(Kežmarok, Slovakia) Fr. Václav Hypius, CSsR, the Redemptorist Provincial and President of the Conference of Major Religious Superiors of Slovakia, blessed an icon of the Redemptoristine Nuns’ Foundress on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and the anniversary of the death of Bl. Maria Celeste Crostarosa, on 14 September 2019. This icon is on the right-hand side of the monastery church in Kežmarok and was painted by the artist and sculptor Jaroslav Halmo.
In his homily, Fr. Václav emphasized the mystery of the Cross and its meaning in the life of a believer. He ended with this simile: the view from the monastery, located above Kežmarok, enables us to see much more and further than we could see from the level of the town below. In the same way, embracing the crosses in our own lives lifts us up to the Crucified, uniting us with Him and transforming our view of life; from the cross, we can see our life from ‘God’s point of view’.
After the mass, Fr. Jozef Brodňanský, OSB, from the Benedictine monastery in Sampor, explained the symbols shown in the details of the icon that were used by the artist, Jaroslav Halmo. He shows us that this world can ask us two questions: do we believe in the world or do we believe in God? If we believe in God, the icon of Bl. Maria Celesta is an expression of her faith in God, by not following her personal ambitions and desires, which is opposite to the thinking of this world. She was able to give up her own ego for the sake of her community, which still exists, here in Kežmarok and all over the world. The artist would like us to be taught by Maria Celesta to listen to God in prayer and silence because it is often our flow of words to God, which prevent us from hearing what God wants to tell us.
The nuns, together with the invited guests, commemorated the hour of Bl. Maria Celesta’s meeting with her Maker at 15:00 in the afternoon. After a short reading about her passing, we made the Way of the Cross, enriched by texts from her autobiography. The Stations of the Cross reminded us how much her life was united to the life of Christ. The suffering she had to undergo that led to her determined attitude: ‘From now on, my only desire is to imprint the crucified Jesus, His holy gospel and holy faith onto my heart with all my might. (…)With all my heart I desire to reach my only and final goal – complete union with my only and supreme Good, and to Him only I want to appeal.’
Redemptoristine Nuns, Kežmarok, Slovakia