Sister Kathleen McCarthy makes final monastic profession

Sister Kathleen proclaims her monastic profession.

The Erie Benedictine community welcomed Sister Kathleen McCarthy to full membership when she celebrated her final monastic profession during Evening Praise on Saturday, October 1, at Mount St. Benedict Monastery. She promised a lifetime of conversion through the monastic way of life, stability in community, and obedience in listening to God’s voice in life.

 

“I am thankful for so many people who have been part of my journey over the years. I am thankful to now be called to this community and monastic living for the rest of my life,” she said.

 

Sister Kathleen came to the Erie Benedictines after 36 years with L’Arche, a community where people with and without disabilities share life together. An Erie Benedictine who was an early member of L’Arche with Kathleen, Sister Barbara Ann Karznia, helped ground her in Benedictine spirituality and values.

 

One of nine children, Kathleen came to community already knowing the Benedictine way, from Sister Barbara and others. Her sister, Anne, has been a member for more than 30 years. Kathleen herself lived with the Erie Benedictines at Pax Priory in the 1990s. Eventually she became part of the L’Arche community in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where she lived until she joined the Benedictines in 2016.

 

Family and friends joined the sisters in the monastery chapel to witness Sister Kathleen’s profession. Those unable to be present attended the ceremony via live stream.

 

The profession ritual is rich in symbolism and includes a candle lighting with the invocation of the Holy Spirit, acknowledging that monastic profession is a deepening of the baptismal commitment. After reading aloud and signing the document on which she had written her monastic profession, which the prioress then sealed with the community seal, Sister Kathleen sang the Suscipe three times: “Uphold me O God according to your word and I shall live. Do not fail me in my hope,” Psalm 119: 116.

 

The community ring was blessed before Sister Kathleen received it from the prioress, and then each member of the community came forth to bless and welcome her.

 

After the final prayer, Sister Stephanie Schmidt, prioress, presented Sister Kathleen with her title, a tradition in the Erie Benedictine community. The prioress chooses the title based on qualities that she already recognizes in the sister making profession and that she can continue to grow into. She gave the title “of Christ the compassionate companion” to Sister Kathleen. “It is a great joy to welcome Kathy into full membership in our community. She brings a wealth of lived experience and a heart full of compassion,” said Sister Stephanie.

Sister Stephanie asks Sister Kathleen what she seeks in monastic profession.
Sister Stephanie asks Sister Kathleen what she seeks in monastic profession.
Sister Kathleen lights her candle from the Paschal candle.
Sister Kathleen lights her candle from the Paschal candle.
Sister Kathleen sings the Suscipe.
Sister Kathleen sings the Suscipe.
Sisters come forward to bless and welcome Sister Kathleen.
Sisters come forward to bless and welcome Sister Kathleen.
Those gathered in chapel bless Sister Kathleen.
Those gathered in chapel bless Sister Kathleen.