Yesterday, Sister Julie and I attended the Associate Covenant ceremony of our friend Holly. The ceremony was held in the Motherhouse in Monroe, Michigan. The warm light of the setting sun glowed in the Chapel windows as Holly stepped forward and made her formal commitment to the IHM way of prayer, community, and ministry. It was a beautiful and deeply touching ceremony.
Holly dedicated the ceremony to Bede Griffiths, a Benedictine priest who has done much writing and speaking about the mystical roots of Christianity. The desire to grow in awareness of oneself and of the Divine certainly isn’t unique to Christianity – it is shared by many of the great religions of the world, such as Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism.
I loved how the ceremony reflected the universal human desire for the Divine. There was a lotus flower, a religious symbol common in Hinduism and Buddhism, on the cover of the ceremony booklet. There were readings from the Book of Wisdom and the Gospel of Luke, as well as from the writings of Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn, among others. The music included pieces such as “How Can I Keep from Singing” and “Nocturne.”
I celebrate Holly and all who are associates, affiliates, and friends of religious communities!
One of our sisters died last week. Times like these make me reflect on my own mortality. I was considering what to put on my memorial card–the prayer of St. Francis? The blessing of our foundress? Just this morning I decided that it would be the lyrics to “How Can i Keep From Singing?” Funny that you should post that today. I know! It’s a SIGN! How wonderful for Holly, and how wonderful for you IHMs to have your family expand and grow.
So sorry to hear about the sister’s death last week, AnotherSJ. I’m glad that the post resonated with you!
I met Bede Griffiths at his ashram in India, in Tamil Nadu, in 1986 or 1987. He did look like a saddhu but when I asked him about Jesus Christ, he told me in no uncertain term that for him Jesus was the Savior. My husband and I spent about half an hour with him that day. I was not sure i was a Christian at all then. Today I know I am. I must go back and read his books again
I would be interested sometime in seeing what the private vows/commitments look like that people make when becoming associates. Does each person write his/her own? Are there guidelines? How about more information on this question sometime, sisters!