Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Memorial Day weekend to remember...


This past Memorial Day weekend, we traveled southwest of the Twin Cities about two and a half hours through the scenic Minnesota River Valley to get to the tiny town of Searles (the "s" at the end is silent) just outside of New Ulm for a special occasion. A good friend of ours has been discerning a vocation to the religious life for some time with other young women, always known to us and our kids as "the Handmaids." In addition to our friend, we got to know many of the handmaids through my brother Evan, a seminarian at the St. Paul Seminary. The handmaids lived in household near the seminary and we often met them at seminary functions. 

In a wonderful work of the Holy Spirit, the Handmaids were invited by the Bishop of the Diocese of New Ulm to form a new order of religious sisters, now named the Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus. Just recently four of the Handmaids took their religious vows (a few pics are below), and only a few weeks afterward three more followed.

In the row of new sisters, third from the left is our friend (formerly Megan), now Sister Magdelena Marie of the Trinity. On the far right is the new foundress of the order (formerly Clare), now Mother Mary Clare of the Heart of the Father. We've gotten to know Mother Mary Clare over the years as well, especially as Clara has always enjoyed talking with her due to their shared patron saint. 

Mother Mary Clare takes her solemn vows.

Praise God!

Memorial Day was an open house at the new Convent for the Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus, and it was glorious! You don't get any more "apple pie" than this set-up: Roughly 75 degrees and sunny, seven newly consecrated sisters of a new order (complete with awesome and well-designed habits), a baseball game between the town of Searles and a neighboring town on a "field-of-dreams" baseball field complete with a cornfield as the end of the outfield, and a gigantic pot luck right next to the town Catholic church and the baseball game with dozens of great people from Searles and the Twin Cities that made the trip. We even saw our own parish pastor at the pot luck, and many other good friends. 

Alas, we have lost our camera battery charger and I was kicking myself the whole time for not being able to take pictures! Here's a Google Maps view of the little town of Searles, where you can see the baseball field, and next to it (to the east) the church, and the new convent (formerly the parish rectory) just to the south of the church.

During the get-together, some of the sisters took a group of people across a rolling pasture of a neighboring farm and down to a river near the town where the sisters will often spend their individual prayer time. I took three of the kids with me, including Max, who insisted on yelling and pointing out every small animal and bug he saw. As we walked across the pasture I asked one of the sisters if they ever had to resist the urge to spread her arms out, twirl around, and break out in "The hills are alive, with the sound of music!" She said "yes, but after the first time you accidentally step in a cow pie, it's not quite the same." :-) 

Here's a view of the town where you can see the river we walked to (to the northwest):

And the one picture we coaxed out of our camera is below, Clara with Sister Magdelena:

Searles, MN is very blessed to have these holy women doing God's work in their town!

1 comment:

Angela Hunstiger said...

Please pass my Congratulations to Megan!!!!! I am so happy for her and her new life with the sisterhood! Praise God!