Monday, June 15, 2015


In the Name of Love

Do you remember the call?
when did you hear your name out loud?
Can you remember the word that you heard
when the story began in you?
Listen, remember, catch glimpses of springtime
and roots sinking deep in the heart of our God,
and you were carried, green and stretching to light,
In the name of Love.

Do you remember the call?
The call into full red rose of day?
Can you remember the vision, the dream,
and the courage to love for life?
Listen, remember, catch glimpses of summer
Seasons by Moira '08
and all blossomed gentleness radiant with light,
and you were dancing, full and given to life,
In the name of Love.

Do you remember the call?
And you, letting go, golden to grace?
Trusting the journey and all it would be
born of love and fidelity.
Listen, remember, catch glimpses of autumn,                      
of all that’s surrendered in wisdom and hope,
for it is given, for the yet to become,
In the name of Love.

Do you remember the call?
Sung in the silent depths of you?
Know that its power is deep in your heart
as a fire, a song, a dream.
Listen, remember, catch glimpses of winter,
touch new life in hiding and set it ablaze,                      
and let it grow into fullness of life     
In the name of Love.
                            copyright Jennifer Corlett, OSU & Mark Hobson    

Yes, I remember the call.  That is why we are gathered here today.  Before we begin this Eucharistic celebration I’d like to share with you some glimpses of my journey.

From my earliest memories I wanted to be a nun.  My first grade teacher, a Sister of St. Joseph, must have made a big impression on me: I remember her as being very kind and understanding. 

1963 Mom, Grandpa "Toots"& Grandma Quinn,  Dad, Theresa, Irene and Moira
It was in the Spring when I made my First Holy Communion.   On returning to my seat after receiving the Body of Christ, an elderly woman that I did not know, who was seated in a wheel chair in the aisle, touched my arm and said, “Pray for me.”  

At some point, when I was still quite young, I was up in the choir loft of our old church, St. Francis de Chantal in Wantagh, listening to the Mass, still in Latin, hearing the beautiful music, gazing at the light-filled stained glass windows and thinking. “I could stay here forever.”

Confirmation 1966
In fifth grade I took as my Confirmation name St. Therese.  I had read one of those little books the school gave to the kids so they could pick out a saint to be their spiritual guide and friend.  Her ‘Little Way’ seemed something I could do.

I went to Holy Trinity High School in Hicksville.  When all my friends were busy figuring out what college to go to, I was still thinking of being a nun, but was too shy and insecure to follow that path.  I knew I was not college material, therefore I decided to study cosmetology – it seemed logical since I gave myself an asymmetrical haircut when I was about 4 and later had a Tressy doll.

When I was in my late twenties, I remember a priest giving a vocation talk at Mass and me crying throughout because I knew that was what I wanted but did not have the chutzpah to answer the call.

I remember the call clearly when I did answer the call.  It started on New Year’s Eve at a house party.  My sister Paula was bragging that this was going to be a big year for the Quinn girls:  Irene was having a baby, Cate.  Theresa and Kevin were getting married.  She, Paula, was graduating from Catholic U. with honors….  And Moira – oh, she was turning 30!  Ugh!

The next night I got out the classified ads from the New York Times to get an idea of options other than hairdressing which I had been doing successfully for 10 years.  I couldn’t see myself cutting hair the rest of my life and I did not want the responsibility of managing or owning a shop.  So after reading the ads from A-Z and not finding anything that fit - I did not want to be a teacher, a social worker, a nurse, a cook…  I sent up a prayer, “Lord, what am I going to do?”   And the answer came clear as a bell.  “Are you ready to be a nun?”  I actually looked behind me to see who spoke, it was that clear.  I said, “Yes.”  And immediately I felt at peace.

All along God was preparing glimpses of the pathway to make it easier for me to follow:  I had bought a Summer cottage in Millerton, NY four years earlier and spent many a weekend there by myself.  During that time I was inspired to work on my novel on the life of John the Baptist.  John’s life stirred in me a desire to give my all to follow Jesus.       see link above on the right

I remember the Fall before I entered when I caught glimpses of what life as a contemplative monastic would be like when I attended a day program and met Redemptoristines from around the world.   Their topic of discussion was our Constitutions.  They were ordinary women, like me, who had given their treasure and talent for the glory of God.  It gave me courage to come as I was – still shy and unsure – to give my all to this group of women and the Order.   Recently, I was strolling down memory lane and came across a reflection I wrote during me retreat before my First Profession in 1991.  It’s entitled YES.

First Profession Esopus 1991 Henry and Mary Quinn 
Mary said, “Yes.
I am the handmaid of the Lord
let it be done to me according to your word.”
And God became Incarnate
in our Redeeming Lord.

Celeste said, “Yes”
to been given, “My only begotten Son…
to make you divine in life…
to be for the world
a Viva Memoria.”

You, my Sisters, said, “Yes”
To “A cross…A kiss…
To let your willing be an echo of Mine”
that He might really live in your hearts
and His works be alive!

Do you, “Fix your gaze upon Him
that you might be radiant with joy,
so that My creatures might remember
My eternal Love?”
I say, “Yes.”

And here we are today, twenty-five years later – six months earlier than my actual anniversary because no one wants to travel in the Winter.    I catch glimpses of all the sisters present here and realize the majority of you have been in religious life almost as long as I have been alive.  All of you have been a great witness not only to me but to all the lives you have touched and the whole world.  Your “Yes” inspires me to continue to give my all.   Your “Yes” gives me the courage to persevere through the many changes our church and religious life continues to undergo.     Your “Yes” invites me to deepen my relationship with Jesus ‘to be a clear and radiant witness of the love God has for each of us in Christ.’  C&S 5

Early on in my religious life I took as a motto, “JOY:  Jesus, Other, You.”  I pray that I will always live in “communion with Christ, who is the light of my faith, the strength of my charity and the source of my hope.”
C&S 16

I wish to thank the Redemptorists for being true brothers since the conception of our double institute in 1731 and 32, and by welcoming and supporting us in being a prayer presence in the Hudson Valley since 1957.  Thank you to our Carmelite Sisters for welcoming us two years ago to share their monastery.    And thanks, also, to all of our friends who have enriched our lives in so many and unique ways over the years.
And I especially want to tell my family how much I love them and thank them for all their love and support throughout my life. 
God bless you all.   Amen.

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