It is our custom the all the memebers of our community vote on accepting each sister for postulancy, novitiate and for profession. The following is a homily given by the prioress on the 24th March when the community accepted Sr Mary Teresa for solemn profession. Sr Mary Teresa will make her solemn profession on the 29th June

Sr Mary Teresa, it is significant and providential that the community accepts you for Solemn Profession on the eve of this great feast of the Annunciation of the Lord when we commemorate the moment when the Eternal Word took flesh in Mary’s womb – when Mary responded with her ‘yes’ to God the Father’s invitation.

At that moment the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary. While Mary’s ‘yes’ is important she is pure capacity for the working of the Holy Spirit in her – it is all His doing and Mary said: “Let it be done unto me”. Pope John Paul II in Vita Consecrata emphasises the role of the Holy Spirit in the vocation to consecrated life. The following is adapted from Nos 19 and 39 of that document.

It is the Spirit who enables us to recognise the appeal of such a demanding choice. Through His power, we relive, in a way, the experience of the Prophet Jeremiah: ‘You have seduced me, Lord and I have let myself be seduced.’ (Jer 20:7). It is the Spirit who awakens the desire to respond fully; it is He who guides the growth of this desire, helping it to mature into a positive response and sustaining it as it is faithfully translated into action; it is He who shapes and moulds our hearts, configuring us to Christ, the chaste, poor and obedient One, and prompting us to make his mission their own. By allowing ourselves to be guided by the Spirit on an endless journey of purification we become, day after day, conformed to Christ, the prolongation in history of a special presence of the Risen Lord.

With penetrating insight, the Fathers of the Church have called this spiritual path philokalia or love of the divine beauty, which is the reflection of the divine goodness. Those who, by the power of the Holy Spirit, are led progressively into full configuration to Christ reflect in themselves a ray of the unapproachable light. During their earthly pilgrimage, they press on towards the inexhaustible Source of light. The consecrated life thus becomes a particularly profound expression of the Church as the Bride who, prompted by the Spirit to imitate her Spouse, stands before Him in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Eph 5:27).

The same Spirit, far from removing us from the life of humanity, inserts us more deeply into the life of the Church – as Dominican nuns we are called to intercede unceasingly for the needs of the whole human family. At the deepest level of our being we are caught up in the dynamism of the Church’s life, which is thirsty for the divine Absolute and called to holiness – it is to this holiness that we are called to bear witness.

The vocation to the consecrated life is, despite its renunciations and trials, and indeed because of them, a path of light over which the Redeemer keeps constant watch: ‘Rise and have no fear’. Sr Mary Teresa, as you begin your preparation for making this total gift of yourself to the Lord in Solemn Profession, you can count on the support of our prayer during the coming weeks. A solemn profession is a time for renewal for all of us when we fan into flame the gift of vocation which God has given us.