By: Sister Mary Louise, OCD

I’m not much of a gardener but I do enjoy sitting in our beautiful gardens and sort of letting the beauty of nature speak to me about God. Remember that line from the cartoon Alice in Wonderland? You really can learn a lot of things from the flowers. At least on one afternoon I certainly did.

(Before I really begin though, I need to make one caveat. I’m no more a botanist than I am a gardener so if the following analogy doesn’t hold up with plant biology, well, ignorance is bliss.)

On this particular afternoon, it was some Easter lilies that caught my attention. It struck me as odd that even though they do not bear fruit or seeds (that I can see) they still have the same parts of a flower that does produce fruits and seeds. What is the point of having stamen and pollen if they regenerate by multiplying bulbs underground? Into these rather random mental wonderings came the thought that lilies are a symbol of chastity. Because they are white, right? Maybe there is more.

Those who embrace the call to evangelical chastity, that is perfect continence for the sake of the Kingdom of God are given a spiritual fecundity.; I am a spiritual mother. I bring life into this world in very hidden ways, hidden so often even to myself. You will find that I leave no “seed” behind, but with the eyes of faith, one can see life is regenerated. And with the grace of God, who can tell how many more blossoms may spring up? My vow of chastity is not as much a matter of renunciation as of daily embracing the way God chooses to give His life through me to others. This is the awesome vocation of a consecrated religious and I thank God daily for His gift to me.