Earth Day Vow Renewal: A Humble Aligning with Christ

Sr. Joanna O'Meara, Contemplative, Poet, Woman of Prayer

Renewing Vows: Contemplative Gardener, Poet, Sister: Joanna O'Meara, VHM

by Sr. Karen Mohan, VHM

This is a very special week in our community. On April 22, in the intimacy of our community prayer, and with an expansive heart, Sr. Joanna O’Meara will renew her vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in our 400 year old Visitation Order as a member of our Minneapolis monastery.  Her renewal aptly coincides with the 40th anniversary of EARTH DAY.  I say “aptly” because “humus”, Latin for “earth”, is also the root  of “humility”, a key word in describing the spirit of our Visitation Order.

The spirit of the Visitation is a spirit of profound humility towards God and of great gentleness toward our neighbor.” – St. Francis de Sales, co-founder of the Visitation Sisters

What is it about working with and in the earth that fosters humility?  Is it the mystery that turning the soil, adding the fertilizer, planting the seeds, watering and caring for the tender plants, is an act that says, “this growth is out of our control? “    We know that we have a place in creating the environment for growth, but we hand over the results to the creative love of our God.  That is an act of humility!

Garden SaturdaySr. Joanna loves to work in the garden. Before leaving for her 8-day retreat in preparation for her renewal of vows, she planted the broccoli, green beans and snow peas. It was a bit risky to plant this early in Minnesota’s growing season, but our early Spring gave her confidence!  Now she is taking this time apart to be with Jesus, whom we are told is “gentle and humble of heart” and “who gives rest for our souls and keeps our burdens light.”  (Mt 11:29 )

This kind of trust is pretty EARTHY!   And risky!  To seek to live a simple life style (poverty); choosing to express love in meaningful celibate ways (celibacy); while listening to God’s will in community rather than making one’s own decisions (obedience) is to say with one’s life, “I believe in and trust your love and care for me, my God.”   This is also an expression of humility: knowing one’s place with God in the world—one of confident dependence and active planting the seeds of  God’s love and mercy that the reign of God may grow.

To seek to live a simple life style (poverty); choosing to express love in meaningful celibate ways (celibacy); while listening to God’s will in community rather than making one’s own decisions (obedience) is to say with one’s life, “I believe in and trust your love and care for me, my God.”   This is also an expression of humility: knowing one’s place with God in the world—one of confident dependence and active planting the seeds of  God’s love and mercy that the reign of God may grow. – Sr. Karen Mohan, VHM

Earth Day fosters gentleness and creative care of the good earth.  Vow Renewal  expresses one’s complete trust in God and desire to creatively plant the love of Jesus in our world by listening to the Holy Spirit in community and in solitude, so that one’s gifts may be used and one’s weaknesses may not get in the way of God at work in others’ hearts.

Sr. Joanna joins Visitation Sisters all over the world in planting the life of God on our sacred, vulnerable earth, by  “living Jesus”, our motto.  In witnessing with her Sisters – and with all those committed to Gospel living – she gives testimony to the  love that  lasts forever.

On earth as it is in heaven”:

Her commitment makes her every day an EARTH DAY, and every encounter with the people of God an opportunity to follow the earthy (humble) Jesus who sets our hearts free.

5 Responses

Write a Comment»
  1. i just love the idea of sr. joanna renewing her vows on earth day…my vow date was special to me in terms of my personal journey, too. i chose francis de sales’ feast because of my earliest exposure to our spirituality thru the oblates of sf ds. o happy day! sr. suzanne

  2. Sr. Joanna is one of a candelabra of lights at the monastery in North Minneapolis, serving as an example for my life. Thank you for your commitment, love and the soulful insights you provide in your poetry and prayers. I remember with particular fondness an exuberance Sr. Joanna displayed playing a touch of football with a young woman visiting from the Caribbean some summers ago. Combine all that and top it off with that genteel British accent and you have only an image of her sweetness.

  3. Congratulations on your renewal of vows Joanna. Your calming, joyful presence in North Minneapolis is a blessing for all who encounter you. Good thoughts prayers and hugs on this special day.

    Jody

  4. Sr Joanna with love and gratitude for your vocation and for you!!! What a bright light you are! Congratulations!
    Love
    Beth, Peter and the Sullivan boys

  5. Thanks for finally writing about >Earth Day Vow Renewal: A Humble
    Aligning with Christ | Visitation Monastery of Minneapolis <Loved it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>