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Living within the Fiats

by Sr. Bethany Madonna, SV

We have a friend in Manhattan named Benedict, who suffers from a genetic disorder that has required him to undergo countless surgeries throughout his life. The kid is brilliant, and his eyes are always fixed on Jesus. One day, when he was six years old, Benedict came over to our convent to meet the new Sisters. As he was introduced to each, he would comment on her patron saint. But then he came to Sister Fiat. He looked at his Mom, stumped. “Fiat? Who is FIAT?” His mom answered him with a question: “Benedict – tell me – what were God’s first words in the book of Genesis?” “Let there be light.” “Exactly! In Latin – FIAT LUX. And what did Mary say in response to the Angel Gabriel?” “Be it done unto me.” “Yes, FIAT MIHI. And then…do you remember Jesus’ words to His Father before His passion?” “Not my will but Your will be done”… “Correct again – FIAT VOLUNTAS TUA. That is what ‘fiat’ means.” Benedict looked back at Sr. Fiat, took her by the hand, and gave her a handshake that went up her entire arm, as if to say, “Congratulations on the best name imaginable.”

As we ponder the Passion of Our Lord, I am always taken by His words to the Father as He was in agony in the garden, “Not my will, but Thine be done”… I am moved by His surrender, trust, willingness to receive, engage, respond with consent. His fiat is my salvation.

The fact that the Solemnity of the Annunciation falls within the holy and penitential season of Lent is uniquely beautiful and stark, as we hear the Blessed Mother speak her own fiat! Hers continues to reverberate throughout the universe and history, this word that welcomed Christ the Word, so He could be conceived and born into the world He came to redeem. Her fiat is the cause of my joy!

In these days – heart-rending, strange and unprecedented – I find myself desiring to live within these fiats, within the Hearts that gave them, and from therein to give mine, over and over again.

The saints show us examples of echoing the fiat. I think of Edith Stein (St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross), who also had to live without the Mass and the Blessed Sacrament during the Nazi occupation and before her death at Auschwitz.

She once said, “For us (the Sacraments) are the prescribed means to grace, and we cannot receive them eagerly enough. But God is not bound to them. At the moment when some external force were to cut us off from receiving the sacraments, he could compensate us, superabundantly, in some other way; and he will do so all the more certainly and generously the more faithfully we have adhered to the Sacraments previously.” (emphasis added)

As we live in these days, obedient and submissive to the mysterious plan being unfurled, trusting in the goodness, providence and mercy of God in all of it… let us cry out in prayer and in our hearts, “Fiat mihi; fiat voluntas tua.”

~Sr. Bethany Madonna, SV

You and your family and friends are in our closest prayers during this time! Please enjoy this song, written by one of our Sisters – “Like A Child”- and find your rest in the Father.

Like a Child, by the Sisters of Life


We had to cancel our Come&See West in Denver this April, however the Discernment Retreat in May has not yet been cancelled. We are waiting until the end of April, how the weeks will unfold.


Here are a few helps to be able to ask the Lord to “compensate abundantly!” and provide even more graces in this time:

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