One of the most joyful events in the life of a monastic community is the profession of a woman who has journeyed with us for a few years and is ready to make her lifetime commitment of seeking God with us in this community. Sister Dorene King celebrated this choice on Sunday, August 22, 2010. Sister Dorene came originally from California where she grew up and had several years of teaching experience. Later she became an ordained Lutheran minister but found her way to the Benedictine community in Richardton, North Dakota, and then to St. Scholastica Monastery here in Duluth.
The profession ceremony begins with a procession in which the Sister about to make perpetual promises carries a lighted lamp and a document in which she has written out her commitment.
She places this lamp on the altar and lays her document on a small table that already has the ring to be blessed and that will be given to her later in the ceremony. Father William Graham presided at the Eucharistic celebration at which Sister Dorene made her promises of fidelity to monastic life. His powerful homily used some of the significant imagery from Scripture, especially of the five wise virgins from Christ’s parable.
After the homily Sister Dorene affirmed her commitment and asked for God’s help in sustaining her in living it. While the Litany of the Saints was sung, Sister Dorene prayed for God’s help. Following this she read the document she had written her threefold promises of Benedictine life—Obedience, Stability, and Fidelity to monastic life here at St. Scholastica Monastery.
Then she faced the congregation and sang the ancient prayer, Suscipe, three times and the monastic community repeated this plea each time: “Receive me, O Lord, according to your word and I shall live and do not fail me in my hope.”
Sister Lois, Prioress, then gave Sister Dorene a solemn blessing.
The ring was then blessed by Father Graham, and Sister Lois placed it on Sister Dorene’s ring finger as a sign of her perpetual promise.
Sister Dorene was acclaimed by all of those gathered for the Eucharist.
Following Eucharist those present greated Sister Dorene in a reception line by the entrance to the Monastery.