Sr. Rosemary Fry, CSJ, is the vocation director for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto. Below, she shares reflections on the upcoming World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life.
In 1997, Pope St. John Paul II instituted a day of prayer for women and men in consecrated life. This celebration is attached to the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord on February 2. The Archdiocese of Toronto is hosting a special Mass to celebrate this World Day of Prayer for Consecrated Life on Jan. 28, in anticipation of this.
As I attend that Mass with the other religious, this is what I will celebrate in great awe and gratitude.
On a very warm day in July 1963, I promised before my Religious Congregation, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto, and the Universal Church, to live out my Christian Baptismal commitment as a consecrated religious. Formally, this meant professing the three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and promising to live a life of prayer and ministry in community with other Sisters. How little I knew about what this would mean in the years ahead!
As a teenager, I had been drawn to Jesus in the Gospels and decided that I wanted to live my life with him and for him. As I nursed and worked with others in Canada and Haiti, my realization and awe grew as I recognized that in meeting and caring for others I was meeting and caring for this Christ and, as St. Teresa of Avila tells us, I was allowing this Christ to use my hands and feet to minister in His world.
The deeper realization of this union with Jesus led me to enter more deeply into the Trinitarian life of the Father, Son and Spirit and the immeasurable love between them. Our world and the Universe itself is created and held in being by this Divine Trinitarian love and we are caught up in it, in a way we can barely grasp or understand.
Now, each day, as I continue to live this life I was invited to so many years ago, I return to an article in our Constitutions which clearly expresses my experience and the joy I feel beyond any of the ups and downs of my daily life:
Our life is a response in faith nurtured by prayer which invites us ever more deeply into the mystery of the Triune God: The all-inclusive love of the Father, the self-emptying love of Jesus, and the generous love of the Holy Spirit. We cultivate a contemplative awareness which unifies our life of prayer and action by finding God dwelling within us and present in all things.