By JOANNE FOX
ELKHORN, Neb. – Mary Hildman of Sioux City hoped her call to the consecrated life would both “nourish” her own heart and serve as “nourishment” for others.
Hildman professed final vows in the Institute of the Apostolic Oblates on May 20 at St. Patrick Church, Elkhorn.
Four women made final promises as cooperatives and five women participated in the beginning of formation as cooperatives, in the secular institute founded in 1947 by Bishop Guglielmo Giaquinta, Servant of God.
The Institute of the Apostolic Oblates is an international, secular institute of pontifical rite in the Catholic Church. These consecrated women dedicate their lives through vows and an apostolate. The apostolate may include: retreats, college and young adult ministry parish work, spiritual direction and secular jobs.
Hildman’s apostolate is through her work as the activity director at Holy Spirit Retirement Home.
“There, I have the opportunity to live and share the spirituality of our founder,” she said. “His spirituality was characterized by a continual listening to the ‘I Thirst’ of the Crucified Jesus, consecration to redemptive love, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, filial devotion to Mary, Our Lady of Trust, and loving fidelity to the church and the Holy Father.”
The Internal Oblates live in community and are fully available for the institute. The External Oblates, like Hildman, live on their own, serving especially through their profession.
Though the Apostolic Oblates’ work is varied, their primary apostolate is the Pro Sanctity Movement, a worldwide movement in the church dedicated to spreading the universal call to holiness, grounded in Scripture, “You shall be holy, for I am holy” 1 Peter 1:14-16, Hildman noted.
“Pro Sanctity seeks to address the needs of the mind with theology, the heart with spirituality and the hands with ministry,” she said. “It is open to all, especially those who wish to deepen their commitment to God and share with others the message of holiness.”
Hildman felt a calling from God to live as a single, consecrated woman in the world.
“My question was, ‘How should I do this?’” she queried.
“Then, I discovered that Bishop Giaquinta brought together people of different callings to be a part of the Pro Sanctity family. I liked this concept,” Hildman replied. “The joy and love shared in this total membership, with a dedicated common spirituality and mission, drew me in.”
Hildman started her journey in 1998 inquiring about Pro Sanctity. She became an Oblate candidate in 2004 and made her first profession as an Apostolic Oblate in 2007.
“It has been a beautiful journey filled with support in my spiritual life from all the Pro Sanctity members,” she said.
In his homily at the Mass, Father Frank E. Jendra, an Apostolic Sodales with the Apostolic Oblates, referenced St. Augustine, who said, “Inside of every one of us is a heartfelt void which only can be filled by God.”
“That something I long for is that embrace of God, both by us embracing him and him embracing us,” said the pastor of St. Mary and SS. Peter and Paul Churches in Omaha. “That is what the Pro Sanctity family is all about – helping to fill that thirst in our souls, that longing in our hearts.”
When an Oblate takes vows, she receives a gown and veil worn only for special liturgical celebrations, as a sign of her consecration. She also receives a medal of Our Lady of Trust, Hildman explained.
“This image of Mary was chosen by our founder to be our patron and can be worn at all times as a sign of our commitment,” she said. “The gown and veil are only worn for certain occasions.”
In her final profession prayer, Hildman petitioned Mary, Our Lady of Trust, “to point me to every action of Jesus in his redemptive love.”
“Lord, I come to you today with my heart full of gratitude,” she said. “With the tools of consecration, I trust that you will nourish my heart, so my life may be nourishment for others, as well.”