Yesterday I, after experiencing celebrations I was sure could be
topped by nothing, ending up stumbling upon the best moment of my trip
thus far. The day was wild, crowded, over-stimulating and fun, but it
left us very, very tired. So, after dinner when most guests had left,
we crashed in our room. Shortly after, we heard a knock on the door.
It was S. Gotharda inviting us to come and continue celebrating with
the sisters. At this point, for them, they have been working immensely
hard for weeks and celebrating for 4 full days. Continue celebrating?
I can hardly be blamed for my skepticism. But the sister’s meeting
room is just across the courtyard from our room and we could hear them
so we decided to just go and check it out.
Of all the special moments I felt so privileged to be a part of in the
past few days, this one topped them all. It was the sisters in their
own, private celebration, after all the fuss was over and the crowds
had died down and we were invited. The sisters who had made their
final vows sat at the front of the room adorned with brightly colored
flowers and wreaths. Groups of sisters took turns coming up and doing
little routines. Singing and dancing of course, but it was different
than what we had seen the rest of the day. They wore costumes (over
their habits and veils), did skits, laughed and joked. They passed out
popcorn, chipsi, and pop and we just sat and laughed with them. Most
of the time, we had no idea what they were laughing about, but the
mood and sentiment was clear through all language and cultural
Watching them, I thought to myself, this is everything a community of
women can and should be. Joyful. Strong. Supportive. Loving. Faithful.
Fun. They were truly celebrating one another and in a way none of the
visitors, including us, could. Because, at the end of the day, it is
their community, and only they can experience the full glory of it
having each made the same, outstanding commitment to God and one
another. In spite of this, I felt in no way ostracized. They welcomed
us without reservation. I felt immensely privileged to witness, what I
think was a perfect example of human beings at their best, living and
treating each other just as God intended.