate and the beginning of her canonical year.

We read from a letter our founder Margaret Anna Cusack wrote to the Congregation in 1885 (and it reads just like it was written to us!) ...

My dearest Children,

One day you will all know my heart and understand how it is that I scarcely cease to think of you, yes, of each one of you & wonder what you are doing at that moment and how you are doing it, and are you trying to be saints!

Never will you know the heart of a Spiritual Mother - you may think because I am not with you that I do not think of you, or that I do not think of each one of you - but I do – of those I have lately known quite as often as of those I have long known.

-General Letter to the Congregation, April, 1885

And shared our hopes and dreams for the coming year, and especially for Dorothy, in prayer:

We gather this morning as community to mark Dorothy’s entrance into the Congregation Novitiate, which was opened one year ago today. Each of us has been called here to this formation community by the vision we share, and by our desire to grow together in Christ and our CSJP way of life. We pray that our hearts and minds are open to receive the gifts of this year and of each other. May the Spirit of God abide and lead each of us to an integrity of life expressive of the wholeness of peace. Amen.
And so the adventure continues ...


Joan said...

Happy anniversary! :)

I'm a longtime reader, and I'm curious what "receiving the habit" means for a community like yours that doesn't wear what most lay people would think of as a habit...special robes, veil, etc. Is the "habit" more spiritual, or is it something small like a piece of jewelry? Or are there special clothes that you wear on certain occasions?

Susan Rose, CSJP said...


Thanks for the comment! I always love to "meet" folks who read the blog - it gives me a better idea of who I'm talking to.

Prior to Vatican II, like all women religious our Sisters wore a habit with a veil. Today, we wear simple dress and our community Peace Cross as the symbol of our community. Professed Sisters also wear a silver ring. A few of our elderly Sisters still choose to wear a more traditional veil and habit like outfit.

Most of our Sisters entered prior to Vatican II, so they remember when they "received the habit" - when they became novices. Today we talk about "reception as a novice," which is when you receive the title Sister and the initials CSJP after your name, as well as the Peace Cross.

Hope that explains some of the lingo!

Lily said...

Oh how wonderful!! It is great to see more and more interest in the religious life, as is evident in your community by a growing novitiate!!

I am so glad that this is happening all over, there are so many wonderful orders out their that it would be a crime is=f they ceased to exist.

Susan Rose, CSJP said...

I agree Lily, it is wonderful! We've having a mini-vocation boom. Three novices, one candidate, one soon to be candidate and one soon to be pre-candidate. God still thinks religious life has validity I think, and it is wonderful that women (and men) are listening to those persistent voices!!

As for our community, the world certainly needs people working for peace through justice!