We met the hand on the right a dozen years ago. She was my boss for four years. She has been our friend for twelve. We see each other once or twice a year. We went to her fortieth anniversary of being a sister a few years ago. She felt bad about not being able to attend my ordination.
I love to listen to these two women, these two friends of mine, these two friends of God. They understand devotion very well. They laugh as they talk.
On one hand, they have little in common. Different religious communities. Children and childless. Always together, always alone. Support jobs, senior administrator.
And yet, this they have in common. They both have made a solemn vow. They are completely commited to a promise they each made. They are fully aware of what it has meant to give up other things to keep that promise. They are fully aware that there is a dependence, a willing submission. And that submission, which could destroy if forced, is a choice that they have made and keep making.
I watch them both with great respect and deep affection. In four years, one shaped me professionally. In 25 years, the other has shaped me in every possible way. Each has shaped colleagues, children, students, organizations.
These two women, with their commitment to God and to others, show well what keeping a vow means.