From start to the finish, the Aug. 1 observance of the 160th anniversary of the founding of the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth (SCLs) resounded with traditions. The theme for the celebration was “Moments of Grace.”
The day began with morning prayer in Annunciation Chapel followed by Mass. The prayer included a tribute to the SCLs read by Nancy Gerth, SCN, who attended the celebration as a representative of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth (SCNs). The SCN community is the Congregation to which the Leavenworth congregation traces its origin. Sister Nancy read the verse written by another SCN to commemorate the Diamond Anniversary (75th) of the SCLs.
November 11, 1933
Nazareth, your mother, rejoices
On these glorious Jubilee days,
As she joins with the myriad voices
That pour forth their anthem of praise
To God for the graces and blessings
He has showered on you through the years;
In labors and hardships and sorrows
He has helped you to smile through your tears.
Bright diamonds now sparkle around you,
They were only rough stones as you trod
Via Crucis with feet torn and bleeding
Close, close to your Saviour and God.
But patience and prayer, self-denial,
Have worn them to smooth and so bright
That they shine in this dark world of sorrow
As stars in the heavens at night.
There was work for the Master awaiting
Hearts and hands in the land of the West;
God’s providence guided your footsteps
As you heeded His loving behest.
Keep on ever spreading His Kingdom
And lead precious souls to His love,
‘Til hope shall be lost in fruition
And we meet in the mansions above.
During the Mass, in her reflection, Sister Melissa Camardo focused on the “yes” said 160 years ago by Mother Xavier Ross, SCL foundress. “If we can say yes again, we will trust in Divine Providence and believe it is God’s work, not just our own efforts,” she said. “We will open our hearts to give and receive. We will hold the suffering and discouragement. We will hold the beauty and excitement of what is still possible. … We will say yes to the hope and the promise of so many more moments of grace yet to be.”
Toward the end of Mass, the current and two past SCL Community Directors blessed a Kentucky coffee tree for planting on the Mother House grounds. Throughout its history, the SCL Community has planted trees to commemorate special occasions.