Thoughts from the Prioress at Christmas

Thoughts from the Prioress at Christmas

Throughout Advent the community sang a musical refrain reminding us that Christ is the light that surrounds us, the love that enfolds us, the power that protects us, the presence that watches over us. Something stirred in me each time I heard it. It became my mantra through the Advent season and remains my mantra as we enter the Christmas season.

Christmas is a time for remembering and reveling in the birth of Christ. It is a time in which we celebrate the birth of Christ and the manifestation of Christ’s light in our world, all of which point to the reason why Christ came to earth. As Paul reminds us in the Letter to Titus: “The grace of God has appeared, offering salvation to all people” (Titus 2:1).

This makes me think of our Christmas tree. It has appeared in our monastery, so beautiful and fragrant. It stands tall, twinkles with light and glows with possibility. It is a reminder that Christmas is in our home. Its branches stretch outward inviting us to expand our hearts and our giving. The grace of God has appeared. It is a gift that calls us to bring light to a world in need of truth, peace and justice. It is a gift that calls us to stretch out our arms in reverence and care for those less fortunate. Christmas joy will be ours when we help bear the burdens of those in need and attempt to fill hurting hearts with the generous gifts of kindness, compassion and care. The Christmas tree is a strong reminder of Life, a life that came to birth so that we may have our hopes realized in the grace of salvation.

As the Christmas season unfolds for you and your family, may you know the fullness of Christ, the one who comes as a light in darkness filling the world with protection, power and presence — the one who brings Christmas to our hearts and our homes.

Blessings of peace, beauty and light be yours now and in the New Year!

Sister Anne Wambach, OSB, the twenty-first prioress of the Benedictine Sisters of Erie, Pennsylvania is a native of Philadelphia. She moved to Mount St. Benedict Monastery in 1992 to respond to a desire to experience the monastic way of life. Previously a member of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Chestnut Hill, Sister Anne began the formal transfer process to the Erie Benedictines in 1993 and made her monastic profession in 1997.

Sister Anne has served the people of the Diocese of Erie as a teacher at St. Gregory's School in North East, Pa., from 1992-1995, and at the Neighborhood Art House in Erie, beginning as program director in 1995 and as executive director since 2005. She served on the Monastic Council from 2006-2010.