On the evening of 4 March, a Mass of thanksgiving was held at Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St Simon Stock Church in Kensington to commemorate the 150th anniversary of St Maria Micaela, foundress of the Adorers, Handmaids of the Blessed Sacrament and of Charity.
The principal celebrant was Cardinal Vincent who paid tribute to Mother Sacramento, as she chose to be known, and her devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. Recalling her words that the ‘Holy Sacrament is my life and my element’, he explained that at ‘a time when the priest wanted to take away from her Centre the Blessed Sacrament, she said “If the Lord goes way from this house, I will go with him; nothing will make we leave the work…But without him I will not stay here, not even for an hour!”’
He said that ‘her actions are even more eloquent, giving up her own considerable share of “the world’s goods” to open her heart completely to the needs of the little one, of the lost and abandoned.’
Speaking about her work, the Cardinal said: ‘From her first meeting, whilst still a youngster, with poor and uneducated girls through her first meeting with a victim of prostitution who was the daughter of a prominent banker, Maria Micaela sought out the lost and brought them compassion, love and true light.
‘In our world today we are surrounded by people who are lost and abandoned. Today we think especially of women trafficked into prostitution, here in this city and all around the world. It is, in the words of Pope Francis, “a great wound in the flesh of humanity, in the Body of Christ.”’
The Cardinal also spoke of his ‘sense of wonder’ when he first met the Adoratrices and ‘learned that the healing of this wound has been their charism for 150 years!’
He paid tribute to the sisters who are ‘inspiring handmaids of charity, responding with intelligence, experience, skill and compassion to the plight of the poorer in 162 Houses spread across four continents’. He called them ‘missioners of mercy of the first order’.
Looking at the source of this mercy, the Cardinal said: ‘It is, of course, in their love of Jesus, constantly present to us in the Blessed Sacrament. It is in his company that we will find the true and living mercy with which he can fill our hearts and which we then hold out to others. We love because he first loves us. We are merciful because we first receive mercy. We are servants because he is first our Servant King.’
He thanked the sisters, saying, ‘May God bless the Adoratrices, in every part of the world. May they provoke in us all a great love of God and a more effective service in our world.’
The full text of the Cardinal’s homily is available here.