Hello bloggers, i’m back. I had a weeks retreat which i spent quietly walking, reading and praying more. It was relaxing and peaceful at times and also very challenging – i don’t think the devil likes things like Clothings – so i also had some nightmares and doubts and was quite panicky on the day itself but it all turned out lovely – thanks to all your prayers i think.
I was Clothed at 8.15 am on Friday 25th January in our Chapter room with Mother Abbess presiding, i was at a prayer stool in the middle and the community were around us. Mother said ‘sister, what do you ask?’ and i replied – ‘the mercy of God, the grace to share your monastic life and to begin my novitiate in this monastery of Our Lady of Good Hope’. Mother gave an address, then i knelt at her feet to receive the Rule – ‘behold the law under which you wish to serve, if you can observe it, enter, if you cannot, freely depart’ and i replied -’ i do not trust in my own strength, but with the mercy of God, i desire and hope to keep this Rule in its entirety.
This was followed by a prayer -’ look kindly Lord, upon our sister Marie-Therese as she enters this monastery to serve you in company with us by following the Rule of St Benedict, Keep her in your care and protect her in all the trials she may encounter. Give her the desire to offer her life to you with a firm resolution to embrace your will. In the fight against temptation be her ally and grant that she may find in you the reward promised to those who gain the victory. We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.
I then went forward to receive the habit – ‘recieve the habit as a sign that you are now enrolled in the school of the Lord’s service’ – then i went out with our novice mistress to put it on. When i returned i was given a lit candle – ‘may Christ be a lamp for your steps and a light for your path’, received a blessing from our Chaplain, then exchanged the peace with everyone. We ended with this prayer – ‘ O God, we believe that for those who renounce the world you prepare a dwelling place in heaven. Look kindly upon our sister Marie-Therese . May she be supported by the love of the community and be united with us in observing the monastic rule. May she be moderate, simple and serene in all her ways realising more deeply day by day that her vocation is an unmerited gift of your grace. We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.
Sr Mary Magdalen and i led the procession into chapel for Mass and i took up the offertory with Mother Abbess during Mass.
It was all very simple and beautiful, i was so emotional i had problems speaking at all -it just meant so much to me and i feel so priviledged to have been called here and now to be in my canonical year as a novice of this monastery. It is really very awesome in the true sense of the word and i am very happy.
So, now i am fully habited and wear a black tunic and scapular, white cap, wimple, fillet, under and over veils.
As Friday turned out to be the day our diocese prayed for vocations here we kept a day of exposition and prayer and celebrated with our festive tea on Saturday instead. This worked out really well for me as unexpectedly 2 friends i hadn’t seen for some time turned up to surprise me so we spent a lot of time together which wouldnt’ ordinarily have been possible – God worked it all for me !
On Saturday i was allowed to choose dessert after lunch – lemon meringue pie, and the goodies at recreation – a selection of danish pastries, both baked by our sisters and very delicious. I passed around my cards and gifts for the sisters to see and enjoyed it a lot.
Now in my habit i do feel i have taken a big step forward and i certainly look like i belong here now. Three masses were said for me so i was definitely held before God. thankyou to all concerned – our parish priest and congregation sent a gift of a yellow and white rose bush called The Pilgrim and apparently will smell like tea and myrrh – this is going into our inner court to climb up the wall.
So, there you go, my first post as a novice, i will try to put more on this week and sort out the pictures. Thankyou for your prayers and support, with peace and blessings, Sr Marie-Therese ( i can’t type that so well yet )