Today the Church celebrates the feast of the conversion of St. Paul. We all recall the familiar story in which the Lord came powerfully upon Saul while on the road to Damascus, forever changing his life–and world history!
It was a moment that marked a new beginning, a new mission. In the world he was known as Saul. Now as an apostle he is known to the Church as Paul.
I thought it would be fitting on this feast to invite readers to check out “Beyond the Convent Walls: Carmelite nuns of Mobile tell their story.” This story, from the Mobile Press-Register, with accompanying video, tells the moving story of a community of cloistered Carmelites who have remained ever faithful to their vocation despite age and shrinking numbers.
What struck me most about the accompanying video was having each of the nuns introduce themselves by saying, “In the world I was known as _________, in religious life my name is ___________.”
While these holy women weren’t knocked off their horse or blinded by light, they cherish their new name, their religious name, that carries with it the special mission of living a cloistered life devoted to Christ as a Carmelite nun.
Today’s feast gives consecrated religious a special opportunity to reflect on the mission associated with their religious name. It also gives all the faithful an opportunity to reflect on our conversion to Christ, and in our particular our baptismal name, which represents our new life consecrated to Christ.