Monday, December 10, 2012

Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters

Sister Mary Rebecca and Sister Mary Catherine

Mount Grace Chapel in St. Louis
The Pink Sisters - that's how I came to know them. It seemed strange to me that Sisters would wear such a ... festive ... color - and the statement that they are missionary contemplatives puzzled me further. I could not resist the opportunity to talk to these Sisters and to learn about their life.

St. Arnold Jansenn founded their congregation in order to have prayer coverage and support for the active ministry of the priests and Sisters who engage in the active ministry of evangelization. He knew that all graces flow from the Eucharist, and so established this group of Sisters to pray perpetually - and to gain the necessary graces for those working for the evangelization of the world.

Mother Mary Michael established perpetual exposition - she knows women, and we like to be able to see the Person we're talking to. The Sisters in all their convents, trade off day and night, taking their place before the altar and praying really hard for all of the various gifts of the Holy Spirit the missionaries need.

The Sisters themselves are contemplative missionaries. Like St. Therese of Lisieux, they exercise their particular missionary call behind the walls of a cloistered convent.

St. Arnold dedicated them to the Holy Spirit, the motive power of every missionary, and they wear pink in his (the Holy Spirit's) honor. The Sisters said that it also symbolizes joy: one ought not be somber in the presence of the Eucharist. And their crucifix and ring contain the dove, the universal symbol of the Holy Spirit as part of the design. The active Sisters wear the same crucifix.

Their formation process looks very much like that of an active congregation. The discernment process includes an observer program of two or three weeks, where the young woman lives in the community. This helps the candidate to experience cloistered life, as modern culture and society gives almost no necessary formation for this kind of life. After the woman and community discern the likelihood of a call, the program continues with a 6-12 month aspirancy and then a 6 - 12 month postulancy. The novitiate lasts 2 - 2 1/2 years and temporary vows 5 - 6 years.

These Sisters can be transferred between convents; they do not have any vow or practice of stability. They live as missionaries, ready to go to the place where prayer is needed for the spread of the faith.

Their prayer remains their main work. They pray the entire Divine Office in common, and follow the round of private adoration throughout the day and the night. Because of their practice of perpetual adoration, which requires them to rise throughout the night, they pray the Office of Readings (Matins) in common during the day. Their spirituality focuses on the Eucharist. They return, physically and spiritually, to the tabernacle throughout the day - and they pray a small prayer every 15 minutes, to bring them back, again and again, to the Lord.

The link to their website is here.

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