I'm not sure it was exactly planned this way, but our annual Jubilee celebration is falling right in the middle of our recording project: just on time to ensure a full choir (and small orchestra) for the big Mass. The house is full, full, full: it's even hard to find a spot at table in a refectory (dining room) that usually seems too big for the community's needs. It's not just the choir members who are here: a number of sisters who finished their retreat last week stayed on to help out with preparations and to join the celebration. And, taking advantage of that fact, there's also been some moving around of old equipment from earlier forms of apostolate. (Do you know anyone looking for pious movies in 16 and 35mm format?)
August 20 is a special day anyway, since on this day in 1914, Bl. James welcomed the very first students to the newly-founded “Little Worker Printing School” (which later took on the name “St Paul's”). Since the anniversary of the founding of the Pauline Family falls on a Saturday this year, I suppose it was a natural choice for the Jubilees of seven of our sisters. Four of them mark their Silver Jubilee, but we also have one Golden Jubilarian and (get this) two Diamond Jubilarians.
All together, they are quite a group:
One of the Diamond Jubilarians played a significant part in the vocational journey of the Golden Jubilarian: she and another sister were doing house to house visitations in Buffalo, NY, when they first met the family (from which the Daughters of St. Paul welcomed two sisters--the other one celebrated her Golden Jubilee a few years ago). Two of the Jubilarians (one Silver, one Golden) work together in the editorial department here in Boston. One of the Silver Jubilarians came in from the missions where she has been helping to begin our ministry in a new nation under extremely challenging circumstances. Another (Silver) knows that her sister, a Daughter of St. Paul who would have marked her 35th anniversary of vows, will be joining us from Heaven, just six months after her arrival in the celestial city.
As much as we love our Sisters and rejoice in their combined 270 years of fidelity, a Jubilee is really more about what God has done: for the Sisters, for the community and for the people reached and touched through years of service and prayer. Jubilee Day is always a reminder to renew the gift of self made in response to God's call. God is the one whose grace actually keeps us in that response!