On October 17, 2018, five young women received the habit from the hands of His Excellency Bishop Bernard Fellay, founding a new Benedictine convent in Silver City, New Mexico. The High School girls of Our Lady of Sorrows Academy made a trip to witness the event.
By giving her hair, part of herself, a woman shows that she gives herself to God completely. This is what the high school girls of Our Lady of Sorrows Academy learned from Bishop Fellay at the veil-taking ceremony that inaugurated the new foundation of St. Joseph Convent in Silver City, New Mexico on October 17, 2018.
The excited girls gathered at the end of school on Tuesday afternoon to begin the 300-mile journey under the watchful eyes of teachers Miss Juliana Maddeford and Miss Rosemary Rosario. Fr. Pedersen chaplained the group, surviving the raucous giggling gaggle for the ten-hour round trip by dint of sheer will power.
The pontifical Mass commenced the following morning in the tent erected for the ceremony by the busy monks of Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery, and the splendor of the liturgy unfolded before the reverent crowd of 400 guests. Bishop Fellay pointed out how difficult it was for a woman to give up her hair, but then explained the great privilege they had of becoming brides of Christ.
During the offertory, the five joyous young women approached one by one, adorned and clad in white gowns, as befits brides, offering their long tresses to the waiting scissors wielded by the bishop. This completed, they departed and vested in the traditional habit of the order of St. Benedict, returning once more to the bishop to receive the white veil of a novice, symbol of obedience and chastity, and to learn their new names in religion. Happy families and weeping mothers united in prayer as they witnessed this extraordinary event – really more a glimpse of heaven than of this earth.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, a wonderful banquet was held in honor of these new additions to the Benedictine family and the historic foundation of a new convent. Fr. Cyprian OSB spoke of the new novices as “The Five Joyful Mysteries,” and indeed their contagious joy permeated the entire event.
Capping a wonderful day, the girls were allowed to tour the convent building (which was to be established as a cloister the following day) and to speak with the good sisters about the religious life.
Thanking God for all these blessings, the girls re-boarded their vehicle, and departed into the setting sun toward Phoenix and home. May the example of these nuns inspire more of these girls to give themselves to God for the salvation of souls and the good of the Church.