The following comes from a Sept. 7 story by Michele Jurich in the Catholic Voice of the Oakland diocese.
There has been much to celebrate at the Carmel of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in Kensington. The cloistered sisters, who moved to California from Nebraska three years ago, are the grateful recipients of a generous donor’s gift of a monastery.
Additional donors have helped to repair the property, which had been vacant for several years.
On two special days this summer, the solemn profession and veiling was celebrated in the chapel, with both Oakland Bishop Michael Barber, SJ, and San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, who as bishop of Oakland had welcomed the sisters from Nebraska to their temporary home in Canyon.
In a ceremony dating back to St. Teresa of Avila, each sister, on her special day, made her final profession of vows and received, from Bishop Barber, the black veil that signifies her new status.
While friends and family filled the chapel, taking every available space in the pews and spilling out onto the courtyard, much of the ritual takes place beyond the eye of the spectators. The sisters, both of whom refuse to be identified, are seated behind the grille that separates them from the public portion of the chapel.
As she made some of her vows, and as she received her black veil, the sister could be glimpsed through the communion window behind the altar.
But she could be heard, as could her sisters, who sang and chanted during the Latin Mass.
In his homily at the Aug. 5 profession, Bishop Barber shed some light about the ceremony. Reading from the rubric for the rite, the bishop said, “The newly professed kneels at the communion window, the bishop places the veil on her head, and covers her face with it, saying at the same time in Latin, ‘Accept the holy veil, sign of reverence and modesty, which you will wear at the judgment seat of Our Lord Jesus Christ, that you may have life eternal, and live for ages of ages.'”
He then answered the question of why the bishop covers her face with the veil. “Because those who look on the Lord face to face cover their faces,” he said. “The prophet Isaiah saw angels covering their faces in the presence of the Lord.” Moses, too, covered his face because it reflected the glory of God….