First Profession Sister Ashwini

This Easter Saturday at Mount Saint Mary’s Abbey, April 27, 2019,  we had the joy of witnessing our Sister Ashwini’s first profession of vows.

Do you remember her as Sr Maria Girza? Well, yes, this was the name she took upon receiving the habit, but over the past two years she has been homesick for her baptismal name, which means “the first star in the sky.” Because being called by her own name is so precious to her, she asked to embrace this name once again as she professed her simple vows. So now she is Sister Maria Ashwini, with the Maria kept in silence, as most of us do.

During the ceremony, the abbess poses the question to the novice: “What do you ask?” The response is given in her own words. Sr Ashwini spoke of her love for serving Mass as an eleven-year-old child, and her growing sense of being invited into the mystery of true love, of sacrificial love, which she experiences in the Eucharist. Her desire is to lay her life on the altar as she sets it, so as to become one with his perfect sacrifice. Making vows as a Cistercian nun is for her to embrace a Christocentric life of growing in likeness to the One she receives and in drawing closer to the Father.

Sr Ashwini is then invited to profess her monastic vows of stability, fidelity to the monastic way of life and obedience in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, for three years. She makes her promise of obedience in the hands of her abbess, and in then clothed in the black scapular and leather belt of the professed.