By Sr. Therese Maria Touma, MSCL
In response to God’s captivating invitation to lay down my life, in love, and for love, I joyfully renewed the total gift of myself in service to God and His people, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8th). My sole desire is to be “wholly consumed” (holo-meaning “total”) by love, through faithfully living the evangelical counsels of obedience, chastity and poverty, in order that I may reflect Mercy Himself, Jesus, who was obedient, chaste and poor.
“Let us not be afraid. Let us allow ourselves to be embraced by the mercy of God who is waiting for us, and who forgives everything. Nothing is sweeter than his mercy. Let us allow ourselves to be caressed by God. The Lord is so good, and he forgives everything. Through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, may mercy take hold of our hearts and transform our entire life.” --Pope Francis--
As I reflect over the past six years of my religious formation journey, I cannot but give thanks to God for his merciful and transforming love at work in my life (and those of my sisters!). I see his gracious providence in all things, especially lately in the mission trips and retreats our community has offered, to maternally reach out in sharing Jesus’ love and healing with young and old. Pope Francis’ insightful words on God’s unconditional mercy and forgiveness resonates deep within my heart. Indeed, nothing is sweeter than experiencing first-hand his life-giving mercy. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His mercy endures forever (Psalm 136:1). I thank God each day for the gift of his limitless mercy, which has strengthened me in my vocation of love and spiritual motherhood.
In imitation of Mary, our sisters are called as servants of the Lord to radiate the light of Christ’s merciful love and hope by offering the gift of their spiritual motherhood to nurture God’s life in the hearts of children, families, and people of all ages through the works of mercy in service to the Maronite Church (Maronite Servants’ Rule no. 3).
As part of our well-balanced formation program directed by Mother Marla Marie, we are actively engaged in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The corporal works include: feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick and the imprisoned and burying the dead. The spiritual works include: counseling the doubtful, instructing the ignorant, admonishing the sinner, comforting the sorrowful, bearing wrongs patiently, forgiving all injuries, and praying for the living and the dead. At present, we are also blessed in our mission to be serving on a weekly basis at a local food pantry in our community where we teach, pray and support those who are materially poor and lead them closer to Jesus in a weekly bible sharing and/or prayer gathering.
If you are interested in reaching out in service opportunities or would like us to come and offer a Mercy Recollection day or Retreat day please contact Mother Marla Marie at 508-996-1753.