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The Youngest Nun: Life Transformed

July 21, 2015   |   Lynn Mousel



by CHM Sister Lynn Mousel
The "Youngest Nun" 


In June I returned to Davenport, Iowa, for the Annual CHM Assembly. The day I was to return to my home in Montana, I had a wonderful surprise. On the way to the dining room for my morning coffee I was stopped by Sister Joan Marie Schuster who let me know a butterfly was soon going to escape from its cocoon. (Thanks to the efforts of Sr. Delphine Vasquez, there are a number of Monarch chrysalises around the Humility of Mary Center (HMC) every summer.)

Having never witnessed such an event, I wasn’t about to miss it. For two hours I watched intently as the chrysalis continuously changed ever so slightly, getting closer and closer to the anticipated moment. We knew it wouldn't be long because it had turned from light green to black and as it gradually became  more and more translucent I could see the butterfly’s orange wing through the membrane. Finally, (while missing morning mass) I saw a crack in the thin clear armor and the butterfly emerged. After lunch the Monarch was dry and flew off when we opened the terrarium.

An event such as this in creation gives much to reflect on. How fitting that the theme of our assembly prayers was "having faith in times of darkness." New and exciting things are happening in religious life, but for now we don’t know what this will look like. During assembly the CHM vowed members and their associates reflected on what direction God might be calling us.

The same morning the butterfly was released, we received word at HMC that Sr. Mary Ann Leto had died rather unexpectedly in Des Moines. I had the privilege of knowing her when I lived there during my years of formation. The butterfly was a beautiful symbol of Sr. Mary Ann making her transformation into eternal life. Her time of waiting to see all the goodness of God has ended. We pray to wait patiently and believe in the good things to come.

Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.

Saint Augustine