On Monday, April 9th, the Capuchin Poor Clare community of sisters came together with Friars of the province to celebrate and witness a simple, longlasting yet heroic profession of faith. Capuchin Poor Clare, Sister Margarita Maria Barrientos was joined with her Franciscan family to celebrate her 60th year of profession.
With a candlelit flame in her hand and a crown of flowers on her head, Sister Margarita slowly walked down the isle of St. Patrick’s Mission Church with her Capuchin Brothers and Poor Clare sisters following. Many parishioners and friends were present, also among them was her niece and nephew visiting from California. During the Celebration, Fr. Christopher Popravak, Provincial Minister of the Capuchin Province noted her dedication, her prayer-life and joyful witness to the community that she has been apart of. Even now, on her 60th year of profession, Sister Margarita’s charisma of prayer, joy and Franciscan simplicity is still visible among the community. She loves spending time in the chapel, praying alone or with the community. Life in the community is enjoyable for her and it brings joy just as it did in her earlier years. Although small in size, Sr. Margarita is big in her playfulness and humor. She was dubbed a “prankster” because of her humorous activities among the sisters.
In her early years, Margarita had her share of sacrifice that would make a profound statement among the community she would soon join. Choosing to live as a Capuchin Poor Clare, she left her home and entered the Irapuato community in 1955 at the age of 16. Three years later she solemnly professed to the life that brought her joy and Sr. Margarita would continue her life of prayer, sacrifice and love. She portrayed an edifying willingness to trust God even at such a young age. In 1988, 30 years after her profession, Sr. Margarita was among 10 sisters chosen to establish a new monastery in Denver. She persevered, remained obedient and faithful to her task and on the night of November 17, 1988, Our Lady of Light Monastery was established. This year will be the 30th anniversary since the Poor Clare Community’s arrival. Since then, the seeds of prayer and love that were sown by the original founding sisters has made a lasting impact on the neighborhood and surrounding communities.
Fr. Christopher Popravak, Provincial Minister blessing Sr. Margarita Maria just after renewing her vows.
The life of Sister Margarita is a testament to an authentic joy that can be found in religious life. It can be a sought out vocation in a world that so often says otherwise. It’s one that involves sacrifice, dedication, prayer and lasting conversion. According to Sr. Margarita’s life, living as a consecrated or professed brother or sister is a real race that does not involve winning or finishing with the best time. Rather, It involves enduring with patience and perseverance, trusting God every step of the way.
In the opening lines of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete Et Exsultate, Francis re-proposes the call to Holiness by recalling the words given to the Hebrews “Run with perseverance the race that is set before you.” (Hebrews 12:1) Despite the challenges that are to be faced, the difficulties and doubts that arise we are called all the more to live a life of prayer, and joyful conviction offering everything that we are to the Father, trusting that He will enable us to live a life that is closest to Him!
When asked about the life as a Poor Clare, she says she has never regretted her vocation and the decision she has made. “I continue to be happy after all these years. I would do it again.”
Sr. Margarita Maria Barrientos on the celebration of her 60th year of profession.
“We are all called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves. Are you called to the consecrated life? Be holy by living out your commitment with joy.” -Pope Francis, Gaudete Et Exsultet
To those discerning the consecrated life as a religious, Sr. Margarita offers three pieces of advice:
1. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten you with good discernment.
2. Seek spiritual adviser from a prayerful person.
3. Do not be afraid to have a live-in experience with a community.
To find out more about the Capuchin Poor Clares in Denver visit http://www.capuchinpoorclares.org/page109.html