By Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan

In the middle of the somberness of continuing COVID challenges, and the distressing tension on our beloved city’s streets, “Let there be light!”

I’ve got two occasions of joy and inspiration this coming week. I’m sure looking forward to them, and hope they’ll perk you up as well.

This Sunday, August 2, which Franciscans celebrate as the Feast of Our Lady of Angels, four wonderful young women—Natalie Cook, Emma Dickinson, Larissa Kriss, and Mary Margaret—will be invested as novices for our cherished Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal.Thus do they transition from postulants to novices, moving by God’s grace closer, please God, to eventual profession as consecrated women religious.

These four are sparkling young women. Larissa, from Austria, is a linguist and a nurse; Emma, from Maryland, is a former FOCUS missionary; Natalie, a former Life Team Missionary, came from Minnesota; and Mary Margaret, her class valedictorian and chemistry major, is from Michigan.

You, like me, know and love our Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal. A vibrant young order, they live simply the Franciscan rule in communities—the Bronx, Harlem, Atlantic City, and Ireland—devoting themselves to prayer and daily service to the poor. To meet them, and sense their joy and evangelical energy, explain why four extraordinary young women would be attracted to their vocation.

Then, on the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, August 6, I’ll rejoice with our legendary Sisters of Life, as I offer Mass at the Perpetual Profession of Sister Virginia Joy and Sister Naomi. Just two days prior, five young women—Sister Beata Victoria, Sister Leonie Therese, Sister Anima Christi, Sister Maria Augustine, and Sister Chiara Madonna—will have professed their first vows.

These seven women unite closely with the charism of the Sisters of Life, consecrated women especially beloved here in the archdiocese, as they were founded by Cardinal John O’Connor. Now they are internationally appreciated, as their apostolate of service to Jesus and His Church in protecting innocent human life is so compelling and timely.

I need these two ceremonies, as, like you, I search for sunbeams at a time when an eclipse seems to have overshadowed our world, our nation, our communities, our Church, even our families.

These women, at the prime of their lives, tell us that Jesus and His Church still glow, still call, still invite, are still magnetic. Jesus summons His Church to be a “light to the World.” Thanks, new sisters, for this message of hope!