When professing first vows, I experienced a clear awareness. This was a small miracle which I attribute to the Blessed Virgin, because I don’t know whether I slept a wink the night before! Concerned that lack of sleep might cause my head to ache or be lost in a fog , I asked Mary for the strength I needed, and she arranged for that and more. Thanks to her, I was able to concentrate on the significance of each part of the Rite.
Why couldn’t I sleep? It wasn’t because of mental turmoil or even conscious excitement. Call it joyful anticipation. Leading up to vows, I expected to get cold feet or be assailed by doubts—it would be only natural. But, in the days leading up to vows, God showered me with wedding gifts beyond what I thought to ask for: total happiness, complete certainty, and deep peace. What blessings!
Don’t be shocked if I say that I feel dead. Every time I catch a glimpse of my black veil, I remember that its color represents mortification and death to the world. Since our vows are like a radical extension of Baptism, in which we die with Christ in order to rise again with Him, I feel like the same words that bonded me to Christ as His bride also sealed some parts of me in a coffin. Rather than finding this troubling, I hope that the coffin stays tightly sealed, and that more and more of my selfish self will die to let Christ’s life flourish within me.
This also calls for a strong sense of blind trust. I am fully aware that trials lie ahead, as they do in any commitment. And as profession approached, I thought a lot about how vows bind us to Christ through a particular community. We not only wed Christ, but—as worded in the vows themselves—we “entrust ourselves to this religious family” to live out our vocation. Some of the most obvious trials can arise from life in community; yet Jesus not only invited me to trust His choice of community for me, but to trust my Sisters to help me live this life. In choosing to say “yes,” I felt like I was taking a huge trust fall, closing my eyes and falling backwards… with all of my Sisters’ arms outstretched to catch me. That’s why I was delighted to celebrate this occasion with my Sisters most of all—and even experience their support outstretched through prayers, good wishes, and phone calls from Poland, Canada, and all of our houses in the U.S. Thank you, my Sisters!
In sum, I am overwhelmingly, undeservedly blessed. Although none of my family was able to attend, I count myself so fortunate to have their loving support. Employees and friends of Rosary Hill also spoil me with their prayers, good wishes and air hugs, for which I am so grateful. Most mind-boggling of all is the great gift of this vocation. Without God’s initiative and graces, who could ever imagine being His bride? Blessed be God, the giver of all good gifts!