I doubt there is a father who, when handed his daughter to hold for the ﬁrst time in the hospital, doesn’t project years forward to the day he will give her away after escorting her down the aisle. Aug. 15, the feast of the Assumption, approached like the 51 times before in my life, except this time the feast day would include my daughter Lauren’s walk down the aisle.
Instead of the traditional procession of bridesmaids and groomsmen, in processed a cardinal, four bishops and an additional 60 clergy from multiple dioceses to concelebrate this special Mass. After the procession of clergy I turned to the back of church to ﬁnd my daughter, Lauren, ready to lead 18 women forward in a celebration of commitment. Lauren ﬁnally stood before her bishop, Most Rev. Thomas John Paprocki (Springﬁeld, Ill.), her Provincial Mother Regina Pacis, her community of sisters and the congregation, not to commit her life and ﬁdelity to one man, but to commit her life to Jesus Christ in service to her community, and be received into the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George.
I often dreamt of the day I would lift Lauren’s white veil, kiss her gently and give her away. This day, however, instead of a lace veil covering her face, she would leave the sanctuary and return in her habit crowned in a white veil that she will wear for the next two years, taking the name not of her husband, but one divinely chosen — Sister Mary Gemma. This is Sister Gemma’s ﬁrst formal step in answering God’s call to consecrated life. How often in the New Testament are we confronted with the request, “Come Follow Me”? My daughter, Sister Gemma, was beckoned to follow Christ, a call she could not ignore. She accepted and changed her life and the lives of all those who love her ... forever.
To read the rest, click here and go to page 8. It's a beautiful reflection.