We had a grand celebration in recognition of Laura Makin’s entrance into the Dominican Sisters in Nashville last week. She entered her year of postulantcy on this past Wednesday, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Please pray for her and her vocation to the consecrated life.
We thank Laura for choosing to follow God’s call to be a religious sister in service to his Church. We also thank her parents, Thomas and Elizabeth, who nurtured her vocation and taught her the Catholic Faith. We are grateful also to the good Dominican Sisters of Nashville who joined us last Sunday at the Mass.
Also we thank the Dominican Friars for joining us especially Fr. Patrick Mary Briscoe, OP who preached so eloquently on the vocation to the religious and also Bishop Evans who celebrated the Mass.
On Victory Day last week, the day on which we recall the end of the and the surrender of Japan in World War II, I read an interesting story about religious sisters. The Washington Post recently reported the story of four sisters from the Sisters of St. Joseph of California who became stranded behind Japanese enemy lines during World War II.
Two of the Sisters were teachers, and two were nurses. They had arrived in the Solomon Islands in December 1940. These young women were new to missionary life, confronting an unknown culture for the first time, and did not speak the languages spoken on the various islands. They also had to learn how to get around in the jungle. One year after they arrived, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and the Second World War began.
The Japanese quickly occupied many of the islands in the South Pacific. The sisters had been deeply involved in a village on the island of Buka and had no idea that the Japanese wanted Buka for an airfield.
Sister Hedda Jager, the local superior, kept a journal of their experiences. As the Japanese moved closer to them, Sister Hedda records how the lives of these good Sisters changed from working as missionaries to being filled with sheer terror. They soon learned how other missionaries in the Solomon Islands had been tortured and executed.
The Marist missionary priests in the area knowing the fate of the Sisters if they were captured, managed to hide them for months in the jungle. On New Year’s Eve 1942, the priests managed to get the Sisters and 25 others to the beach in Teop Harbor. On New Year’s Day 1943, in the early morning darkness, the submarine Nautilus pulled to within 100 feet of the beach and the terrified sisters and along with others were taken on board and brought to safety.
When the war ended the four Sisters returned to Buka to continue their missionary work. The last of them passed away in 1999. These Sisters of St. Joseph should remain a true inspiration to us. Sister Hedda’s journals are published in book entitled Trapped in Paradise.
As we continue to rejoice in Laura Makin’s call to the religious life and fondly recall the witness of others like the Sisters of St. Joseph during World War II, we must also give thanks to the many dedicated sisters have served here at OLM. We also thank the Franciscan Apostolic Sisters, Sister Emma and Sister Lourdes, and Mercy Sister Jeanne Barry, for their joyful witness of faith and service as consecrated religious sisters. They continue to be a blessing to our parish.
At World Youth Day, Pope Francis, exclaimed: “ I ask you to consider whether you are being called to the consecrated life. How beautiful it is to see young people who embrace the call to dedicate themselves fully to Christ and to the service of his Church! Challenge yourselves, and with a pure heart do not be afraid of what God is asking of you! From your ‘yes’ to the Lord’s call, you will become new seeds of hope in the Church and in society. Never forget: God’s will is our happiness!” Pray for vocations to the religious life!
This weekend we welcome Missionary Father Victor Ramesh from India. He is speaking at all Masses about the good works of the missions. This weekend’s second collection goes to support these good works. I thank you for your generous support of this Mission Appeal. Be sure to welcome Father Ramesh.
Do good. Be well. God Bless. Go Sox!