By Most Rev. Richard W. Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton

Monday, July 9, 2012

Thank you Sisters!!!

The Archdiocese of Edmonton is living a sad time of transition these days. The Sister Adorers of the Precious Blood, here since 1925, have carefully discerned that their presence can no longer be sustained. We have grown to love the Sisters deeply, so their departure fills us only with deep sadness. Yet we cannot fail to thank God for the gift that they have been for us throughout these many years.

The Precious Blood Sisters are a contemplative community dedicated to a life of prayer, and their prayers have sustained the lives of many and offered hope and comfort. How many people over the years have come to them with their difficulties, their anxieties, their impossible situations, to ask the Sisters to pray for them! And the Sisters have done so faithfully.

These prayers have always been united with their adoration of the Precious Blood of the Saviour. Christ's Blood is the sign of his infinite love, manifest as it was poured out upon the Cross in sacrifice for his people. As such it is the sign of victory over all that is evil, even death itself, a victory won through suffering. The life of the Sisters is one of personal self-offering in union with the paschal mystery of Christ for the sake of others, and we have been the beneficiaries.

Yet we would be remiss if our thanks for the Sisters did not extend beyond the help we have received from their prayers. They are also bequeathing to us a legacy of faithful witness that both inspires and challenges us.

We can well imagine how difficult these recent years have been for our Sisters. A gradual process of very careful discernment led them to the realization - a very painful one - that their presence here could no longer continue and that, therefore, they would need to unite themselves to other sister monasteries. They responded with trusting self-abandonment into the hands of God, who they knew would never abandon them. A new and hopeful direction for their lives is the result.

Herein lies their greatest gift to us: a living example of what it means to have faith. Faith is more than a set of beliefs. Fundamentally and primordially it is a relationship with the living God, a relationship of love and of trust. Many times in our own lives we have experiences analogous to that of the Sisters. We find ourselves at our wits' end in the face of a seemingly impossible difficulty, or what we had envisioned as our future suddenly evaporates before our eyes. If at moments like these we fully abandon ourselves to God, He will take over. He will intervene and give direction to our lives, and with that direction a renewed hope.

Sisters, thank you for your prayers and your witness. We love you and we promise to pray for you as you have prayed for us, asking God to fill you with the blessing of consolation and hope as you step into a new future with Him.