“This has been a very different inauguration,” was the repeated comment of many journalists on January 20, 2021.
 
We could say the same for Margarita, who formally entered the Sisters of Charity on January 4, 2021, and Sr. María, who, once again, became a novice on February 2, 2021. Both ceremonies were held via ZOOM video conference with Sr. Donna Dodge, President of the Sisters of Charity, and the Leadership Team in New York, and Margarita and María in the Formation House chapel in Guatemala. Covid-19 restricted an in-person visit but not a virtual one.
 
Margarita comes from a large family and has had a desire to pursue religious life for several years. As a postulant, she will experience community life in prayer, ministry, study, and SC history and charism.
 
As a novice, Sr. María will share and deepen in vowed religious life, but there will be an emphasis on the study of the Constitution or rule of life in the charism of Sts. Vincent de Paul, Louise de Marillac and Elizabeth Seton. Sr. María brings a love for teaching and will be putting it into practice. Due to school closings because of Covid-19, many children have had little education during the past year. So, as a commitment of our local community, we have scheduled several sessions a week to assist the children along our road with their schoolwork. Masks, social distancing, washing of hands are all required!
 
January 4, the feast of St. Elizabeth Seton, is a special day for the Congregation. St. Elizabeth Seton’s words addressed to Margarita during her ceremony truly speak to all of us during these times.
 
Do I not realize the protecting presence, the consoling grace of my God? He raises me from the dust to feel that I am near Him. He drives away all terrors. He fills me with consolations. He is my guide, my friend, my supporter. With such a guide can I fear? With such a friend shall I not be satisfied? With such support can I fail? Let me say, “Lord, here am I, the creature of your will, rejoicing that you will lead, thankful that you will choose for me. Only continue in me your soul-cheering presence.
 
Pope Francis celebrated Mass in honor of the World Day for Consecrated Life on February 2. His message on this feast of the Purification was hope, patience and light. He said: 
 “Patience is not a sign of weakness, but the strength of spirit that enables us to “carry the burden,” to endure, to bear the weight of personal and community problems, to accept others as different from ourselves, to persevere in goodness when all seems lost, and to keep advancing even when overcome by fatigue and listlessness.” 
He ended his message saying, “May our eyes, too, see the light of salvation and bring that light to the whole world.”
 
Is there not resonance in the inauguration poem, “The Hill We Climb”?
Amanda Gorman speaks:
That even as we grieved, we grew.
Even as we hurt, we hoped.
Even as we tired, we tried.
 
There is always light
If only we are brave enough to see it
If only we are brave enough to be it.
 
– Sr. Nora Cunningham
Photo above (from left): Sister Rosenda, Mayda (an aspirant), Sr. Nora Cunningham, Sr. María Pablo, Sr. Virginia Searing, Postulant Margarita
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