October 4th, 2019 I took vows for my vocation as sister of the Fransican Oblate of Mount Carmel which so happened to be St. Francis of Assisi “ feast day”. It was the most exiciting, emotional, nerve racking day of my life lol. That is, the day I officilay said goodbye to the world and took on my new name and earthly garments… my habit
As a protestant growing up I was unaware of who St. Francis of Assisi was or the saints at large. I didn’t know very much about the “religious life” only what I had seen on TV, with nuns and monks. My dad however, is Catholic and upon me giving my life to Jesus he had mentioned to me that maybe I should join a catholic convent because I was so zealous for the Lord. Immeaditely I retored in my pride that the Lord was not into denominations and I didn’t need to join a covent to walk out my faith.” Oh my, how I reaked with pride and still do but the Lord is truly bringing me lower and lower in humility as he shows me the nothing I truly am. So now 2 years later, I have taken my religious vows and joined the order of one of the greatest saints, who would’ve thought… I know Jesus did lol. He is the only one who could’ve taken a fashion designer pursuing the world, success, honor, fame and put her in the most beautiful garment in all the world…a habit.
1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
You see St. Francis took those words quite literally, and all of God’s word. His heart burned to live out the gospel just as Jesus did and by the Lords grace he did just that. He was a son of a wealthy merchant who was also into the high life. He embarked on a military career where he wanted to become a knight. However, through a serious of illness which stopped this pursuit and 2 visions from God. The Divine intervened and he began to pursue the Lord and in a church looking upon a cross he heard Jesus say “Go, Francis and repair my church, which as you see is falling into ruin”. Francis immeaditely thought the Lord was speaking about the church he was in, St. Damaian which was run down. So he went to his Fathers shop and sold all the fine linens to get money to rebuild the church. The Father was irate, renounced him, beat Francis, took him to trial before the Bishop of his time demanding all the money back. The Bishop at the time told him to give his Fathers money back and that the Lord would provide for him to rebuild the church. At that point Francis, had a divine enlightened as the scripture from Matthew came to his mine “ Our Father who are in Heaven”. He renounced his entire family, father, fortune and realized now had a Father in heaven who would provide for him. He needed no connection with the world, he stripped off all his clothes gave them to his Father as the Bishop covered him and as he turned his back literally on the world. He then placed upon himself “ a brown potatoe sackcloth” as his garment of choice. To love our lady Poverty as our Lord Jesus did
St. Francis, heart burned to live the gospel out literally by these scriptures revealed to him by the Lord.
Matthew 10:8 Freely have you received freely give.
Luke 9:3 “Take nothing for your journey,” he instructed them. Don’t take a walking stick, a traverlers bag, good, money or even a change of clothes”
Matthew 19:21 Jesus answered, “if you want to be perfect, go, sell your possesions and give to the poor, and you will have treasures in heaven. Then come, follow me”
Francis took these words literally and lived out these scriptures unto his death which have impacted the church still centuries later. These same scriptures the Lord burned in my heart to take very seriously and literally. After losing my job, I began to give all my things away, giving to the poor and he desires for me not too charge any fee in anything that I do or give becaue I have freely reiceved. So coming to New Mexico I had no idea what the Lord had in store and didn’t know what to expect. However, it was after a month of being here that I learned Father and Mother Clare where Fransiscan and as we watched the movie “ Brother sun, sister Moon” about the life of St. Francis of Assisi my heart burned yet again. This is always wanted I wanted, or better yet what the Lord wanted for me! I just didn’t see any example in front of me to follow.
Now putting on the habit was a different story, when I found out that I would have too, or let me rephrase that. That I would get to wear the habit for the rest of my life as a wedding garment unto the Lord I was repulsed at first. I could live the life of a Franscican with the Lords help but, to really let go of the world in that way, I wasn’t sure I was ready for it. It took about 2 more months after watching that film then one day the Lord impressed it on Father Ezekiels heart that he wanted his bride in a habit NOW. No more waiting, not only that but, he wanted to give me a new name I was perplexed to say the least. After hearing these things which I couldn’t object too my heart was racing. I came face to face with the reality that maybe my heart was still in the world, I was so attached to my looks, my persona, and my name. My, my, my sheesh, does someone need to die to self or what lol. Immeaditly I told them I would adhere to the Lords request but, if they would give me a moment too to talk with him. So I ran to Blessed Mothers prayer tree and just bared my heart too her. I told her about my fears, anxieties, and once again what people would think. However, I told her if Jesus wanted this I wanted it too but please give me the peace and fill my heart to love the Lords will. She did just that as she always does!! Blessed Mother is the best, I found myself within an hour flooded with such peace , joy and even a new name. I heard in my spirit “ your name is Mary Elisha, Mary Elisha” so I sought the Lord on discernment and he confirmed that was him.
So on Oct 4th, which we didn’t plan for but Jesus did, I took my religious vows and made a professed my vocation as a third order Franscain oblate. Nana, died that day for the world and all of heaven too see as my witnessess that I indeed had renounced the world and had taken up my wedding garment from the Lord, my habit. An oblate is simply the noun tense of an Oblation which means: a thing presented or offered to God. So one who has made an offering of their life to God as a living sacrifice, picking up their cross daily and following Jesus. The grey habit is to signify “sackcloth” and the brown portion of my garment is called a scapular. It represents Our Blessed Mother who came to one of the Carmelite saints “Simon Stock” wearing the same habit in an apparition. She was wearing the brown scapular and holding a scapular that goes around your neck. Also holding infant Jesus who was wearing the same thing. The scapular represents our servanthood putting the apron on, washing the feet of all those we meet and a brown cord with 5 knots for our 5 vows. A vow of chasity (which is faithfulness to the Lord), a vow of obedience, a vow of holy poverty, a vow of substantial prayer and a vow of substantial solitude. Carmelites dedicated their lives very much like Prophet Elijah and Elisha in prayer and solitude.
I took off the old life, the old nature, the old creation which belongs to my former manner of life which was corrupt with deceitful desires and now have put on my new self, increated after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. I have been made new! My habit is a sign to my family, friends and the world that I no longer belong to the world nor love the world but have been sent as the Lords’s bride and disciple to serve, love, honor all in humility, simplicy and poverty.
I hope you get a “New Habit” this year too!
-From Jesus With Love