Yesterday was our VSC Year-End Mass of Thanksgiving, a sort-of graduation from this year of service. Our names are now enrolled in the VSC alumni book, bringing us one step closer to leaving St. Louis. Former VSCs, site supervisors, and of course the Daughters of Charity were there. Nicest Boss in the World and even the NFNF CEO were there to cheer me on, so to speak. They almost did so audibly, but then decided it might be inappropriate for church. (See why my office is so much fun?)
These closing ceremonies took place in the same place as our opening Mass: the Daughters' Provincial House chapel. I love this little room in its classical simplicity. The skylight over the altar always reminds me of an impluvium in an ancient Roman atrium. Yesterday the sunlit room was full of pride, tears, and memories. Remember when we first came here? How excited and nervous we were? How we barely knew about each other? How much we had to learn about service? How long a whole year seemed?
And now, in the blink of an eye, it's almost over. We can't stay in VSC forever, and life keeps flowing on to the next stage. We only have to look to the wedding of a VSC the night before to see that Life goes on.
We also saw it in the Daughter who passed away in her sleep that same night. Sr. Mary Patrice "slipped away like she always does, like a cat," one Sister said. A petite former school principal, Patrice was an assistant and dear friend to the VSC director. It's a harsh blow to realize that we won't see her friendly face on our doorstep anymore. God willing, she's smiling up in heaven now instead, beginning her story of eternal life. Her death reminds us all of how short and precious our time on earth is.
Life goes on, and we're back where we started: the love of Jesus pressing us onward.