Picture this: A small, chapel in the bluffs of Wisconsin fills to capacity on a cold autumn morning. Our family shuffles into the front rows. We look around taking it all in. Chris and I do our best to settle in our boys and their cousin Ella for the big event.
Eighteen nuns file down the stairs and into the sanctuary. One – my little sister – is about to make the biggest commitment of her life. My four year old, Gabriel, says, “Mom look. She’s going to marry Jesus and there he is.” He’s pointing out the way the rays of sun are shining in through the chapel windows just right.
Abbot Anselm van der Linde (who came in from Austria) gives a very down to earth and inspiring homily. Gabriel and I run to the bathroom. Abbot Anselm invites Sr. Christina Marie forward for the rite to make her solemn profession. She is presented and questioned. I nurse Isaac and try to shush Gabriel. We call on all the saints to join us in prayer.
Sr. Christina asks each of her sister nuns to pray for her. She sings her vows in Latin.
She lies prostrate as Abbot Anselm prays over her the triple prayer of consecration.
Ella and Gabriel peek over the railing and ask if she’s dead. I say sort of – she’s dying to herself to be raised anew.
Lastly she receives the black veil and cuculla of the solemnly professed. As Chris would say, now she’s a real nun.
What a day! I’m filled with so many mixed emotions! My little sister is now a fully professed cloistered, contemplative nun of the Cistercian order. She has promised to stay in the Our Lady of the Valley Monastery and live a life of poverty, chastity and obedience for the rest of her life!
What a gift and yet what a sacrifice. Both for her and for the whole family! I miss her. We miss her. A lot! It’s hard to understand how God works. But I trust Him and so does Chrissi. May her gift of herself serve to inspire all of us to allow God to work in our lives!
If you’d like to donate toward their new monastery Project or learn more about it visit: www.valleyofourlady.org
To read Sr. Christina’s article reflecting on her call see the November issue of the Western KY Catholic Page 10: http://www.rcdok.org/_documents/wkc_online/2013/2013%20-11–November%20WKC.pdf
The article about her profession is in the January issue of WKC on p.24 & p.25: http://www.rcdok.org/_documents/wkc_online/2014/2014-1-January%20WKC.pdf
Photos by: Sr. Marie Gabrielle Roux, Kurt Welton & Chris Gutiérrez