Sr. John Patrick makes perpetual profession

Sister John Patrick signs the formula of profession on the altar with Bishop Kemme looking on. (Advance photo)

Bishop Carl A. Kemme reminded those attending the Mass of Perpetual Profession and Consecration for Sister John Patrick of the Trinity that the Latin term “per omnia secula seculorum,” or forever and ever, applies to priests and others who have made such promises.

Why would a person make such a commitment? he asked.

“The why is that we desire to live a life that is a reflection of God, who is a Trinity of Persons, whose divine love is so vast and deep, that it spills over into a flowing love that is the Son and the Holy Spirit,” the bishop said from his cathedra. “Each of us is baptized in the name of the Trinity and as such, each of us then is invited into that flow, not just for a time, but for an eternity.”

Forsaking all things

Religious sisters reflect that truth because they publicly forsake all things temporary and fleeting to live out their vows publicly in poverty, chastity, and obedience, he said.

“Because of this, we should promote the religious life among our people so that all of us will be blessed with more and more examples – even if they be human, weak, and sinful – of the Trinitarian love of God, a love that rushes over the human race day by day, per omnia secula seculorum, forever and ever.”

She made her profession Saturday morning, June 6, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita.

Bishop Kemme urged those attending not to underestimate the radical nature of Sister John Patrick’s declaration.

Think beyond human nature

“In our culture, which is obsessed with the temporal and in some cases the whimsical, the idea of doing anything forever is often seen as unlikely, unrealistic, somewhat comical, and for some even abhorrent,” he said. “That is why marriage is in the deplorable state that it is in – because we simply refuse to think beyond what our human nature presents to us as reasonable and rational.”

Who would ever think of binding oneself in a commitment that goes well beyond the moment it stops feeling good or when it becomes a cross and a challenge? Bishop Kemme asked, or, who would ever consider that there is a way to live in this passing and temporally ordered world and culture with our eyes set on the horizon of eternity?

“But this is what you propose, dear sister, to do with the remainder of your life: to enter into a vocation that is not just for a few fleeting years, not just until sadness and distress grip us, not just until something better comes along, but perpetually, forever.”

Love of God will sustain

He urged Sister John Patrick to yearn for the pure love and devotion to Jesus that the Blessed Virgin has. “Grab hold of it and never let it go, for it and it alone will sustain you as you live out the remainder of your earthly life as a bride of Christ, forever espoused to him, your beloved.”

Bishop Kemme said she is presently the sole member of the Servants of the Trinity but that she is not alone because the diocesan family will accompany her on her journey.

“We stand with you in admiration of your desires to live day by day the charism of your order: which is to strive to make your life a living liturgy, a lived doxology in praise of God, he said.

“With praise and glory in our hearts and on our lips, we give thanks to God for you, dear Sister John Patrick, on this day of your solemn perpetual profession. We rejoice that you have chosen to live out this call here in this diocese, which like me, you have come to love and call home.”

The Rite of Profession was made after the homily of the 90-minute Mass.

The rite included a “Calling and Request” at which Sister expressed her desire to make her profession. That was followed by questions from Bishop Kemme about her resolution to the profession, and by a Litany of the Saints during which Sister John Patrick lay prone in the sanctuary. Sister professed her vows, then signed the formula of profession on the altar. Bishop Kemme also signed the document. After making a solemn consecration, the bishop presented her with an monastic choir alb to be worn for liturgical ceremonies of the institute, and a breviary reminding her to pray the Liturgy of the Hours for the church in the world, for the Diocese of Wichita, and for the bishop and the priests of the diocese. The rite ended with a presentation of a candle reminder her of her baptism, and a Statement of Admission by Bishop Kemme confirming that she is “one with this local church as a member of the Servants of the Trinity, now, and forever.”

About Sister John Patrick

Sister joined the School Sisters of Christ the King of Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1977. She taught in the Lincoln Catholic elementary schools for many years and then moved on to coordinate the liturgy and music at Villa Regina Motherhouse, where she also taught courses on liturgy and religious life to sisters in formation.

After receiving the necessary permissions, Sister John Patrick moved to Wichita in 2007 for a period of discernment regarding the Servants of the Trinity. In her time in Wichita, Sister has served the diocese in the offices of archive, stewardship, and worship.

Sister John Patrick said the Servants of the Trinity are dedicated to promoting the Sacred Liturgy through devotion to and imitation of the Most Holy Trinity, the paschal mystery of Christ our High Priest, and Mary, Handmaid of the Lord.

Those who would like to donate to help promote vocations or learn more about the Servants of the Trinity, may write her at 424 N. Broadway, Wichita, KS 67202. Checks may be made out to the “Catholic Diocese of Wichita.”