Monday, August 13, 2007

Sacrament of Anointing

One of the most special moments of summer community days is the annual Sacrament of Anointing. This year 25 were anointed as part of Evening Praise Thursday night. Our relatively young member, well along into Alzheimer's, was there. The sister who is in the final stage of breast cancer came with all her oxygen paraphernalia. Another, just recovering from extensive foot surgery, wheeled herself to the chapel. And, of course, our oldest members ask for anointing each year just to receive the grace of the sacrament.

Along with the sisters who were anointed was the brother of one of our sisters who resides in our infirmary, two mothers of our sisters who live at nearby Benetwood Apartments, and one of our infirmary aides who herself has serious health problems. The prioress and the director of health services accompany the priest as he makes his way from one person to the next. As the person is anointed everyone nearby joins the presider by laying a hand in blessing on the person. It is a lovely and very moving service.

Here's an excerpt from Miriam Therese Winter's prayer that we used. "Anoint me with the oil of integrity, O God, and the seal of Your sanctifying Spirit...Anoint my heart with warmth and compassion and a genuine generosity toward all who are in need...Anoint the whole of me, O Holy One, that I too may be holy..."