Somebody’s Knocking At Our Door: Reception
By Sister Cynthia S.
This used to be the time when a woman received her new name and a habit to wear. It was also the beginning of her novitiate, a time of intense prayer and study, a time to deepen her life with God and to test her vocation. In this ritual we sign her with the cross of Jesus Christ, the sign of hope, of transformation, of promise.
We remind her that, as a baptized Christian, she carries this cross at all times – in her sight, in her hearing, in her heart, on her hands and feet. Then we give her our Mercy Cross. We pass on this weighty symbol that we have worn for many years, and we invite her to follow. From now on she may wear this cross as a sign of her desire to become a Sister of Mercy.
Then for the first time we call her “sister.” We extend part of our public life to her, by giving her the chance to try on this title. We say we will stand by her as she undergoes the discipline of the novitiate. We say we will be there when she looks to us for support. We affirm that we will be sister to her, and in turn, we hope she will learn how to be sister to us and sister to those in need.
This moment is often very powerful for the sisters who are present at the reception, since it calls to mind all the ways in which the cross has been present in their own lives. It reminds them that as they put the cross on every day, they are once again showing their willingness to be identified with Jesus and to walk his path.
Do you have questions? Ask Sister Cynthia in the comments or contact us.