Vocation Questions continued...

We all want to know about the habit. What was your inspiration for it and what is the significance of each aspect of it?
I have been receiving numerous compliments on the habit. I would like to think it was designed by the Holy Spirit because I haven’t had to think about what to wear for decades. After listening to the Bishop, I chose this habit with some features that connect with our monastic traditions. The Maronite Church is an outgrowth of the monastic community of Saint Maron. A staple habit was considered a simple black tunic bound by a leather belt. However, I did not want our members to be mistaken for the wife of a Taliban. I was looking for modesty, but one that reflected our femininity. This brought me to select the shade of grey for the tunic, still speaking of simplicity and poverty. I kept the black in using a scapular, and I added a gold embroidered Rabbula Cross, part of our Syriac tradition. The contrast of the brilliant cross on the black is symbolic of Christ’s light radiating through the darkness bringing God’s hope and mercy which is significant to our charism. Our habit rosary is made of the olive pits, a connection to the earthy simplicity of the villages in Lebanon and a sign of our dedication to Mary.


Vocation Questions

In person or via email, I have been asked several good questions regarding the vocation of the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light, the new foundation of consecrated religious begun on June 1, 2008. I have included a couple of questions and answers here, and welcome you to ask others. Our email is: sister@maroniteservants.org; website is: Maroniteservants.org, and our Blog is: RadiateHisLight.blogspot.com.

I've done quite a lot of research-both Roman and Maronite rite- but nothing has clicked just yet. My research is primarily on-line and articles, etc.. It's difficult for me because I have so many ministries that I am attracted to …. Yes, uncertainty is always a challenge and even more so in our technological times when things are so instantaneous. Relationships will never be like a click of a mouse. Prayerful discernment is central to discovering one's mission/call in this life. Lord, how do you want me to serve you? Where?
He will lead the way as long as we keep an open heart and faithfulness to daily prayer and the Sacraments. A religious vocation is a deep attraction to give oneself completely to the Beloved, who is Christ and His Church. The ministry is secondary.
Our Maronite Servant's call is to be there for our people to walk the journey of faith with them as a spiritual mother looking out for their needs. In parish ministry the needs are diverse and reflect the Gospel life of Christ who preached, healed, fed, comforted, taught ...loved each and every one.

I just wanted to see if you-as a nun- had ever experienced any frustration in your vocation discernment just to see if what I'm experiencing is normal. Take heart, you are not alone in this experience. Trust in the Lord. Reflect and ask yourself, "am I seeking what He wants for me? or am I seeking what I want for me?" Discernment means we have to ask tough questions of ourselves and probe our motives and desires. It means that we have to truly seek detachment and surrender. Mary is your model in this, and she will be your guide. Read the Gospel of St. Luke, especially the beginning chapters and meditate on Mary's challenges and trials, her confusion which surrendered in an obedient faith. Mary gave all with joy, pondering in heart -- not fully understanding-- but trusting.


Praying with Our Monks

We made a visit to the Maronite Monks of Adoration at Most Holy Trinity Monastery located in Petersham, MA. Abbot William Driscoll and Brothers were most welcoming and a special blessing for us. Founded in 1979, this is the first and only Maronite Monastery begun outside of Lebanon (see their website).
Abbot William was so good to spend time with us offering his fatherly wisdom and advice as a founder. His words offered inspiration and encouragement as he shared from the wealth of his journey in the Light of the Cross.
During our visit, we joined the brothers for mid-day Prayer of the Faithful (Maronite Office) in their newly built chapel. We also had the opportunity to visit with some retreatants from the Maronite parish in San Diego, CA. They were eager to hear about the mission of the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light.
(Pictures: Sister Marla Marie, Therese Touma with Abbot Driscoll (R) and Father Michael (L). Our retreatant friends from San Diego. The Chapel and Monastery.)


On Mission Part II

The weekend of November 1 and 2 took us to the parish of Saint Anthony in Lawrence, MA where we enjoyed the gracious hospitality of Abouna Peter Azar and his parish family.

At each Liturgy, we dressed the altar as part of the blessing for the “Sunday of the Consecration of the Church”. On this Sunday, the beginning of a new Church year, the priest sprinkles the four walls of the church and the altar with holy water. Then the altar is clothed with linens and blessed with incense.

In addition to sharing about the mission of the Maronite Servants at the Liturgies, we visited the junior high grades to encourage vocations to religious life and the priesthood.
We also had the privilege to pray with Abouna Peter the Ramsho and Safro of the “Prayer of the Faithful”. Our prayers were offered for the people of St. Anthony’s and for vocations to the Maronite Servants of Christ the Light.

The pictures above are of Therese Touma , Sister Marla Marie, Abouna Peter and some children of the parish.