Local Religious life

Three take vows

Storms hold off long enough for French-based Community of the Lamb to welcome American additions

by Jill Ragar Esfeld

It was a miracle.

Anycia Flynn, Courtney Chisholm and Holly Hillesheim, some of the first American postulants of the Little Sisters of the Community of the Lamb, had finally arrived at the day of their investiture.

The ceremony was to take place in the courtyard of the little monastery — its chapel was too small to accommodate the large crowd.

But the weather forecast predicted severe storms, and the evening sky was filled with dark clouds and thunder.

When Archbishop Joseph Naumann arrived to celebrate the Mass and the investiture, the Little Sisters turned to him for advice.

Pray, he suggested.

Specifically, the archbishop suggested a novena of the “Memorare,” which he knew to be powerful.

And so the Little Sisters gathered in a quiet place and recited the Memorare prayer together nine times.

When they were done, they ushered the umbrella-carrying crowd into the open courtyard.

As Mass began, the sky continued to threaten storms while lightening and thunder punctuated the beautiful singing of the Little Sisters.

But not a drop of rain fell.

The postulants were given their new habits by the community’s foundress, Little Sister Marie, who had traveled from the motherhouse in France for the occasion.

Little Sister Marie also gave the postulants their new names as a sign they have now become new creations in Christ.

In the Community of the Lamb, Anycia is now called Little Sister Agape; Courtney is now Little Sister Francis; and Holly is Little Sister Kateri.

Archbishop Naumann wished the new novices joy on their continued formation.

“You are called to infect the world with the joy of the Gospel,” he said. “You are called to draw others to the Lamb — the one who, though wounded, never ceases to love.”

At the close of the ceremony, Little Sister Marie took a moment to tell those gathered about the little miracle that had taken place and expressed her gratitude to the archbishop for teaching them the “Memorare” novena.

“We celebrated outside, and the Virgin Mary protected us,” she said. “Thank you for teaching us to entrust ourselves always more to the Virgin Mary.”


About the author

Jill Esfeld

Jill Ragar Esfeld received a degree in Writing from Missouri State University and started her profession as a magazine feature writer, but quickly transitioned to technical/instructional writing where she had a successful career spanning more than 20 years. She returned to feature writing when she began freelancing for The Leaven in 2004. Her articles have won several awards from the Catholic Press Association. Jill grew up in Christ the King parish in Kansas City, Missouri; and has been a member of Holy Trinity Parish in Lenexa, Kansas, for 35 years.

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