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Mass of Consecrated Life

Posted By October 28, 2011 | 12:48 pm | Local

By Patricia O’Connell
CFP Correspondent

LEOMINSTER – Bishop McManus spoke about a Cardinal who lived to be an old man. During his lifetime, he received many accolades.
Before he died, someone asked him which of these honors meant the most to him.
“The grace of being baptized into the Body of Christ as a Christian,” he answered.
Bishop McManus told this story to a group of religious sisters, from various orders, who had gathered for the annual Mass of Consecrated Life, held last Saturday at the Presentation Convent.
Then, continuing his homily, the bishop talked about Hannah, who, in the Old Testament, offered her only son, Samuel, to the Lord. And our Blessed Mother, while visiting her cousin Elizabeth, put into words what God has done, when she said, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord.”
“Such prayerful and joyful sentiments of thanksgiving should really rise from the hearts of every one of us,” as they did in the Cardinal, Bishop McManus told the sisters.
Just think what God has done for us in the Communion of Faith, which is the Church, he added.
Bishop McManus then talked about the sacraments given to the Church. “We have received all of these sacramental gifts,” he noted.
He also mentioned the Annunciation, when our Lady said “yes” to the Angel Gabriel.
And he asked the sisters to recall the time in their lives when they said “yes” to God’s call.
Although, at the present time, in the United States, there is not an abundance of vocations to the religious life, Bishop McManus said this has happened before.
“There have been times in the life of the Church where consecrated life has been almost eliminated,” he explained.
Yet, he noted, “God remains faithful to his Church.”
He reminded the women of their enormous calling. “You have affected the spiritual lives of thousands and thousands of people,” he said.
Presentation Convent is the home of the retired sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, an order founded in Ireland by Nano Nagle.
Invited to speak following Mass was Sister Pauline Grenier, from an order called the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary.
Although the orders have similar names, they are not related to one another and have different origins.
Sister Pauline talked about her founder, Blessed Anne-Marie Rivier. The order was started in France in 1796. Missionary sisters were then sent to Canada in 1853, and later to New England. Rivier College in Nashua is named for Blessed Anne-Marie.
The founder of the Sisters of the Presentation of Mary stood only 4’4” tall, and she was crippled very young in her childhood, noted Sister Pauline.
Anne-Marie’s mother taught her all her prayers, as well as the saints of the day.
Sister Pauline explained, how as a child, Anne-Marie would pray before a statue of the Pieta. Once, her mother wanted to leave the church and return home. But Anne-Marie wanted to stay, pleading, “I want to talk to the lady.”
She would ask Our Lady for a cure to her condition, sometimes bargaining with her. “I’ll buy you a coat, I’ll buy you a hat” if you cure me, according to Sister Pauline, who explained it must have been cold in the church.
Sister Pauline noted that Anne-Marie was crippled, and needed to be carried place to place. Eventually, though, she was able to walk with crutches.
Strong in her desire to enter religious life, she tried to enter various convents. But she was repeatedly turned away.
So she decided to start her own order, which, in her lifetime spread to include dozens of convents.
Sister Pauline said it’s important to “keep asking for vocations.”
But, she added, “Let’s appreciate the ones we have.”


PHOTO: Sister Pauline Grenier