When we look at the lives of those who have faithfully followed Christ, we are inspired with a new reason for
seeking the City that is to come and at the same time we are shown a most safe path by which among the
vicissitudes of this world, in keeping with the state in life and condition proper to each of us, we will be
able to arrive at perfect union with Christ, that is, perfect holiness. In the lives of those who, sharing in our
humanity, are however more perfectly transformed into the image of Christ, God vividly manifests His presence
and His face to men. He speaks to us in them, and gives us a sign of His Kingdom, to which we are strongly drawn,
having so great a cloud of witnesses over us and such a witness to the truth of the Gospel.
(Pope Paul VI, Lumen Gentium: Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, November 21, 1964, Chapter VII, ¶50)
This past August, when I celebrated my one-year anniversary of monastic profession, I reflected on all the “cloud of witnesses” who prayerful, patiently, and persistently supported me in my journey to this point: family, friends, loved ones, teachers, spiritual directors and, of course, my Sisters in Community.
The saints, too, have guided my path: Ann, my baptismal saint and namesake, as well as Mary, to whom I offer my vocation; St. Scholastica, the patron saint of nuns on whose feast day vigil I became a postulant. I began my novitiate–a time of conversion of life as I immersed myself in prayer and community–on the memorial of St. Monica, and I ended my novitiate on the memorial of her son, for whose conversion of life she prayed (St. Augustine). On the memorial of the martyrdom of St. John the Baptist I laid my life and my profession formula on the altar, praying with him: “Jesus, the Lamb of God, must increase, I must decrease” (John 3:30).
Community life and the communion of saints are the “cloud of witnesses” guiding me to purity of heart and holiness of life. What a blessing to have such companions for my journey – I need all the saintly support I can get!
Painting of Virgin, Child, Ann, John-the-Baptist by DaVinci: used under