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 | Sister Mary Elizabeth, SMMC

Two Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church, Celebrate Golden Jubilee

On Sept. 12, 2019, when the Church celebrates the Holy Name of Mary, Mother Kathryn Joseph and Sister Mary Elizabeth of the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church, celebrated their Golden Jubilee of religious profession at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes. The opening prayer of the Mass expressed why the evening was filled with joy and solemnity as the Church rejoiced over the “gift” these two sisters first received from God.

Gratitude filled the celebration. The Jubilarians rejoiced to their God for having been called to religious life. They expressed gratitude for their parents and families for having handed on and nurtured the gift of faith. Gratitude flowed to the religious who served as their teachers during the Jubilarians' years in Catholic schools. More recently, it is with gratitude that the Jubilarians recognized the gift of so many of the faithful and the local clergy who prayed for and supported them to be able to live out the last 12 years of their religious lives as Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church, serving in the Diocese of Spokane. The Jubilee Mass was a special opportunity for the Jubilarians to be surrounded by family members, friends, and benefactors and to thank them personally for their love and encouragement along the journey of 50 years of religious life.

At every Mass, a little of the veil separating heaven and earth is pulled back. Mystery and great beauty permeate the celebration of a Mass for the Jubilee of Religious Profession. The professed religious sister is established in a special nuptial relationship with Jesus by her vows, which foretell and foreshadow the reality that all of the faithful are destined to enjoy nuptial union with God in heaven. Religious profession is an eschatological sign and a powerful reminder of the truth that we are called to the wedding feast of the lamb. (Rev 19:9) It is a reminder to the Jubilarians that after 50 years of religious profession, an eternal celebration is yet to come!

In the prayer after Communion, Bishop Daly prayed: “God of love, in this joyful anniversary celebration, You have fed us with the Body and Blood of Your Son. Refreshed by heavenly food and drink, may our sisters ... advance happily on that journey, which began in You and leads to You.”

May it be so, and may we all continue with confidence and love on the journey along the narrow way that directs all of us to participation in the eternal wedding of heaven.