Sr. Mariana of the Incarnate Word with prioress,
Sr. Mary Martin de Porres of Jesus (left) and novice
mistress, Sr. Mary Catharine of Jesus (right).

On this feast of "Our Holy Grandma," Blessed Jane of Aza, mother of St. Dominic, our postulant, Sr. Greta, was "clothed with the robe of salvation," the Holy Habit of the Order of Preachers, and began her novitiate, with a new name, Sr. Mariana of the Incarnate Word. Below is Sr. Mary Martin's homily which was given during the ceremony. Please share in our rejoicing and prayers for Sister's perseverance in our way of life.

My dear Sisters, we are gathered here today to give the Dominican habit, our habit, to Sr. Greta. This is always a happy occasion for us, a source of both hope and joy, when someone has persevered with us and wants to be one of us, in outward appearance now and eventually in inward consecration. The postulant is happy too. She has been asking, postulating, to be one of us for nine months and at last the day has come when she can shed the blue jumper that sets her off and become one of us in dress and manner.

The readings for the ceremony express its inner meaning beautifully. “I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul; for he has clothed me with a robe of salvation and wrapped me in a mantle of justice…” How often when we are getting dressed in the morning do we think of our habit as a robe of salvation? Yet it is; in a permanent way it is the white garment of our Baptism, signifying the salvation which the Lord has won for us on the cross and granted us participation in through the sacrament. By our membership in the Dominican Order he has granted us the additional grace of wearing this baptismal garment always and of living its meaning in a radical way by our profession of vows. Today Sr. Greta takes the first step toward that goal of making religious profession which, in its turn, is another first step in a lifetime of striving.

How often do we think of our cappa as a mantle of justice? We are liable to think of it as hot and burdensome, as well as dignified and beautiful. Yes, the mantle of justice is not always easy to wear; it carries with it obligations that can be burdensome. We have been called, like the workers in the vineyard, to bear the day’s burdens in the heat, and sometimes we complain like they did. We have to be reminded by the divine Owner of the vineyard that all is grace, including our very presence here, and it is grace that will sustain us and God himself who will be our reward.

Jesus says: “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love…This is my commandment: love one another.” He says in another place: “My commandments are not burdensome.” Loving one another day after day, all day long, can indeed seem a burden, but this in particular is what we are called to do in this way of life. This is the work assigned to us in the Lord’s vineyard, to be of one mind and heart, to build up community at all costs, to be a microcosm of the Church. Yes, we are also called to prayer and contemplation, but so are many other women in many other Orders. This is the Dominican way of fulfilling our call.

Jesus says: “I … chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit… As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love.” It is Christ’s love for us that makes our life a joy, our profession a joy, our clothing a joy. It is his love that makes all of this possible and our perseverance in it possible. Let us cling to this love, let us live it daily. Let us pray for our sister, that she may cling to Christ’s love and persevere in our way of life. May the joy of this day be the joy of her whole life. Amen.