Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God is one of the most eloquent, passionate, filled-with-the-fire-of-faith women it has been our privilege to come to know. Born Rosalind Moss into a Conservative Jewish family in Brooklyn, New York, after a long spiritual journey, she became just four months ago, on September 8, a Benedictine nun and the foundress of her own order within the Benedictine family, Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel’s Hope, based in Tulsa, Oklahoma (USA). For her example as a seeker of truth, for her honesty as a person willing to suffer for the truth she has found, for her joyfulness in living out her vocation, we are privileged to be able to choose her among our “Top Ten” people of 2011.
In the text of Bishop Edward Slattery’s decree establishing the new religious community, Slattery wrote: “In every age and place, the Holy Spirit, Lord and Giver of Life, is at work in the Body of Christ to regenerate and extend the various forms of consecrated life by which the Church is enriched and made present in the world…. Moreover, from Apostolic times, unmarried women and widows have sought to imitate the Daughter of Sion, the Blessed Virgin Mary, in her unconditional surrender to the will of the Father and the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit. Having said her ‘Yes’ in response to the message of the Archangel Gabriel, the Virgin of Nazareth became blessed above all women, the Joy of Israel, and the Glory of Jerusalem.”
Slattery continued: “Among the women who seek to imitate the Blessed Virgin Mary and aspire to share in her spiritual motherhood today, are the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel’s Hope. The mystery of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple is the luminous pattern of their ecclesial mission to all peoples: Jew and Gentile, young and old, rich and poor. Contemplating that mystery, they rejoice that the Light of the World has come, and receive the Child Jesus, Israel’s Hope and Consolation, from the arms of His Blessed Mother as did Simeon; their mission is to teach others to do likewise, and so find hope in this valley of tears.
“They listen to Simeon’s prophetic utterance and recognize in his arms the Promised One, who from the altar of the Cross will offer Himself to the Father as the Atoning Lamb. Thus are they compelled to undertake works of catechesis so that all peoples may find in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass the wellspring of salvation, life, and resurrection….
“New foundations of consecrated life are fragile undertakings; they must welcome the wisdom of past generations with humility and gratitude, learning from the teaching and example of the saints who never grow old. It is by a sure and praiseworthy instinct, then, that the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel’s Hope, have chosen to graft their tender shoot onto the age-old tree of the Benedictine tradition…
“For this reason, it pleases me to confirm and approve the Rule of St. Benedict as the fundamental pattern of the life of the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel’s Hope. Their life will be further governed by the Constitutions here appended, which I hereby approve and promulgate…
“In accord with the aforementioned Constitutions, I appoint Rosalind Moss, in religion, Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, prioress of the Community, and authorize the opening of their residence in the Diocese of Tulsa as the Priory of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
“Given in Tulsa, in the Year of Our Lord 2011, on this 8th day of September, the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.”
In an interview with Trent Beattie of the National Catholic Register published on December 8, entitled “Rosalind Moss’ Unexpected Journey,” Mother Miriam explained her feelings on the day of her entrance into religious life in these words: “If there were a more glorious day in my life, I can’t think of when it was. I have always felt that I was made for another world and that I was a pilgrim in this one. Giving my life to God through Christ from my Jewish background changed my life forever. Coming further into the fullness of Christianity 18 years later in the Catholic Church deepened my relationship with God more than I knew was possible. Still, even after these life-changing events, there remained a longing in my heart for something yet beyond this world. On September 8, in the small Monastery of the Cenacle of Our Lady in Tulsa, heaven seemed to flood my heart as Bishop Slattery received my vows and as, through that beautiful and holy shepherd of Tulsa, I gave myself to the Bridegroom of my soul.
“Bishop Slattery led the ceremony, with the assistance of Father Mark Daniel Kirby, O.S.B. About 15 people were in attendance, including priests, religious brothers and sisters. The Nativity of Our Lord was brought to mind, which, like our setting in the small oratory, was a private event, with even less than 15 people in attendance. Yet the seemingly humble, private and hidden birth of our Lord resulted in the world’s salvation. Our prayer is that that same Lord in the manger would be pleased to grow the seed of our humble, private beginning into a means of salvation and hope for many souls.”