Sister Peggy's Perpetual Monastic Profession
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Greetings,

Rejoice with us as we celebrate Sister Peggy’s Perpetual Monastic Profession! Sr. Peggy’s family and friends gathered with our Community to witness her proclamation of vows, a life-time commitment to our Benedictine family.

“Venite! Come, O sons and daughters of God! Come and follow Me, I will teach you the Way of Life, Venite!” ~Antiphon

At the beginning of the Rite of Monastic Profession, Sr. Maribeth, Prioress, first presented Sr. Peggy to all of God’s people that had gathered to celebrate her commitment before calling her to the ambo to proclaim her Monastic Profession:

In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
I, Sister Peggy, baptized in the Archdiocese of Omaha, Nebraska,
promise to God perpetually stability in this monastery,
fidelity to the monastic way of life,
and obedience according to the Rule of Saint Benedict,
the norms of the Federation of Saint Gertrude
and the living tradition of this monastery.
I make this monastic profession before God and the saints,
before Sister Maribeth, prioress, and the sisters of Sacred Heart Monastery.

In witness thereof, I have written this document and
have signed it here at Sacred Heart Monastery in Yankton, SD
on the 28th day of July in the year 2018.

These vows or promises of her Benedictine profession come from the Rule of Benedict: “When she is to be received she promises before all in the oratory Stability, Fidelity to Monastic Life, and Obedience” (Chapter 58). Sister Maribeth, Prioress, offered an explanation of these promises for Sr. Peggy’s family and friends:

By promising Stability, Sr. Peggy commits herself to living out her baptismal commitment within this community, in this place, among these sisters with all their talents and weaknesses. By promising conversation morum, Sr. Peggy commits herself to the spiritual guidelines of the Rule with its admonitions of seeking God through prayer, work, good zeal, and mutual obedience. By promising obedience, she commits herself to a life of listening to God in His Word and to the Spirit speaking through the community and the prioress. Commitment to chastity and poverty are implied in Sr. Peggy’s promise of conversation morum.

The profession document that Sr. Peggy read from the ambo was structured from Benedict’s 1500 year-old Rule. A key element to our document is that it is handwritten by the sister. This is a reminder that she willingly takes on this life and its vows. Often the sister has to write and re-write the document several times, making sure its centered, words are all correctly spelled, that the pen didn’t blotch, and a whole variety of issues. “This promise she shall make before God and His Saints, so that if she should ever act otherwise, she may know that she will be condemned by Him whom she mocks. Of this promise of hers let her draw up a document in the name of the Saints whose relics are there and of the Abbess who is present” (Chapter 58).

The importance of the document and her commitment was reinforced as Sr. Peggy carried it to the altar, and there, she and the Prioress signed the profession document. It was then left on the altar, her gift of life being offered to the Church in the service of God’s people. “Let her write this document with her own hand; or if she is illiterate, let another write it at her request, and let the novice put her mark to it. Then let her place it with her own hand upon the altar…” (Chapter 58). The Sr. Maribeth went on to explain the importance of the profession document:

Written as a pledge and contract, the profession document is placed on the altar as an act of covenant. It is signed by Sr. Peggy and the Prioress at the altar. At the end of the liturgy the Prioress carries the document out signifying the incorporation of Sr. Peggy in the community as a fellow sister. It is God who has called Sr. Peggy and God will strengthen her, with the help of this community, to faithfully live out her commitment.

Within the ceremony, Sr. Peggy said she was moved by the singing of the Suscipe, the call and response between herself and the whole community. The Suscipe is an antiphon reminding us of our reliance on God and is sung not only at our Perpetual Profession but also jubilees and funerals, key moments in our lives within community.  “…and when she has placed it there, let the novice at once intone this verse: “Receive me, O Lord, according to Your word, and I shall live: and let me not be confounded in my hope” (Ps. 119).  Let the whole community answer this verse three times and add the “Glory be to the Father.”” (Rule of Benedict, 58).

Please continue to pray for Sister Peggy as she continues to live her call to Benedictine life within our community.
“May God strengthen you inwardly through the working of the Spirit. May Christ dwell in your heart through faith, and may charity be the root and foundation of your life. thus you will be able to grasp fully, with all the holy ones, the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ’s love, and experience this love with surpasses all knowledge, so that you may attain to the fullness of God” (Eph 3: 16b-19).

Blessings to you,

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