Archdiocesan Formation Mass and Meeting

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Today was the Archdiocese of Newark’s Mass for Those in Formation in preparation for the Year of Consecrated Life (Nov 30, 2014- Feb 2, 2016). As the only cloistered monastery in the Archdiocese, the Mass and meeting that followed were held in our Chapel and lecture hall so that our sisters in formation would be able to attend.

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At 9am Fr. Gabriel Mary of the Community of St. John said Mass with a lovely homily on the fecundity of consecrated life. Our sisters participated from inside our choir, but were given permission to go into the outside Chapel and Lecture Hall for the second half of the event. There was a photographer present from New Jersey Catholic the Archdiocese’s magazine. In an upcoming issue there will be a picture of all those in formation in the Archdiocese, taken at this event.

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About 15 men and women in formation attended the event, along with their formators. There were an equal number unable to attend. Besides our community, other institutes that participated were the Community of St John (both the male and female branch), the Salesians, Missionaries of Charity (a contemplative house), Caritas Sisters of Miyazaki, Korea, and the Benedictines from the Abbey of St Walburga.

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After the photo shoot everyone headed down to St. Dominic’s Hall to get to know one another a little before their meeting. Fr. Gabriel Mary gave a talk on the letter Rejoice! A Letter to Consecrated Men and Women and then there was a period for question & answer. The participants were asked about their experiences: what attracted them to their institute, what are you thankful for in formation, what gifts do they bring to the Church by being in their community? The participants shared their vocation stories and the charisms of their particular institutes.

 

Solemnity of Our Lady of the Rosary brings a New Postulant!

The Solemnity of Our Lady of the Rosary is always a special day for our community as it is the patronal feast of our Monastery, but this year it was extra special with the entrance of a new postulant! This afternoon Sr. Emily Ruzicka, 23, entered the enclosure to begin her postulancy.

DSC_5516Sr. Emily is from Newtown, Pennsylvania in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. She graduated from La Salle University with a BS in nutrition and is a registered dietitian. Sister’s parents, sister Katie with her husband Ryan and twins CJ and Kalynn, friends, grandparents, aunt and High School chaplain Fr. Chris Walsh attended the brief entrance ceremony and visited with the sisters in the parlor afterwards.

Below is a gallery of pictures from the event. If you didn’t know already, nuns love babies (who are thankfully too young [and too cute] to be bound by the rules of enclosure) and CJ and Kalynn were happy to be held and fussed over as their aunt introduced her family and friends to the community, and the community to her family and friends!

Please keep Sr. Emily in your prayers as she begins her postulancy, as well as the other young women who are preparing for their entrances.

GOING LOCAL WITH HOLINESS

Aug2-2011 005In recent years it is has become popular to “go local” purchasing produce, eggs, etc. from local farmers. Beginning this year, we nuns also have gone local, purchasing the produce we don’t grow from area farms through a new (local) business called “Just Farmed”.

With Saturday’s beatification of Bayonne native Bl. Miriam Teresa I found as we watched the Rite of Beatification on television (seeing more than our extern sisters who were there but couldn’t see much of anything!) about the significance of having our first truly local saint. Not just someone from North America or the United States or even from the East Coast, but someone the Church has raised up to the altars as worthy to be imitated in the way of living the Gospel and becoming a saint who is from RIGHT HERE—New Jersey. Not New York but NEW JERSEY! Finally, one of our own!

As a (very) young novice of an active religious congregation I first got to know Bl. Miriam Teresa through her writings and the biography by Sr. Mary Zita Geis, SC. At the time she was only a servant of God like so many other holy people held up for veneration and possible future canonization. It was much like hearing from the older sisters of our saintly forebears in the community.

But when I entered the Monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary here in Summit, NJ it was different. The sisters here had a long relationship with the Sisters of Charity both communally and personally. Sisters had been taught in their schools or even taught for them. Others had attended St. Elizabeth’s college in Convent Station as Bl. Miriam Teresa had. My own novice mistress had been in the juniorate program and even started out her religious life as a postulant with the Sisters of Charity. As a community we have been blessed with their friendship and service in many ways: philosophy classes, counselors, and volunteer drivers, to name a few.

Sr. Mary Zita, Sr. Eileen Dolan and Sr. Marian Jose Smith, all Sisters who actively worked to promote Bl. Miriam Teresa’s cause weren’t just names but friends of Sisters in my community. Convent Station wasn’t in a state far away but a mere 8 miles from the monastery and it wasn’t unusual to pass the Sisters of Charity and chapel where Bl. Miriam Teresa is buried on the way to a doctor’s appointment. Our own saint-in-the making was as much a part of our lives as well, old shoes!

I still have powerful memories of watching on TV the canonization of our first native born American saint, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in 1974. Over the years the Church has held up for our veneration and imitation others from our continent and country and as Dominicans we continue to rejoice at the beatification and canonizations of brothers and sisters of our own Order.

So, it was a bit of surprise for me when participating in the Beatification Rite held at Sacred Heart Basilica in Newark when I began to reflect on the special importance of having a local beata, much like the towns and cities have in Europe. In fact, Pope Benedict XVI wanted to “bring home” this very aspect of beatification when he decided that the beatification rite should no longer take place at St. Peter’s in Rome but in the locale of the new beata. Watching the beatification in our own cathedral and seeing the faces of so many bishops, priests, religious and laity people that we know further confirmed this for me.

It doesn’t really matter if one has or has not a devotion to Bl. Miriam Teresa. That’s not the point of being declared a blessed or canonized a saint. With the beatification of Bl. Miriam Teresa the Church is saying, “You, too, right there in Summit, New Jersey on Springfield Avenue is called by God to become holy! You, too, can become a saint, right there, here and now. God gives the grace of holiness to every person and in every place. “

Even in New Jersey!

Blessed Miriam Teresa pray for us your sisters, friends and neighbors!