We held our annual missioning ritual during Vespers on Sunday, Aug. 7, in our chapel.
The ritual is one in which our Sisters receive special direction from the prioress for the coming year. We’ve done it since our founding in 1874.
Here’s what it was like back then:
Every summer, after the annual retreat, the Sisters would be be assigned to missions, mostly as teachers, across the state of Illinois. Where they went and what they did was not within their control.
“I remember sitting in chapel on Missioning Day, waiting to hear my name,” Sr. Catherine Maloney, OSB, says.
“None of us knew where we would be sent. The mission names were read alphabetically, so if you were going to be sent to Atkinson, you’d find out right away and be able to relax for the rest of the ceremony. If you were being sent to Winona, you had to wait a long time. We were on pins and needles!”
Today, Sisters participate in their ministry choices, so the where and why are unlikely to come as a surprise.
But the blessing of being asked to do something very particular for the community and God’s creation is still poignant.
Everyone is asked to do something. Even our eldest members participate in prayer ministry!