January 5, 2009
Age: 21 years old
From: Kansas City, Kansas
It's been four months since Reception when we received our habit, veil and new name. Now being a canonical novice, being gifted with a year of working at the convent and spending much prayer time getting to know the Lord in a much deeper way and learning many things about myself. It's truly a blessing to get to write about His outpouring of grace in my life.
On August 15th, the day of Reception, I took the name Sr. Mariela. Mariela means "little Mary" in Italian. When praying about the name I would take, the Lord kept leading me to the Visitation, the joyful mystery in which Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth. I continued to see traces of teh Visitation in my life, experiences of great joy given by Jesus Christ, through relationships, prayer, and yes-es to visits from the Lord. It's a great privilege to take my name after the Mother of God, and like Mary's, I want my soul to echo "my soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior."
In class, as novices we have begun studying the vows we will take as a religious sister: poverty, chastity and obedience. As we have begun to study the first vow, that of consecrated chastity, Mary's perfect and total gift of self serves as an incomparable example for living a life of complete surrender and self offering to God. The Vatican II Document Evangelica Testificatio states that "when it is truly lived for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven, consecrated chastity frees man's heart and thus becomes a 'sign and stimulus of charity as well as a special source of spiritual fruitfulness in the world.'" Whether called to religious chastity or not, all are created to live chastely, giving all to God as our Mother Mary, thus producing a supernatural joy and fulfillment of heart. May she be our model. May this be our prayer. And in the words of St. Philip Neri "Allegramente!" (be cheeful!)