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Reflection for the 75th Jubilee of Sister Rose Schweitzer
Reflection – Sister Nancy Miller, OSB, prioress
75th jubilee of Sister Rose Schweitzer
July 11, 2014
Sister Rose, this for sure is a special day for you and for all of us. We, your Benedictine Sisters, family and friends rejoice with you and thank you for your 75 years of dedication and faithfulness to the monastic way of life.
You made your monastic profession at St. Benedict’s Monastery, St. Joseph, Minnesota on this date in 1939. You promised to put Jesus Christ first in your life and live in community with other women who also seek God through prayer and active love for people.
In today’s Gospel reading, Peter asks Jesus what those who have given up everything to follow Him will receive in return. Jesus responds, “Anyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life.”
Sister Rose and all of us who follow Jesus have received that hundredfold. We are blessed with Christ’s love in a special way through the monastic way of life. Compared to Christ’s love - everything else is superfluous and does not matter. It is only Christ’s love in our hearts that makes us happy and selfless in giving to others. It is this love that carries us though the joys and sorrow of life.
Thank you, Sister Rose, for faithfully carrying Jesus’ love in your heart for so many years and for sharing that love with others. Thank you also for volunteering to come to Bismarck in 1944 to help found Annunciation Monastery. You are one of our beloved founders. You and 143 others including your siblings Sister Delora and Sister Frances had the faith and courage to start a new foundation in the Bismarck Diocese. We are grateful for you and all of our founding members.
Sister Rose, you nourished people in body and spirit through your generous ministry of cooking and baking. You won over the hearts of many people through delicious home cooked food. You cooked and baked in convents and health care settings in Minnesota and in Bismarck, Dickinson and Richardton. For 20 years you baked at St. Alexius Medical Center. Because you care so much for people, you baked a birthday cake for patients who had to spend their birthdays in the hospital. It was a way to make their day a little brighter. And they appreciated your kindness.
You still bake bread and share it with others. Happy are those who are fortunate enough to be around when you pull this fresh bread out of the oven.
Another of your gifts is hospitality. You have a way of making people feel comfortable and at home in your presence. I think it is the “cook” in you - eager to welcome others with a bit of nourishment whether it is food or conversation. There is always room in your heart for the stranger and the friend.
In a few moments Sister Rose will recommit herself to the monastic life through the three-fold promise of stability, fidelity to the monastic life and obedience. After the renewal of profession, with arms extended, Sister Rose will sing the Suscipe three times. Each time we Benedictine sisters will respond as a sign of unity with her. The Suscipe, “Receive me, O Lord,” is an ancient prayer asking God to receive the gift of ourselves.
Sister Rose, we deeply appreciate the gift you are to us. Your grateful spirit, generosity and enduring faith and love inspire us. You are a witness that a lifelong commitment to God is possible. For 75 years you have remained steadfast in your dedication to God through the monastic life. Daily you have sought to prefer nothing whatsoever to the love of Christ. You truly carry Jesus in your heart. Sister Rose, we thank and praise God for your gentle and lively presence among us.