The liturgy — and celebration afterward — for the six women who professed final vows as Sisters of Life Aug. 6 truly lived up to the order’s name.
The nearly three-hour-liturgy in a tightly-packed Basilica of St. John the Evangelist in Stamford, Connecticut, was filled with friends, relatives, sisters from other religious orders, people who have volunteered with the sisters and many women who have been helped by them with their babies or young children in tow.
“You have been called to special heroic work in a world that has lost its soul,” Auxiliary Bishop John J. O’Hara of New York told the sisters in his homily, adding that in their pro-life ministry they would bring life where there is death, joy where there is sorrow and love where there is hate.
That love, joy and life was on full display Aug. 6. It was clear these women loved God, the work they felt called to and each other. After the six women professed vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and to protect and enhance the sanctity of human life, they were hugged by each member of their order. Then after Mass, the hugging (and picture taking) continued from those who came from near and far to witness this occasion.
The liturgy included special recognition of the parents of these new sisters who joined their daughters in the offertory procession. It also paid tribute to the order’s founder, the late Cardinal John J. O’Connor of New York. His chalice was used in the Mass and his sister was in the congregation.
The order’s superior general, Mother Agnes Donovan, spoke at the end of the of liturgy and specifically thanked everyone who had played a role in making the day special. She also thanked the six new sisters for their “faithfulness to grace.”
“Your bless us with your lives,” she added.
She then invited the entire congregation to join them for a celebration at their nearby retreat center where they fed, visited and took more pictures with hundreds of guests.
The ongoing celebration under white tents on the grounds of the Villa Maria Guadalupe Retreat Center seemed a fitting way to close the day.
As Bishop O’Hara said in his closing remarks: “After a lot of prayer, there needs to be a good party.”