For centuries bells have called people of many different faiths to prayer. Long before watches or smartphones church bells marked the hours of the day and served as time keepers of life and routine. On Tuesday, we rang a bell 140 times at St. Rose Convent marking the beginning of our 140th year of perpetual adoration.
Each time the bell chimed, I reflected on the years of faithfulness to prayer of both those gathered in the room and the generations prior. I thought about the millions of prayers for courage, strength, healing, and guidance, for friends, family and strangers. I listened to our sister who shared the story of how years of preparation and sacrifice had finally come to fruition on August 1, 1878, and how that day would forever be a celebratory day in the life of the community. From the countryside of Bavaria, where dreams were first spoken aloud by a few pioneering souls, to the new frontier of the United States and eventually settlement in La Crosse, Wisconsin, the dream of perpetual adoration was finally attained. I imagine all the sisters who have died smiling down on us and celebrating in heaven what has knit us together as a community of prayer.
Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration praying in the Adoration Chapel, circa 1906.
Praying before the Blessed Sacrament for each intention, we encounter not only the humanity of others but our own as well. Like all ministries our hearts are shaped in the process. I know that my heart has been moved to compassion, empathy, joy and sorrow as I have prayed for each intention. My vision of the world has been widened as I have prayed for people around the globe. I have grown in my understanding of difficult choices and unforeseen circumstances that change individuals forever. We all live on this planet together, and sometimes, even with the best intentions, we fail to recognize the joy and sorrows many carry in their lives. It is a holy encounter each time I cross the chapel threshold whether it is praying on behalf of others or conversing with God about my own life and experiences in ministry.
A look at today's Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration praying in the Adoration Chapel.
As a Franciscan I am called to pray always and in all ways, both inside and outside of our chapel and to serve the needs of our time.
How is discernment leading you to find where your gifts and talents meet the world’s need at this time in history?
Is the practice of perpetual adoration something you feel called to try? How has praying for others deepened your compassion for others?