By Susanna Bolle
Tomorrow marks a beautiful day. August 22 is the day the Church celebrates the Queenship of Mary. This heart of mine will also be celebrating the day of my dear friend’s first profession of vows with the Sisters of Life in New York. As Jesus’ bride, she will make her loving and solemn promise to embrace poverty, chastity, and obedience as well as a more specific vow of this religious community—to protect and enhance the sacredness of human life.
Over the years, I received the gift of witnessing this friend’s ever growing call to not only accept Jesus’ proposal, but to joyously respond with her selfless and awe-inspired yes!
Early this summer, I was able to spend time with her at the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C., during the Catholic Young Women’s Leadership Given Forum. The Sisters of Life had a great role in both organizing and hosting this conference and my friend was offering her little and countless “yeses,” in order to serve all those who were participating.
Spending time with a friend whom one has not seen for several years is a great gift, however, it was not catching up with her that blessed me the most; it was seeing ever-so-tangibly, the abundance of her love. To explain, I will paint you a picture of the most moving evening of the conference.
The night began with a Eucharistic healing procession that included sisters singing praise and worship music, while a priest processed through the room holding high the monstrance enthroning our Lord. After a few minutes of Adoration, the priest again carried Jesus as we processed from the conference center to the Chapel in a cool-of-the-evening walk, where 300 lay women joined together in singing the Divine Mercy Chaplet. What was most striking about this was that throughout the 15-minute walk, nearly 100 sisters lit the way, each holding a candle. Every few yards, two sisters stood on each side of the sidewalk, spilling light onto the path and no doubt providing our hearts with a deep-set peace through the outpouring of their prayers.
The significance of this walk was in seeing each sister’s face as we walked past them. Each sister held her candle with purpose, as she patiently yet joyously awaited for her Spouse to pass by. Underneath the starry sky, this was their moment, their moment to set their loving gazes on Jesus. On their faces you could see that there was an anchor of peace in their soul. This anchor of peace is just what my dear friend described to me when she entered the convent and began falling more and more in love with the One who was leading her, and who at our request, will lead our way as well.
About the Author:
Susanna Bolle is the administrative assistant in the Office of Evangelization and Catechesis for the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis. She is a recent graduate of the Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry program with the School of Divinity at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. When she’s not reading and writing, you can find her brewing French press coffee in her kitchen, spending sunny mornings and starry evenings with friends on her porch, and reading wine labels in an effort to discover the perfect Pinot Noir. You can follow her travels at Fiat and a Lily.
What a wonderful experience for you to see your friend make her profession. The ceremony sounds lovely. I know she will feel blessed to have you there with her at this most important time.
I am spending the weekend trying to help my aunt and uncle, cousin, and her son. My cousin and I are about a year apart and we were very close growing up in MS. I left MS in my early 20’s and we have seldom been together since. She was neither a letter writer or called more than once or twice, so I reluctantly gave up on keeping in touch. When I moved back to MS in 2004, she was in DC teaching. She moved back to Oxford in 2006 and we occasionally met for coffee. In the early fall she decided to move back to Charleston to be caretaker for her parents. She built a minimalist home behind theirs. I was so looking forward to having her nearby and becoming close again.
Moving day arrived and before she could move in she had a serious stroke. The doctors determined that she had several before this and did not seek medical attention. I’m not sure the extent of her disabilities, but fear they are great. My aunt did not want me to see her in the condition she was in and summoned her son, who moved her to Houston, TX where he was living at the time. He found an Assisted Living place for her. I hear that she is somewhat improved, but will probably never be 100% again.
Lately her son changed jobs and either has or will move to Denver. He will move his mom after he gets settled and has a chance to look for a place for her. I am spending the weekend reviewing Assisted Living opportunities there in hopes of being some help. I love my cousin and would like to think that I can be of some assistance. I also see that my aunt and uncle need more human contact, so will try to step up my visits with them. Families can be- and should be- one of God’s great blessings