Monday, May 12, 2008

Sisters: They Came, They Saw, They Conquered Hearts

Three Sisters of the Society of St. Pius X, an order established for the purpose of supporting priests and their work, gave a slide presentation on their work after each Mass and a girls' conference in the afternoon. The sisters--two French, one German--explained at the slide show that their order does whatever is needed to support priests, be it tending to the laundry, cooking, housework, preparing children for the sacraments, teaching in the parish school, or visiting the poor, sick, elderly, or infirm. They met with parish girls at 4:00 p.m. in the parish hall to talk with them about the religious life. Beginning with questions from the catechism, Rev. Mother Superior Mere Marie Augustin helped the girls to think about the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. By the end of the conference, several hands shot up when Rev. Mother asked if any girls were interested in the religious life. According to the Sisters' brochure, "Any young woman, aged 18 to 30, guided by a right intention, and possessing a sound judgment and sufficient health to be able to do the different works of the community, may be accepted in the congregation." Afterward, everyone congregated on the steps outside for a group picture while a picnic was being prepared. Sisters from left to right: Sister Therese-Marie, Rev. Mother Superior Mere Marie Augustin, Sister Marie-Jeanne d'Ark. Traditional American fare, hamburgers, hot dogs with chili, and potato chips was served and enoyed under the crepe myrtles. The Sisters were particularly interested in learning about the parish life: the picnics, festivals, Laetare Sunday dinner theatre, etc. With energy renewed after the feast, the girls quickly divided up for a lively game of kickball. "What is kickball?" Mother Superior asked. The mothers took advantage of this relaxed setting to ask the sisters about the decision-making process they would use for choosing a parish for their new foundation, how long it would take, and what our parish could do to accommodate their needs better. Mother Superior said that the decision would be made by prayer; that it would be made in the next year or so, and that the best improvement we could make to the convent would be a walled garden. "It's noisy here," she said. The sisters asked about insects and snakes in Texas and were assured that there were none. No ants, no mosquitoes, no snakes. Too soon, the Sisters had to go into the church for Vespers, and the mothers and girls had to go home. The Sisters leave Dickinson today directly after the High Mass at 7:30 a.m.

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