Solemn Vespers in St. Louis, Missouri

by Mar 4, 2019150 Anniversary, Blog0 comments

The Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word living in Missouri were privileged to hold the premier event celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Congregation’s founding in San Antonio, Texas, in 1869.  On Friday evening, March 1, 2019, about 150 persons gathered in St. Ann Catholic Church, Normandy, Missouri to pray and sing Solemn Vespers.  Thus began the weekend-long commemoration.

Sister Cathy Vetter, CCVI, explained that the Congregation would be praying and celebrating together all weekend.  While on this night, the Incarnate Word Family was gathered in St. Louis and Chimbote, Peru, a Eucharistic Celebration would be held at Casa San Angel in Mexico City.  The three days would culminate at the “Motherhouse” Chapel in San Antonio at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 3.   Sister invited all to join in prayer and thanksgiving for God’s great blessings on the Congregation.

In the dimly-lighted Church, Sister Cathy lit the Vespers Candle while all sang, “Light and peace in Jesus Christ our Lord.  Thanks be to God!”  Sister Helen Ann Collier announced the reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, Chapter 3, Verses 14-21, followed by a reflection by Sr. Helena Monahan.  Sister Helena stressed the historical significance of the celebration, but urged the community to remember, “Nothing ends here.  This is a moment in time.  There is so much more to come!”

The feeling of hope was the most powerful emotion experienced by the community gathered in St. Louis. The CCVIs were surrounded by their Incarnate Word Associates, Incarnate Word Missionaries, co-ministers from the CCVI sponsored ministries, their brother priests, alumnae from the Academy and the other schools where the Sisters have taught throughout their history, and dear friends.  It was a sacred space to reconnect and reminisce, and to realize profoundly the wide scope embraced by the CCVI mission to “make the love of the Incarnate Word real and alive in the world today.”

Joining the CCVIs were Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word, Houston, Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondolet, the School Sisters of Notre Dame, Sisters of the Most Precious Blood of O’Fallon, the Daughters of Charity, Dominican Sisters of the Collaborative Novitiate, Franciscan Sisters of Mary, Sisters of Divine Providence, and the Sisters of Loretto—the many Congregations which have worked side-by-side with the CCVIs since the foundation of Blessed Sacrament School and the Josephine Heitkamp Hospital.   Parishioners from St. Ann, St. Pius V, and Sacred Heart, Valley Park came to pray, grateful for the CCVIs who have served as Parish Associates in these communities.

Co-Ministers from Incarnate Word Academy, El Puente Hispanic Ministries, Incarnate Word Foundation, and St. Elizabeth Adult Day Care Center were in attendance.  Sr. Helena reminded the group that everyone who responded to the invitation had “entered into the history of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word sometime in the last 150 years.”  All are part of the richness of our heritage and the promise of the future.

The reception following the Vespers Service was alive with joyful sounds of greeting old friends and welcoming new ones.  All savored the opportunity to come together for something truly good—150 years of service of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word and the realization that each person present shares their mission and forms an integral part of that service.

Pictures courtesy of Warren Laird, Incarnate Word Academy.

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