A sneak peak at the Sisters’ Christmas

While the world plunges headlong into Santa Claus, Christmas music, presents, and candy, the Sisters in stark contrast, hold out…waiting…without festivity until midnight Mass on Christmas Eve!

The chapel is draped in Advent purple – the color of penitence – and is bare of flowers and decorations for four entire weeks leading up to Christ’s birth. The Advent Wreath keeps its place in the sanctuary, and we wait in silent expectation as each new purple and pink candle is lit, counting down week by week, to the birth of the Savior Child. The Mass and our daily chapel prayers anticipate Christmas with words from the Prophet Isaiah: Observe what is right, do what is just; for my salvation is about to come (Is 56:1-3).

Just three days before Christmas, preparations begin in earnest with the hustle and bustle of excitement: up go the undecorated evergreen trees brought home by mendicant Sisters, and out come the nativity set pieces. Donated poinsettias arrive from local nurseries to clutter the hallways as they wait to be expertly placed in just the right spot. Strings of lights and ornaments are carefully pulled from the box. There is precious little time now for many preparations!

The night of December 24, about an hour before midnight Mass, all has fallen silent in the chapel. Amidst the deep red poinsettias enshrining the tabernacle, there waits a Presence. Drawn to Him, the Sisters slowly trickle into the peaceful, candle-lit chapel to rest awhile before the Blessed Sacrament. Here is a place of rest which the world knows nothing about. The Heart of Christ, truly present in all the tabernacles of the world, came to dwell 2000 years ago as a baby boy in the hay, so that you would cease to fear Him. Like any newborn babe, He desires to be embraced and loved deeply.

Suddenly in the distance, soft and joyful singing is heard. Angels? Sisters! The choir of Sisters’ voices blend together gloriously as they process through the halls of the motherhouse making their way to the chapel. And as they enter, the holy space is filled to the brim with delightful chords of “silent night, holy night…”

 

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