Dear Friends in Christ,
Happy Fourth of July! This holiday is close to our hearts as we remember the gift of our freedom, which is given to us by Our Creator Who created us in His image and likeness in order for us to live and act with dignity as sons and daughters of God. Every moment of every day we have the opportunity to exercise our freedom by the acts we make. As we mature and grow in self-knowledge, we see more clearly the impact of what we do; that by self-determination we can contribute to our becoming. Essentially, everything we do and say matters, so the more we do good, the freer we become, fulfilled in our God-given purpose: to follow Christ and become holy. In response to His love for us, we can be perfected in virtue and true love for others: a love that is unselfish, desiring the good of the other, self-sacrificial and disinterested. In other words…free to give, free from sin, sorrow, anger, hatred, and selfishness. It is Saint John Paul II who taught us that freedom is a property of the will which is realized through truth.
There is a great interior freedom that Religious Sisters, Priests and Brothers exercise by profession of the Vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience. By the Vow of Poverty, the Religious surrenders all she has to the providence of God with humility and consciousness that she possesses nothing in order to be completely given to God. All that she receives she offers for the use of her Sisters in her Religious community. She depends on the providence of God to receive all that she needs in order to serve. By the Vow of Chastity, she renounces marriage or any exclusive relationship with a man so that she is completely given to Christ with an undivided and pure heart. By the Vow of Obedience, the Religious says “yes” to what is asked of her by her superior with trust that the will of God is communicated to her through her superior. When a Religious Sister is given a mission and sent to do a service that she never expected, the grace of obedience is given to her to assume the responsibility. In this exercise of freedom to submit to the will of God, the Religious experiences deep joy.
I would like to share from my various visits of Religious Sisters in the Diocese:
February 16, 2017, Sister Mary Katerina Masek, RSM gave a talk on relativism and nominalism to the students at Holy Trinity Center, the Chaplaincy at NAU in Flagstaff, AZ hosted by Fr. Matt Lowry. The talk was called, “The Good, the Bad and the Better.” Sister Mary Katerina will begin teaching philosophy at Benedictine University in Mesa this fall.
Tuesday, March 7, 2017, Sr. Viviana Lopez, MCSTNJ entered the novitiate at the Convent of St. Daniel the Prophet Parish in Scottsdale. Fr. McGuire celebrated Mass. She began the second year of her basic formation and was invested as “a novice.” Her entire family came for her entrance, and her mother made a delicious meal for us. The joy from Sr. Viviana and her very proud family was a great gift to witness!
Below are Sr. Viviana’s Mother Superior, and her Novice Mistress, Madre Marina.
Her parents handed Sr. Viviana’s new habit and veil to the Mother Superior.
View a great video of the Carmelite Missionaries of St. Therese of the Child Jesus singing “Lluvia de Rosas”: http://misionerascarmelitas.com/
Saturday, March 11, 2017 the Serra Club hosted a Religious Appreciation Night at Bourgade Catholic High School. Sr. Mary Jordan Hoover, OP gave a talk. Many of the Religious Sisters were present, and Jubilarians were honored by Bishop Olmsted.
Bishop Olmsted honored the Jubilarians who celebrated Anniversaries of Vows.
The Jubilarians radiate great joy along with Bishop Olmsted and Bishop Nevares.
You are probably wondering who the SSVM Sisters in the royal blue habits are? They are the Servidoras del Señor y la Virgen de Matará. The Institute Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará, a religious community of Diocesan Right, was founded by Rev. Carlos Miguel Buela on March 19, 1988 in San Rafael, Argentina. The Institute Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará and The Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE), comprised of religious priests and brothers, along with the Third Order make up the Religious Family of the Incarnate Word. The two religious Institutes share the same charism, have twin constitutions and both include active and contemplative branches.
Their Regional Superior came to visit to introduce Bishop Olmsted to the new local superior: Sr. Madre Natividad. They also presented him with a very nice gift.
May the Merciful Heart of Jesus continue to lead us on the way as we strive to love one another as He loves us, with humility and meekness. The obedient love of Christ and His Sacred Heart is truly free because of his total union with His Father.
With prayers, I wish you a wonderful Fourth of July and end to the Fortnight for Freedom in which we remember the importance of Religious Freedom.
Your Sister in Christ,
Sister Anthony Mary Diago, RSM
Director of the Office of Consecrated Life
Diocese of Phoenix, AZ