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Solemn Profession of Sister Mary Joanna

“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High” (Psalm 50:14). This is what I have vowed to the Lord: to sing His praises as a sacrifice of thanksgiving. Christ leads the way in this, having set the example in His own life. He uses psalms in His teaching to lead others to this sacrifice of praise. For example, the Beatitudes allude to teachings in Psalms 24 and 37, where those who stand before God are the pure of heart, and the meek wait upon the Lord. Not only are the psalms often quoted by Christ; but many of them foreshadow the mysteries of His life, mysteries He calls us to live in imitation of Him. They express His own sentiments in the moments of His Incarnation, death and Resurrection in particular. These scriptures were for Christ a prayer which He learned as a pious Jew, and in which He found expression for all His human emotions: from His desire to do the Father’s will as He came into the world, to his feelings of pain and acts of trust in the midst of His Passion (see Psalms 40 and 69 and many others).

As a religious sister, I have vowed to allow Christ to pray the psalms again in and through me. God inspired the psalmists in order that we might have a means to praise Him as Christ has shown us. The more I pray these ancient prayers of Israel, the more I see the inspiration behind them. They are truly perfect to express all the longings of my soul, and even the struggles in the slow ascent toward God. That is the beauty of being able to pray the whole psalter in one week as our Holy Father St. Benedict instructs. Each psalm comes to express Christ under a particular aspect, and sometimes it even expresses His body, the Church. Praying the Divine Office over the years, I have been led to ponder Christ and His mysteries. Our life is so short that we will never exhaust the depths of the psalms, but they prepare us for eternal life when we will praise God for ever. “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Thy name give glory, for the sake of Thy steadfast love and Thy faithfulness” (Psalm 115:1).

         ~ Sr. Joanna Casanova, O. Cist

May 26, 2018

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To see the June 26, 2018 edition of Faith and Leadership ~ Duke Divinity: Sister Joanna takes the final step to monastic life.

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Written by Katelyn Ferral

Photos by Kevin Clark and his daughter Clare

 Photos by Kevin Clark and his daughter Clare

Cistercian Nuns News

Solemn Profession of Sister Joanna

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