'Never a job': Mass for consecrated life celebrates four jubilarians

The diocese celebrated its annual Mass for consecrated life on Saturday, Feb. 3 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Raleigh. The event honored four women religious celebrating jubilee, or anniversary, years in 2018.

Sister Maxine Tancraitor, C.D.P. celebrated 70 years of religious service. Sister Monique Dissen, I.H.M. and Sister Edna English, D.W. celebrated 60 each, and Sister Catherine Okechuku, S.B.S.N. celebrated 25.

Bishop Luis Raphael Zarama shared a homily focused on how the women religious were spiritual sisters, mothers and family members to all they served.

“This is what is the Gospel,” he said. “This is what has been your life. How many children and grandchildren and great grandchildren you have that the Lord has given you because you open your hearts and welcome … this is what we celebrate is the beautiful spirit.”     

The bishop also discussed the power of positivity. “We can be open to all the blessings that the Lord is giving us every day,” he said. “For example, today, when we went out, what was our first reaction? It’s too cold!”

After congregants laughed together, he continued: “You see? Complain first and thanksgiving later on? The day itself is beautiful. There’s no clouds. It’s shiny, brilliant, beautiful … the Lord gives us this day. [We can look in our closet] and find a beautiful jacket … a scarf. Whatever you have, there’s an opportunity there.”

After Mass Sister Rosemary McNamara, S.U. shared a reflection on vocations, congregations and charisms.

“We are women on a mission … when we vowed to follow Christ in poverty, chastity and obedience, it was not until 5 p.m. [each day], nor Monday through Friday, nor until our 70th birthday or even our 70th jubilee. It was forever,” she said.

Sister Rosemary noted that retirement is a word that never truly applies to those with a vocation. “Any woman who sails through their 70th birthday is technically retired, but our vocation is not and never has been a job,” she said.

Read about the four jubilarians.

Read Sister Rosemary's reflection.

Watch Bishop Zarama’s homily

Video by Mark Hite