The Sisters opened some of their most sacred spaces and ceremonies in their convent in Ann Arbor, MI to Oprah producers who featured thirteen Sisters as they made their final vows.What was refreshingly obvious throughout this feature was that these women do not enter the convent as a rejection of sex, society, or even necessarily material things. Instead, theirs is an extravagant acceptance of something inexplicably more beautiful and holy. It is real feminism at its best and true spiritual motherhood, as several preteen girls were shown on the episode tearfully anticipating their own opportunities to give the entirety of their lives to Christ in the same complete, free way.
NASHVILLE, TN (Catholic Online) - What is love? Marriage? To whom can I give who I am? In their second appearance on Oprah this year, our Dominican Sisters of Mary witnessed the answers to the world today in the most direct, glorious terms.
With a deliberate vulnerability and purpose that brought tears to my eyes, the Sisters opened some of their most sacred spaces and ceremonies in their convent in Ann Arbor, MI to Oprah producers who featured thirteen Sisters as they made their final vows. This day is known as their wedding day - the death of the old life and the beginning of the new.
Brides of Christ
Processing down the aisle in their new black veils, angelic voices swirled around them, lifting them up, carrying them along: "Oh God beyond all praising, we worship you today, and sing the love amazing that songs cannot repay..."
What was refreshingly obvious throughout this feature was that these women do not enter the convent as a rejection of sex, society, or even necessarily material things. Instead, theirs is an extravagant acceptance of something inexplicably more beautiful and holy.
It is real feminism at its best, and true spiritual motherhood, as several preteen girls were shown on the episode tearfully anticipating their own opportunities to give the entirety of their lives to Christ in the same complete, free way.
What is it about these Sisters that grips me so? I almost feel as though I have adopted them, or they me, in some unfathomable spiritual way. To be frank, it can only be Jesus. True to their vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, there is "nothing outward that would recommend [them]," as the Scriptures say of their Bridegroom, Christ.
Instead of glittering jewelry, the latest handbag, fresh highlights or flawless makeup, we are gripped by a radiance, a freshness, a truth in their faces, in their sincerity and expressions. It becomes gloriously evident that their vows, and the simplicity that accompanies them, make the way straight for Jesus to radiate from the nuns, uninhibited. We encounter Jesus in them, and we are stunned by the potency.
Not in any way silly or "girly," these are serious, educated women entering wondrously into the covenant, the sacrament of marriage, with Jesus who died for them. They give up everything, and yet they seem to have gained the whole world.
What kind of love is this? The Sisters show us, it is the most intimate relationship possible, the song of songs. It is a "love as strong as death" between God the Lover, and His beloved soul (Song 8:6). They teach us that marriage is much more than skin on skin, it is the "becoming one" of two, and according to St. Paul, more a spiritual mystery than a physical fact (Eph. 5:22-32).
As though having discovered something so glorious they are tempted to be secretive, their spirit and demeanor inexorably draw us into the truth and beckon us over for a peek: we are all married to Jesus Christ, united to Him, body and blood through Baptism and the Eucharist. Although the Sisters are free to pursue God more fully, our own marriages also image the mysterious intimacy of the Trinity.
The Scriptures, the mystic Saints, and the Church have always maintained that the marriage relationship is illustrative of God's relationship to His people. The goal, Jesus said, is the two, you and God, becoming one: "And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect . . . " (Jn. 17:22-23). This spiritual intimacy is what perfects, completes, and consummates us. It is the loveliest song.
Often experiencing ridicule, sometimes even within their own families, religious brothers and sisters risk a fearful vulnerability in the effort to find God in this world of cynics and scoffers. But they tell us they can do nothing else, for they have heard the Lover sing to them the loveliest of songs.
Whatever one's opinion about Oprah, one can only feel thankful to her for inviting our precious Sisters to share both their Husband and their feminine genius with the world, for their lives challenge us, dare us, to lay every string of our existence under the magnificent hand of God, willing to be strummed to a consummation of spirit and love, each of us alone with God, yet all quivering with the same eternal Song that reverberates throughout a world in need of its meaning in Him.
Sonja Corbitt is a Catholic Scripture teacher, study author and speaker, and a contributing writer for Catholic Online. Visit her at www.pursuingthesummit.com.
St. Joseph the Worker
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Using blunt language, the head of the Vatican's doctrinal office Cardinal Gerhard MÃ¼ller rebuked officers of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, or LCWR for honoring a Catholic theologian judged "seriously inadequate" and for promoting ideas he ... continue reading
By Jennifer Murphy, Communications Specialist, Sisters of Bon Secours
The Sisters of Bon Secours, an international religious congregation of Catholic sisters based in Marriottsville, Md., announce the launch of a unique website, www.LifeAsASister.org. 'Imagine a Sister's Life' allows single Catholic women to imagine what it's like ... continue reading
By (CNA/EWTN News)
A spiritual focus on generous service and community is the key to success for the Trappist monks, not only in their business ventures but in all of their pursuits, said a businessman closely acquainted with the order. WASHINGTON D.C., February 26 (CNA/EWTN News) - ... continue reading
By Archbishop José H. Gomez
Every priest is a sacrament - a sign and instrument that brings men and women to the encounter with the living God. So in this Year of Faith, we need to refocus ourselves, especially in our families, on helping men to hear this beautiful and noble calling from Jesus. ... continue reading
By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)
He is a growing personality in the Catholic world and represents a new movement to engage the youth and reconvert the lost. Is he the Pope? A new bishop? A pop star? Well, he's not any of these things - yet. However, Fr. Pontifex, may eventually be all three, God ... continue reading
By Jennifer Murphy, Communications Associate
The Sisters of Bon Secours, an international community of Catholic women religious (sisters) with ministries in healthcare, human and social services, education and spiritual retreats, is welcoming volunteers to participate in Project Good HelpÂ®. This annual ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith Fournier
They seek to bring healing to a wounded Irish Church. I believe they are a first fruit of her restoration and a sign of her future contribution in a new missionary age. God has not abandoned the Church in Ireland. The Purification of the Church always precedes her ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith Fournier
Dom Mark Daniel Kirby, and the brothers gathered with him, represent the best of the monastic life. They are moving their entire community to Ireland, a land which once gave the world monks, missionaries, and martyrs. They are doing so in order to help bring ... continue reading
By Knights of the Holy Eucharist
Young men 18 and older interested in our community are welcome to visit for up to two weeks. This way they can participate in our work and prayer and make a pilgrimage to this Shrine.Knights of the Holy Eucharist Announce Facebook Page HANCEVILLE, AL (Knights of ... continue reading
By Deacon Keith Fournier
New Melleray is a Cistercian (Trappist) monastery located in the beautiful rolling farmland south of Dubuque, Iowa. Thirty monks live in community - praying and working for the salvation of the whole world. Crafting childrens caskets is an act of love and a ... continue reading