Memorial of Saint Cecilia
Today in the church we remember St. Cecilia, and in my family, we are also remembering in a special way Julie, our daughter, because it’s her Feast Day as Sister Cecilia Rose! Julie joined the Sisters of Life as a postulant in 2009. She is now in her 2nd year as a novice and will take her first vows on August 6, 2012 (God-willing of course!).
Saint Cecilia died for her faith and even though Julie hasn’t physically died for her faith, she has made a huge sacrifice by joining a religious community. Those of you who are religious certainly know what you have given up. Especially in today’s world, I think it’s an amazing witness to see young men and women walk away from everything to follow Jesus. They give me great hope for our church and for our world!
Julie not only gave up having her own family, but all of us and her friends as well. She misses our weekly family dinners, watching her nieces and nephews grow up, talking to us on the phone, (this year we get to talk to her four times for one hour, so each family gets 15 minutes!). Aside from people, she has given up TV (except for an occasional movie night), being on the computer, her beautiful hair, wearing jeans, eating whatever she wants, etc, etc, etc! And of course she has to give up her own will. The result: she is filled to overflowing with joy, radiating the love of God.
She has chosen to let Jesus use her to love the world for "the the protection and enhancement of the sacredness of every human life". John Cardinal O’Connor who founded the sisters in 1991 said, "The culture of death needs Sisters of Life."
On the Sisters website (http://www.sistersoflife.org/) is this quote: "to lay down our lives that others might live." The sisters spend four to five hours/day in prayer and then reach out to others through these different apostolates.
- They welcome pregnant guests to live with them in the Holy Respite of one of their convents
- Assist pregnant women in need of practical assistance through their Visitation Mission
- Host retreats at Villa Maria Guadalupe Retreat Center
- Invite those who have suffered abortion to hope and healing through day and weekend Entering Canaan Retreats
- Direct the New York Archdiocesan Family Life / Respect Life Office
Thank you Lord for the women you are calling to the Sisters of Life, and for all religious, especially the Passionists! Thank you for blessing their work and our world because of their "Yes" to You!
Janice Carleton and her husband Jim live in Portland, OR and partner with Passionist Fr. Cedric Pisegna in Fr. Cedric Ministries. Janice also leads women’s retreats. She is the mother of 4 grown children and grandmother of 6. Visit Janice’s website at http://www.jcarleton.com/ or email her at janice@frcedric/org