Today, I was privileged to attend a gathering for young women of our diocese, entitled Decora. It celebrated the gift of femininity and was a wonderful opportunity! I was invited last evening by our Sisters from Little Flower in Rugby, who spent the night at our convent before traveling to Fargo.
Since my scheduled duties here at St. Anne’s for this day were minimal, I made arrangements, obtained permissions, and hit the road with my fellow Sisters. This morning’s gospel passage, which I meditated upon in our chapel here and then heard at Mass seemed fitting for me this day.
Jesus encouraged His disciples: “Come away by yourselves…and rest a while.” Along with ‘being present’ (as they say) with my Sisters, this little day trip was a nice opportunity to get out, and was refreshing. It was neat to celebrate our God-given dignity as women with a good-sized group of young ladies from around the area.
Before even attending, the title of the upcoming workshop again reminded me of the Marian antiphon traditionally used after night prayer at this time of year (from Feb. 2 through the end of Lent). The Latin title is Ave, Regina Caelorum. The word decora is found within the text of this antiphon, which is often sung. I remember the first time I ever heard it when I was visiting a different Religious Community before finding the Franciscan congregation to which I now belong.
With a limited knowledge of Latin, I was uncertain as to the meaning of the word decora and was a bit curious, since that was the title given to today’s gathering.
Doing a little online research, I found the definition of the root word as follows:
- honor, distinction, glory
- pride, dignity
- grace, splendor, ornament, beauty
To me, this fits perfectly: these words are a beautiful reflection on our Blessed Mother Mary, to whom the ancient text is directed. Also, the words fit well with the talks we heard today. We, as women, were reminded of the glory, dignity, honor, and beauty of our femininity.
We are blessed to have to have Mary as a model to look to in living out God’s call for us as women. It’s wonderful, too, that we can turn to her for motherly help and intercession.
Sr. Christina M. Neumann