Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Jubilee Year

It's almost three months since I posted any news. Although it was summer, life did not slow down and computer time was limited. I joined about 30 other Sisters in August for a silent 8 day retreat. Then we had a series of meetings and seminars for our annual updating. In-house we call such gatherings "Encounters."
As the title states, this is a time of Jubilee for me. First off, my "real" anniversary of the day when I first pronounced my vows was June 30, 2012. That makes 50 years of vowed religious life. The years have flown by. To mark the actual date, Father Paul Quinter, pastor at Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in Philadelphia, allowed me to renew my vows during the weekday Mass. It was a simple yet solemn ceremony. Father's remarks were very cordial and affirming.
 On June 30th of this year, Sister An Mei Marie Lam pronounced her final vows in her home parish in Honolulu, Hawaii. Final vows put a sort of golden seal on the first five or more years of vows which are made for one year at a time. Final vows mean a religious Sister (or priest or brother) vows to live poverty, chastity and obedience for all one's life as a Daughter of St. Paul.
For me the biggest celebration took place in our chapel in Boston on August 18. I joined two of my co-novices who also celebrate 50 years of vows; two others who professed vows 60 years ago; and five younger Sisters who celebrate 25 years of profession. The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Richard Lennon
joined by eight priests. Bishop Lennon served as our chaplain in Boston for 18 years before being ordained a Bishop. One of the eight priests is a friend whom I met back in the 1980's while I was in Guam. Father Hugh O'Regan served as a US Navy Chaplain for 24 years. His time of service included the Vietnam War. Once he celebrated eight Masses in one day being ferried by helicopter from one ship to another. After his military service Father administered the downtown parish of St. James in Boston home of a large Chinese Catholic Community. Now retired from parish work Father lives on Cape Cod near his sisters and their families.
I had about 20 guests at my tables including 3 of my sisters, and a cousin who lives in Boston. It was good to see so many of my New England friends. Ginny, a friend from Maine, drove down to be with us.
Another guest from Ohio was a retired Congregationalist minister friend.
 In Philadelphia on September 8th, we celebrated once again with friends and Pauline Cooperators with a Mass celebrated by two priest friends and about 22 guests. The Mass was followed by an abundant pot luck dinner.

God has been very good to me, and many of his people have also been good to me. I offer many prayers of thanksgiving that God will reward all those who gifted me in so many ways. Rejoice with me and ask the Lord to send many more young women to join us Daughters of St. Paul.

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