OPENING SONG: O Mary of Promise by Steven Warner
LEADER: September 15th is the Feast of Mary, our Mother of Compassion, patroness of the Sisters of Providence. Part of the Providence Communityís tradition is that each year on or near this feast the sisters make a devotional renewal of their vows and invite associates and others to join with them by renewing their own commitments to service.
READER 1: Luke 2:35 " ... And you yourself a sword shall pierce ... "
As a young girl, Mary, in saying "yes" to God, surrendered her whole person and journeyed into the Providential care of God. She had no idea of the future turns her life as wife, mother, widow, and friend would take. Setbacks, surprises, disappointments, concerns, and sorrows were to be a part of her life as the mother of Jesus and his first disciple. In her "yes" Mary put her whole life at stake trusting that God is present not only in joyful events of life, but at Calvary as well. Thus she faithfully stood at the foot of her sonís cross being for him, in the midst of his greatest need, a loving and caring "human face of Providence."
She was not dispensed from the pain of Jesusí suffering, nor are we, as her daughters and sons, and as followers of Jesus. We each have a story of how we have learned, through standing with Mary, our Mother of Compassion, beneath the "crosses" of our lives, to stand with others beneath their "crosses."
READER 2: A reading from The Fruit of Her Hands, a book about Mother Emilie Gamelin, compiled by Mother Gerard of Providence.
There is a deep significance underlying the choice made of the principal devotion of the Institute, that of Our Mother of Compassion. We can readily judge that the founder, Bishop Ignace Bourget, was pointing out no easy way of life, that he expected his religious family to be valiant women, ready to face difficulties without shrinking. Their place was to be where the greatest crosses and the greatest misfortunes were to be found, and they had need to learn from Mary fortitude to face the sufferings with which they would come in such close contact.
How has a time of pain and sorrow shaped you in ways that enabled you to be a face of Providence - a compassionate companion to another person in their sorrow and need?
COMMUNAL RENEWAL OF COMMITMENT TO MISSON:
LEADER: I invite everyone to stand and at the same time each renew aloud oneís own commitment to God using your own words or one of the commitment statements given below. Mission Commitment:
I, _______, desire to do all that I do with compassion and caring. Provident God, Source of all life, may Your spirit flow through me as I live out my call to service in faithfulness to the gifts You have given me.
I am humbled by Your choice of me and strive to be true to the service to which You have called me. With Your gracious assistance, may all that I am and all that I do be a reflection of Your caring presence in the world. Amen. Providence Associates Commitment:
I, _______, wish to continue my commitment as a Providence Associate. I recommit myself to living out my life in faithfulness to the gifts God has given me.
I believe myself called to the same charism to which God called Blessed Emilie Gamelin. My desire is to unite with the Sisters of Providence to be the human face of Providence in the world. In imitation of Mary, our Mother of Compassion, I desire to show loving care for those in need, especially the poor and the voiceless. I commit myself to continuing efforts on behalf of God's people in ways that are in keeping with my life situation and my call to ministry. Amen. Sisters of Providence Commitment:
I, _______, wishing to renew my consecration to God as a Sister of Providence, make anew to God the (perpetual/temporary) vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, under the authority of the General Superior and according to the Constitutions of the Sisters of Providence.
I humbly ask God, through the infinite love of Jesus, the compassionate intercession of Mary, His Mother, and the prayers of the patron saints of this congregation, graciously to accept the renewal of these vows and to grant me the grace of being faithful to them. Amen.
PRAYER: Act of Consecration
Holy Mary, first disciple of Jesus and Mother of the Church,
we come to you to acknowledge your place in Godís plan,
and, in a particular way, in the grace of our vocation.
Deeply touched by your strength in sorrow,
called as we are to minister to your Son,
to assist at his death in the persons of the poor and afflicted,
we have a great need to share in your motherly tenderness.
Please, then, communicate to us your tender compassion
for all the spiritual and corporal sufferings
of the children you birthed at the foot of the cross.
Please look upon us as your daughters and sons
willing to share in your sorrow.
Please receive us into your loving heart,
that heart pierced with seven swords of sorrow.
We wish to love that heart so good.
You know the difficulties we encounter in our mission of love.
O, Compassionate Mother of all,
be with us in the midst of human pain and darkness.
As a grateful acknowledgement of all you share and do,
we will do our best to love and care for Christ in others, particularly
those suffering and in need whom you bring to our awareness,
as you have loved and cared for Christ in us. Amen.
CONCLUDING SONG: Evening Hymn to Our Lady, Old French Melody
or Providence of God by Rose of Jesus Burns, SP