After the sisters have made their profession, signed their vows and received the crucifix and candle, the monastic community extends a sign of welcome (not to be confused with the kiss of peace which occurs at its usual place in the Mass).
The meeting of the "Annes" -- Sister Anne Francis greets Sister Anne E.
In addition to the monastic welcome, one of our customs here in Georgetown is for the guests to line the front hall after Mass for newly professed to greet them.
The vows are received by the superior who takes the hands of the sister into her own while the vows are pronounced. This formula for solemn profession has been used in our community for generations of sisters:
O Heavens! Hear ye what I say, and let the earth listen to the words of my mouth. To Thee, my Savior, Jesus Christ, my heart speaks though I be but dust and ashes. O my God! To Thee I make the Vows of living in perpetual chastity, poverty and obedience, according to the Rule of St. Augustine and the Constitutions of St. Francis of Sales, for the Congregation of our Lady of the Visitation: for the observance of which, I offer and consecrate to Thy divine Majesty, to the sacred Virgin Mary, Thy Mother our Lady, and to this Congregation, my person and my life. Receive me, O Eternal Father! Into the arms of Thy most merciful Paternity, that I may constantly bear the yoke and burden of Thy Holy service and that I may abandon myself forever and without reserve to Thy divine love, to which I again dedicate and consecrate myself. O most glorious, most sacred, most sweet Virgin Mary! I beseech thee for the love and through the death of thy Son, receive me into the bosom of thy maternal protection. I choose Jesus, my Lord and my God, for the only object of my love. I choose His holy and Sacred Mother for my protection and this Congregation for my perpetual direction. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Stay tuned for a few more pictures . . .