6:15 PM, Saturday. Corrected video has been posted below. http://youtu.be/QktTt2AN7nk
Sister Maria Teresa's solemn profession as a Nun of the Order of Preachers was only a week ago! We're still rejoicing and thanking God for all the graces and joys of that day! If you couldn't be with us and were disappointed that the live stream didn't work you can watch it now!
This is an edited version because the Mass and Rite of Profession were nearly 2 hours long!
The rite of solemn profession began when Sr. Maria Teresa prostrated on the sanctuary floor and answered the question which has been asked for 800 years of each Dominican, "What do you seek?" The answer: "God's mercy and yours"!
Then Bishop Manuel Cruz gave a moving homily on the beauty and obligations of a life given entirely to God in prayer, silence and community. After, Sr. Mary Martin, prioress, questioned Sr. Maria Teresa further on her willingness to take up the obligations of our vocations as contemplative nuns in the heart of the Church.
Followed the beautiful litany of the saints as Sr. Maria Teresa lay prostrate, cruciform like her Crucified Spouse.
Then came the most important part! Kneeling before Sr. Mary Martin with her hands in hers Sr. Maria Teresa pronounced her profession as a Nun of the Order of Preachers, "usque ad mortem" using the words that have been uttered by every Dominican Nun (and friar) from the time of St. Dominic until today:
"I, Sr. Maria Teresa of the Sacred Heart make profession and promise obedience to God, to blessed Mary and to blessed Dominic, and to the Master of the Order of Friars Preachers, and to you Sr. Mary Martin de Porres of Jesus, prioress of this monastery of Our Lady of the Rosary, Summit, New Jersey, according to the Rule of Blessed Augustine and the Constitutions of the Nuns of the Order of Preachers, that I will be obedient to you and to your successors until death."
Most people are surprised that we don't vow poverty, chastity and obedience. The mother of one our sisters said after the ceremony, "Didn't you forget something?" In the Dominican Order, according to ancient tradition, obedience only is explicitly professed as this obedience encompasses an entire way of life of which the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience are a part.
After Sr. Maria Teresa made her profession and was given the embrace of peace by Sr. Mary Martin, Bishop Cruz blessed a black veil which the prioress than placed on Sister's head while the community sang the Amo Christum, an ancient antiphon attributed to St. Agnes. This was followed by the blessing and giving of the ring. As the bishop placed the ring on Sister's finger he said:
"Receive this ring of divine faith, given in the name of the most Holy Trinity. Be faithful to Jesus, your Spouse, so that you may come to the wedding feast of eternal joy."
Then Sr. Maria Teresa gave the embrace of peace to the rest of the community gathered at the grille, not forgetting to give it to her former novice mistress first! Mass continued as usual. At the end of Mass Sr. Maria Teresa again knelt before the Bishop to receive the formal blessing. As he and the other priests, deacons, etc. processed down the aisle Bishop Cruz signed to Sr. Maria Teresa to come with him. It's our tradition that we remain in the sanctuary returning to the enclosure by way of the sacristy but the Bishop is the Bishop! Bishop Cruz took Sr. Maria Teresa's hand in a fatherly gesture and surprised her family by bringing her to their place in the first pew so that she could give them a hug. It happened so suddenly that Kimberly (Sr. Maria Teresa's sister) didn't have time to move the camera.
We want to especially thank Kimberly for agreeing to take care of both cameras at the last moment as the person who was supposed to do it was sick! At one point she even had a regular photo camera as well. Thanks also to Ray Gessner for his wonderful photos. The other photographer you see is our good friend Toni, the "official" photographer who came to photograph the ceremony for us and for a project she is working on.
Special thanks to all our Dominican brothers who braved the heatwave to be with us! It was truly a family day in the Dominican Order.