About Sister Maria Ahearn

By Sister Maria Ahearn

My Solemn Profession in August 1962 took place as our Order was celebrating the 400th Anniversary of OHM St. Teresa’s founding of St. Joseph’s Monastery in Avila in 1562. On Oct. 11, 1962 the Second Vatican Council opened in Rome. I will be forever grateful for the legacy of the Carmelite life that had come down to us relatively unchanged over 400 years and for the priceless opportunity that the Council gave us to renew and adapt our life in our time and place.

This was the era of the Scriptural renewal as the findings of contemporary scholars began to be recognized and taught throughout the Church.

The Liturgical movement was gaining broader acceptance and would culminate in the document Sacrosanctum Concilium. In our own country forces were being discovered which would change the face of American Society: the civil rights movement, an emerging Feminist spirituality, new dialogues with authority.

The societal changes took place outside the cloister, but also shaped the vision of our community. Our collegial form of leadership, our printshop, the form of the divine office, our embrace of the principle of unity in diversity, our outreach to the community outside the monastery continue to testify to our place in a unique moment in history.

In a 1967 commentary on the Document Dei Verbum Benedict XVI wrote of the principles which guided us: “It is important that the whole experience of the Church, its believing, praying, and loving intercourse with the Lord and his word, causes our understanding of the original truth to grow and in the today of faith extracts anew from the yesterday of its historical origin what was meant for all time and yet can be understood only in the changing ages and in the particular way of each era.”