Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration: The Vows “Live Quietly with God”

Author: SSpSAP
Subject: Constitutions, Founding Generation
Language: English, Spanish
Publisher: SSpSAP Generalate
Year: 1997
Constitution 111: Faith The Gift of Fear of the Lord
  1. When Mother Mary Michael entered on May 1, 1891, it was unclear what the nature of their religious life would be: the name of the congregation, the rule, the prayer life, the daily horarium, their apostolate, the novitiate, the profession of vows, the habit, the government of the institute. All of the elements that one takes for granted in religious life were yet to be developed under the guidance of Bl. Arnold. (MMM 1 p. 6)
  2. When Bl. Maria Virgo came to the Mission House in 1882, the future was even more uncertain. She wrote: “I was often overcome by great fear and anxiety that I would not reach religious life here; on the other hand, I could not bring myself to ask for admission to another order.” She was seeking a solution in faith when she later wrote: “I am on the right pat and fulfill my vow daily. I will be content with my lowly position and my work and do everything conscientiously because I cannot do more for God.” (BMV p. 23)
  3. Both of these holy women were sustained by faith in their call from God as that was mediated by Bl. Arnold. Thinking of the both the Missionary and Cloistered Sisters, he wrote in the Introductory Deliberation to the Rule in 1891: “Your common invisible Father is God the Holy Spirit, the God of eternal love, who called and led you to the religious life. By his grace you are what you are: children of his everlasting love.” (MM 1 p. 10)
  4. Bl. Maria Virgo would later write to the Sisters in Argentina: “Today I am overcome by a strong impulse to talk to you, my dear Sisters, about the great and inexpressible gift of the vocation to religious life. Let us not allow a single day to pass without thanking God from the deepest ground of our hearts for this grace.” (BMV p. 62)
  5. When the cloistered branch was founded on December 8, 1896, Bl. Maria Virgo was not among the first group of Adoration Sisters. She wrote to Bl. Arnold: “Today, Most Reverend Father, all hope of being admitted to the cloistered branch has been taken. Although my longing for solitude is stronger than ever before, I readily and gladly accept the express will of God.” She was a woman of faith, who surrendered herself to the mystery of God’s will. Before Christmas on December 16, 1896, she wrote to the Sisters in Argentina: ” So, dear Sisters, bear in patience and holy love of sacrifice the terrible burdens that are put upon you. Our time here is only short; everything has been written down from above.” After Christmas on December 28, 1896, she wrote again to the Sisters in Argentina: “It is our lot, as long as we sojourn on earth, to burn with love of God, to persevere in prayer and to lead a poor and humble life.” (BMVpp.87-89)
  6. She was living in faith the motto of her life: “To God the honor, to my Sisters the benefit and to myself the burden.” (BMV p. 119)
  7. Amidst the darkness of faith, God’s wonderful call to religious life was always linked with joy for Bl. Maria Virgo. She writes: “Our hearts should sing for joy every time we think of our vocation.” (BMV p. 32)
  8. In the life of Bl. Maria Virgo, joy is always joined to gratitude. She writes to Bl. Arnold in 1893: “I am almost constantly filled with gratitude to God that he led me into this vocation, to this Society and to this house; I hope and confidently trust that this is God’s holy will.” (BMV p. 35).
  9. Both Mother Mary Michael and Bl. Maria Virgo knew by faith that we encounter the mystery of God in the ordinariness of everyday life. It is there that we are asked to be faithful, joyful and grateful to God for the gift of our vocation. One of Mother Mary Michael’s favorite sayings was: “We should be naturally supernatural and supernaturally natural.” Responding to the call to religious life should be done with simplicity, sincerity and the humility, that is truth. (MMM 2 p. 107)
  10. Mother Mary Michael laid great stress on the natural virtues: truth, simplicity, justice, fidelity to duty, industriousness, a sense of responsibility, courage, resoluteness, discretion, benevolence and peaceableness. Like St. Thomas Aquinas she believed that grace builds upon nature and that we should develop the natural virtues in responding to God’s call to provide the foundation for the supernatural virtues as is so evident in her own life.
  11. The nine Adoration Convents founded during Mother Mary Michael’s term of office, often under very trying circumstances, bear witness to her deep faith, trust and courage, as well as to her far-sightedness and her genuine apostolic and enterprising spirit. It was her ardent love for our Eucharistic Lord which, in spite of frequently mounting difficulties, kept her unshaken. Her unwavering rootedness in God’s holy will impelled her, as it did her spiritual father, Arnold Janssen, to act on the firm conviction that if what was undertaken was God’s work, it was bound to succeed. (MMM 1 p. 21).
  12. Mother Mary Michael told the Sisters: “In daily life we can give pleasure to the good God from morning until night simply by using every little opportunity that comes our way. If we wish to lead a truly virtuous life, then we must exert ourselves and lovingly grasp even the smallest opportunity to practice virtue. We should not be too preoccupied with self but should be able to give an account to ourselves for everything we do throughout the day.” (MMM 2 p. 116)
  13. Mother Mary Michael saw the living out of her vocation in the vowed life as a life of simplicity and dedication: She writes: “To do nothing extraordinary, to avoid attracting attention, to observe the rule conscientiously, to respect the customs of the convent, to follow the daily order, to be modest in speech and demeanor; this is what makes us pleasing to God.” (MMM 2 p. 142).
  14. Bl. Maria Virgo reflects that same spirit of joy in living out one’s vocation in the vowed life when she writes: “Since I made my vows, I believe I am happier than ever before. What an inspiring, consoling thought it is to belong wholly and totally to God: I would like to shout for joy and call on all creation to thank God without ceasing.” (BMV p. 38)
  15. The lives of both Mother Mary Michael and Bl. Maria Virgo were so simple, so natural and so sincere, that they offered a profound witness to the meaning of the vowed life and made a deep impression upon others. Their daily fidelity to their vowed life was the source of their profound peace, quiet joy and spiritual maturity. (MMM 2 p. 110)
  16. Their perfect fidelity to every duty, even to the smallest, came by the day in and day out practice of the natural and supernatural virtues. They sought God and God alone and were guided by God’s will in everything they did or left undone. (MMM 2 p. 115)
  17. Mother Mary Michael regarded obedience and humility as central values in the vowed life. She wrote: “If we are truly obedient and humble, then we are doing the will of God, which is the greatest thing we can do here on earth, … and we will be happy and at peace.” (MMM 2 p. 158)
  18. For both Mother Mary Michael and Bl. Maria Virgo the gift of fear of the Lord, which is a sense of awe before the mystery of God and God’s call, enabled them to live quietly with God in joyful surrender to God’s will each day of their vowed lives. (BMVp.49)

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