By Sister Maria Hughes, ASC

Tomorrow, on March 4, Adorers of the Blood of Christ will mark the 185th anniversary of our founding by a young woman who later would become a saint. As an Adorer, I find myself pondering, what is it we celebrate? The day marks the time a young woman chose a way of life, a vocation.

When the young Maria De Mattias founded the congregation in 1834, it was in response to a need. She was an ordinary young Italian woman, inviting others into the heart of mission and she set into motion a worldwide web of compassion, courage, and commitment.

She responded through faith and courage. She did not have a grand plan. She listened, discerned and responded with full heart and radical trust.

One of my favorite quotes from her letters is translated; “Courage, all good comes from God, let us place ourselves completely in God’s arms and we shall see miracles.”

 I recently came upon a poem by John O’Donahue, “To Come Home to Yourself.” Perhaps this one line speaks to the way of life Maria chose 185 years ago; “May all that is unlived in you, blossom into a future graced with love.”

So what do we celebrate?

I believe we celebrate more than a century of a global communion of hearts joined in courage, compassion, and commitment, women who respond with all charity and love wherever need touches their hearts.

We celebrate a great ASC family of Sisters and followers, the Associates, Junior Associates, and Sojourners who continue the mission of love and charity as compassionate presence.

We celebrate the many “dear neighbors” who have supported this community and its mission. We celebrate those who call to us for presence and compassion, those whom others might ignore, and those who seek understanding, respect and love, and an earth communion in care of our common home.

We celebrate the future Adorers and collaborators who in ways beyond our imagining will carry on Maria’s vision of a “beautiful order of things that Christ came to establish through his precious Blood.”

We celebrate God’s faithful call, to be people who know how to bring all things together according to God’s plan and are ready to see miracles. We celebrate one woman’s love of her “dear neighbors” on a mountain in Italy that has led to a global communion of hearts graced with love.