Thursday, November 10, 2011

The SOLI Charism



As well as being devoted to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and Our Blessed Mother, the special charism, or spiritual identity of the Sisters of Our Lady Immaculate is one of offering our lives, that others, especially lapsed and ignorant Catholics, will come to know and live their Catholic faith once again. Every day, in our convent, we offer a special prayer of oblation, asking God to accept the gift of our prayers, works, and our whole lives for this purpose. There are so many people today, Catholics, baptized Catholics, and yet they do not know almost anything about their Catholic faith and are even indifferent towards God and their own salvation, both children and adults. It is for these that we offer ourselves to God.

Our Father Founder, Father William Lloyd Ryan, a priest of the Diocese of Hamilton and who passed away in 2003, proposed a group of Sisters in France, the sixteen Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne, France, as models for us to imitate in this self-offering.

These sixteen Carmelites lived during the reign of terror in the French Revolution. People were being killed by the thousands every day. And the Sisters, privately in their convent were offering their lives as a sacrifice, that the reign of terror would come to an end, which offering they made daily. Eventually the Sisters themselves had the supreme privilege of offering their own lives at the guillotine - they all climbed the scaffold one by one, asking their Superior permission to die, with the Superior being the last one to climb the steps to her eternal reward. Now, ten days after the Sisters' martyrdom, the reign of terror came to an end, beginning with the death of Robespierre. Father Ryan said on this point:

"Now it is not for us to say what brought about this happy ending, but it certainly would seem that God accepted the prayers and the sacrifices of these Nuns. At any rate, I've got that as an example for us. We don't live in a reign of terror today, but we have a reign of ignorance, a great indifference to salvation, I would say in many a great many people almost a complete indifference. I think this is a tremendous tragedy. This is a situation that could only be overcome by a special gift from God, a special grace. And it would be a wonderful blessing to us to have even a small way to merit, to help to merit this special grace from God."

So, as Sisters of Our Lady Immaculate, we strive to live the religious life faithfully and teach the Faith correctly and courageously. We do this as an offering that all will come to know and practice their Catholic Faith once again and achieve their salvation in the Kingdom of Heaven.

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