September 23, 2015
By Bishop Terry R. LaValley
Sister Mary Catherine Pham made her first religious profession as a Sister Adorer of the Precious Blood Sept. 19 at St. Patrick’s Church in Watertown. Bishop LaValley’s homily for the occasion follows:
This Holy Year, this Year of Consecrated Life, Pope Francis has challenged our consecrated religious to: “Wake Up The World.”
Well, a tiny portion of the world located at 400 Pratt Street here in Watertown has been doing just that. The Sister Adorers of the Precious Blood have given us good reason to celebrate and praise God because you, dear Sisters, continue to respond to the Holy Father’s challenge by so generously answering the Lord’s invitation to live a life of totally self-less love.
The witness of your prayer-filled, cloistered life challenges the world to wake up and not be drowsily lulled along by the God-less current now infiltrating our society.
So, today is a day that brings us all great hope, steeped in much joy!
Sister Mary Catherine Pham, what a privilege it is for all of us gathered here this afternoon to witness your First Profession as a Sister Adorer of the Precious Blood, the offering of your total being to Almighty God.
We just heard from the Song of Songs: “Were one to offer all he owns to purchase love, he would be roundly mocked.” Surely, today’s world cannot understand your offering--the total commitment of oneself to God as you are making.
Your offering and the lived witness of consecrated religious is a wake up call for all of us—You proclaim, you insist that it is possible in today’s world, for a person to courageously set Christ as an indelible seal on your heart, a heart that shares, in an intimate way, with that Most Precious Blood that beat through the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
My friends, in response to their baptismal call, certain women and men entrust the totality of their lives to God by means of the evangelical counsels. They open themselves in a particular manner to the Divine Presence and spend their lives being transformed into that Presence.
Through the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience, Sister Mary Catherine, you and the Sisters of the Precious Blood, indeed all consecrated Religious, breathe the pure air of the Holy Spirit who frees you from all that would hinder a total gift of self.
Through these vows, you yearn to love God with an undivided heart. Consecrated religious have not lost something through these vows, no they have found Someone: Jesus Christ!
In solitude, freed from the distractions of this world, you joyfully give yourselves completely to a life of adoration and reparation. Your docility to God’s Spirit will give you the grace to walk forward on the path of holiness, that holiness of the Church which is so beautiful and which enables you to live the Gospel boldly.
Yes, today, Sister Mary Catherine, you are unwrapping the Spirit’s gift of courage and, in all humility, boldly setting out to follow Jesus, so aware of what the shedding of His Precious Blood has gained for us.
You are declaring before all present here, indeed before the whole Church, that Jesus is your first and only love. It takes courage for those who feel loved by the Lord to know how to place full trust in Jesus.
Hear what Bishop Bourget told your fledgling community so many years ago: “Consider yourselves as imbued with His Precious Blood; and may remembrance of the love Jesus has shown you by shedding it enkindle within you the fire of His love.”
It is the igniting and stoking of that fire of love which awakens a sleeping world. In this way, you make Jesus’ prayer to the Father (which we heard in our Gospel) your own: that others may see your love for God and His for you.
The principal mission of the Sisters Adorers of the Precious Blood is to give glory to the Father through the worship of His Son in the mystery of His precious Blood, and to honor Mary, Immaculate in her Conception.
As Pope Francis wrote: “the effectiveness of your consecrated life depends on the eloquence of your life, a life which radiates the joy and beauty of living the Gospel and following Christ to the full.”
The Church congratulates the Sister Adorers of the Precious Blood and particularly you, Sister Mary Catherine. God bless you abundantly as you respond so generously and selflessly to Jesus’ call: Follow Me!
Like St. Paul did, you are allowing yourself to be “taken possession of by Christ Jesus.” The journey of discipleship continues and we are companions all--- May God be praised…forever may God be praised!