On January 10th, we welcomed home a new member to our growing family! Yvelyne Bernard, originally born in New York, moved to Florida when she was 15. After college, she moved to Louisiana and worked in campus ministry for 3 years. She found profound peace in our community when she came on one of our Come and See retreats, in Baton Rouge, back in October. Her official entry was to be until February 2nd, yet, even from the first week, she has fit in so well. It’s as if she has been with us for years!
From January 21st to January 22nd, we were in Washington DC, for the Vigil Mass for Life at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the March for Life. What a blessed experience! Truly from the time that we left to the moment we got back, God was spoiling us with His loving providence.
First, we had wanted to leave Cleveland early enough to miss the snow that was supposed to fall, but we ended up leaving a bit later; and although the snow was only about an inch on the ground, the city hadn’t salted the streets so we feared the roads being too dangerous to drive on. But praise God, as soon as we got to the main roads and highway, the roads were clear.
Once we made it to Washington, found parking near the Basilica, and tried to find seating, the Sisters got separated from the baby nuns! Thankfully, Sr. Jeanette had told everyone of a meeting spot if anyone got lost or separated. So everyone was able to regroup, after Mass, at the meeting spot. Plus it was a true blessing that we got separated: The Sisters, being so few, were able to sit right at the very front, next to the Nuncio! And the baby nuns, who went down into the lower crypt, were able to be reunited with their friends from Florida.
After the Mass, April’s generous father treated us all to dinner, at a beautiful restaurant. We had a wonderful time and enjoyed each others company and delicious food. After dinner, we made our way to the hotel for a good night’s sleep, ready for the March the next day.
Thursday morning, we went back to the Basilica for Mass. Afterwards, we were trying to figure out the best way to get to the National Mall. We decided that leaving the van at the Basilica, and taking the subway was our best option. Praise God, the nearest subway was right across the street from the Basilica, through Catholic University! As we started to board the subway, the door closed and caused April to get left behind. So we went back to rescue her, haha. It made for funny conversations the rest of the day.
The March itself lasted 4 hours. There could not be less than 800, 000 people there! What a witness to life! It was a beautiful experience. We marched along side seminarians who brought their marching band. Their joy and celebration of life was a beautiful balance to those who marched with a more solemn and sober disposition. In the end, we were all fighting for the freedom of those who cannot fight for themselves. We all were giving our lives, for the sake of others.
After the March, we made our way back the subway towards the Basilica. Our tickets had ran out of money so we were all stopped at the gate. But praise God, the official let us pass without paying. We immediately prayed three Hail Mary’s for him, in thanksgiving for his generosity.
As we made our way back to Cleveland, Sr. Isabel, who had driven the entire time there and back, became very hungry. She missed the exit she had wanted to go to but made it to a Burger King at the next exit. As soon as we walked in, a few girls asked us if we were at the March for Life. Practically everyone in that Burger King had been at the March. We all ordered something to eat and as we found somewhere to sit, a married couple paid for our meals! We thanked them many times and offered up a prayer for them. After eating, we were back on the road and made it back home around 1:30 am. The entire experience was full of blessings. May God bless all those pilgrims, all our benefactors and all those involved in bringing about the Culture of Life!
And finally, about two weeks after the March, Yvelyne, officially entered the convent on February 2nd, the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord. Praise God, her parents were able to come. Normally, the ceremony is closed, but her parents had never visited before, so this was a perfect opportunity for them to have peace of mind and heart, to know that she is safe and happy. It was a beautiful day. We are grateful to God for blessing us with vocations to our community. We humbly pray that vocations continue to come. We have a couple of women who are visiting and others who are interested or planning on visiting. Keep these women in your prayers. May they be docile to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
Praised be Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, now and forever. Amen!