The occasion of the visit was the 25th anniversary of the profession of Sr. Silvia Enriquez, S de M, in the order of the Servants of Mary, Minsters to the Sick. The impact that Sr. Silvia has had on my own life as I dealt with the deaths of several close relatives was amazing. She has truly been a mother to me. We, who had never met in person until the day of her celebration, greeted each other like old friends.
The Servants of Mary (Check out this documentary on their life) care for the sick and dying in their own homes. They provide a respite to the families who are caring for loved ones and they give solace to the sick and dying as they prepare to go to their final and everlasting Home. They are true angels of mercy. We could use them in every diocese in America!
What was amazing was that I was staying with the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Eucharist at their very comfortable retreat house in Independence, Missouri. Just before we arrived, these wonderfully hospitable sisters had brought one of their elderly sisters home from the hospital to the convent where her death was expected to come quite soon. Who came to help the sisters? The Servants of Mary came each night while I was there to do the night watch. Seeing the sister in her white habit getting out of the car in the rain and gloom was like looking at a light from heaven.
The Servants of Mary also have two Lovers of the Holy Cross living with them who are studying at a local college. The Franciscan Sisters have seminarians living on their property for the summer as they work in local parishes and ministries. Once again, the all-embracing love that these two groups of sisters have for the Church and Her members was all too evident. I put myself in that category.
Many thanks to Bishop Naumann of Kansas City for his wonderful homily on consecrated virginity and its meaning for today. How wonderful to see so many religious and priests from around the diocese in attendance at the Jubilee Mass. And if you are looking for a great book (I bought a biography on St. Philip Neri and a G. K. Chesterton Father Brown Anthology) visit the Sisters of St. Francis’ Bookstore.
May God bless these two communities with vocations!