Sr. Karla's Solemn Vows and Monastic Consecration

Sr Karla smiling in new cowl

Sister Karla makes solemn vows: On October, 12, feast of Our Lady of Aparecida, patroness of Brazil, Sr Maria Karla Gonҫalves pronounced her solemn vows and was consecrated as a Cistercian nun of Mount Saint Mary’s Abbey. Sr Karla chose the Gospel of the sinful woman washing the feet of Jesus with her tears and drying them with her hair, with emphasis on the phrase “loved greatly” (Lk 7:36-47). A Brazilian artist and theologian offered to create an icon for her special day. The image by Lúcio Américo de Oliveira is striking for its portrayal of the intimate and tender moment of encounter between the woman and Jesus.

icon of the sinful women and JesusIn the artist’s own words:
“Here art deals with this surrender. Tears are contrition. They are a tremor of being in front of the One to whom your soul is devoted. It is joy to find yourself looking at the Lord looking at you. The Lord raises the young woman’s face with his hand, an attitude of one who returns dignity. Here is the Christ who descended to the mansion of the dead and regenerates his children from sin. His hands have the marks of his passion: He is the Risen One. In the text, the woman anoints the Lord’s feet with perfume, but here the most valuable perfume is Christ himself who carries the jar. It is he who perfumes the soul that gives herself to him with that quality of love.

A small group of family members was able to attend, and their presence was an enormous grace for Sr Karla and all of us. Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who knew Sr Karla from her days working at the Archdiocese, came to preside at the Mass. He delighted us by saying the prayers in Portuguese, as a gesture of inclusion to the family present and those watching from Brazil. At the offertory, we all sang the Portuguese hymn, Maria de Nazare, as Sr Karla and her Junior Director brought up the gifts on one side of the altar, and her parents Maria and Claudio and her brother Brunno brought up a statue of Our Lady of Aparecida on the other side. This was a moment of joyful communion, which reached beyond the necessary separation.

Dom Vincent Rogers, newly elected Abbot of St Joseph’s Abbey, Spencer, was also with us for the celebration. As representative of the Cistercian Order, he gave the homily and then presided at the Rite of Solemn Profession and Consecration.

This is the link to the you tube video of her solemn profession Mass:

Sr Karla prostrate on floor of St. Mary's Church