‘This is it! I have found what I am looking for’

Sister Servant makes perpetual profession

On Aug. 22, Bishop Raica celebrated Mass at Casa Maria Retreat House in Irondale, marking the perpetual profession of Sister Rose Marie Gauthier, S.s.E.W. The complete text of the bishop’s homily follows herein.

My sisters and brothers, today we gather to celebrate the perpetual profession of Sister Rose Marie Gauthier of the Loving Providence of God. I am grateful to Mother Louise Marie and the Sisters here present for the care and attention to the formation of Sister Rose Marie – how she has been surrounded in prayer from near and far and how she has been increasingly a necessary and essential part of the mission of the Sister Servants! I am also grateful for the priests who are present who are lending their prayers on the formalization of this momentous step. In a particular way, I greet her family and friends and, indeed, all who are here today – thank you for your prayerful support of Sister Rose Marie and the mission of the Sister Servants. It is a great honor for me to preside at this event in which you, Sister Rose Marie, make your perpetual profession.

Indeed, you have been pondering your vocation for quite some time already. It can be nerve wracking and, yet, at the same time, it is a moment of interior serenity and peace – to know definitively what the Lord is asking of you for your life and the witness you will bring. There comes a certain point in which the community itself, the Sister Servants, in their internal deliberations and discernment conclude: “We cannot imagine you not being a part of us! We would somehow be diminished without your presence.” There is a tranquility of discernment on your part and that of the community when it reaches its zenith, bringing together God’s will, your desire and free response, the acceptance of vocation, and the mission of the community which are all in alignment.

I can’t help but think of the uncertainties that surround our lives at various moments as we wonder to ourselves: “Why was I born? Why am I here? What is the purpose of my life?” In short, many struggle with these questions and have great difficulty arriving at an adequate response. Instead, they are cast about in the waves of uncertainty and ambiguity.

Instead, Sister Rose Marie, something struck a chord within you so that you, along with those discerning with you, could say: “This is it! I have found what I am looking for.” It is like the light shining in the darkness and in the doom and gloom around us – a light beckons us forward not to remain where we are, but to follow this light with courage into freedom, acknowledging the fact that here is the fulfillment of my desire and hope. That light brings abundant joy and great rejoicing as we, today, celebrate with you a new chapter in your religious journey.

The Queenship of Mary is the crowning glory of our Blessed Mother’s life. Mary takes her rightful place in Heaven. We, for our part, respond to God’s invitation at various points to affirm the direction we are embarking upon or make course adjustments to better align ourselves with God’s will. These adjustments can come from new knowledge, a new mission, an unexpected illness that changes the trajectory of one’s life, and so on. Your life will emulate that of Mary who received the unexpected announcement from the Archangel Gabriel: “You have found favor with God.”

Today, Sister Rose Marie, you have found favor with God. Your life is filled with an infectious joy and happiness as you begin your perpetual profession and witnessing, through your words and actions, the charism of the Sister Servants of the Eternal Word. This community, so admired throughout the Diocese of Birmingham, plays an essential role witnessing the unique relationship between God’s Eternal Word which became flesh and dwells among us today. The right relationship is further defined whenever you say, “Sister servants.” You are a servant of the Word, God’s Word, Jesus’ Word, not the master over it but in right relationship with it.

Our Lady provides the right nuance to responding to God’s action among us: “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your Word.”  Yes, the Eternal Word is incarnated once again and dwells among us. It is an ineffable presence that guides our days ahead.

On this great feast of the Queenship of Mary, we are given a unique hope. Only through her cooperation with the Mystery was she able to respond generously to God’s call for her. You, too, are blessed immensely as you embark on this new chapter of your vocation, affirming your relationship with Jesus, your Spouse, in the midst of those who are praying for you and supporting your call. 

May God continue to shower His blessings upon you. May our Lord walk with you as a constant companion and guide. May you witness His providence and love so that one day you will reap the harvest of your heart’s desire – a oneness with Him forever.