Reflection by Sister Gianna, OCD

“Man can only find himself in a sincere gift of self.” This phrase from Gaudium et Spes, a document from the Second Vatican Council, carried me to Carmel, carried me to my profession day on July 16th, 2013. They help me to keep ever in mind the reason for my free choice, for the love of our Lord, to live as a Carmelite Sister of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles. I give because our Lord gave—to me, specifically and uniquely in His great love for me.

During the first profession Mass, Father Pat Angelucci, SDB, encouraged us during his homily: “Sistas, [characteristic New Jersey accent] you need to remember the day of your first profession as the day you gave. Remember this exact spot in this sanctuary in this chapel where you kneeled before Mother General and before God, giving your life to Christ and His Church.” In freedom and with full knowledge of the gravity of my action, I chose Christ, aware of my inability to live up to such a calling unless I throw all my weight on the grace of the Holy Spirit and the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Teresa of Avila, and Mother Luisita. O Lord I am not worthy!

One of the great graces of this memorable day of first profession was the presence of my parents, grandmother, sister, two brothers and their families. I asked my 7-year old twin nieces what their favorite part of the day was. Rebecca answered, “When you got the crown of white flowers on your head.” Along with the black veil, the floral crown is a sign of religious profession; it symbolizes God’s wonder and goodness to all His people. Rachel’s reply was, “The cake!” Classic human responses. The lofty and the mundane. Their words help me keep ever in mind that nothing is unimportant to God—He wants it all, my heart, my desires, my fears and failings. Everything given will be used by our Lord to show forth, through my consecrated life, God’s wonder and goodness to all His people.