(Sr. Eden Marie wrote the following letter upon receiving her habit and new name as a Sister of Life in July 2019. We are sharing it with her full permission.)
This name was first spoken to me a year and a half ago, and since then, it has continued to bloom and take on ever newer and deeper meaning in my own heart. Therefore, I feel very poor in being able to explain it to you…mainly because it is still much of a mystery to me, since within Eden Marie lies the mystery of who I am, the “great idea” that prompted my life to be created by God, which is ever unfolding!
First of all, a religious name speaks of a person’s identity…it touches on who someone is as a unique and unrepeatable human person. Therefore, Eden Marie is not the negation or end of who I was; rather, it speaks of the deepening of my identity. This new name is simply a flourishing of my baptismal name: Sharon Marie. In Hebrew, “Sharon” means fertile field, so literally “Eden” is the blossoming of this fertile field! It is His promise that He is indeed making me a new creation…that He will “make [my] wilderness like Eden.” (Isaiah 51:3)
Also, a religious name speaks of one’s mission - the unique way that God will use me to transform and heal the world. This is where the mystery of Eden Marie begins to baffle me, so I will do my best! I’ll first share what it means theologically, and then what He’s revealed to me personally.
When you hear “Eden,” you probably think of our original innocence and intimacy with God…how it was “in the beginning.” Truly, the inherent goodness of man flows out of the creation accounts in Genesis. However, Eden also contains the fall of man. Quickly, we are brought face to face with our current reality - the reality of evil and suffering amidst the goodness of creation. Yet in the face of this confusion, a promise is spoken. God promises the redemption of man, and therefore, it is in Eden that hope is born. Through Mary, we find the fulfillment of that promise, that hope, in the fruit of her womb, Jesus. After Mary’s “yes,” she becomes the “new Eden.” Whereas before, rivers of living water flowed from the Garden of Eden, now, living waters flow within every human heart from the Heart of Jesus. Therefore, together, Eden Marie represents a full picture of the human person. I’ve come to associate this name with the end of the Glory Be “…as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.” Within this name, one finds original man, historical man, and eschatological man, and the reality connecting all three, which is the sacredness of each human life - made by Love and for Love.
So how does this speak of my mission? The best way I can describe it is through an image I love of Mary, who is pregnant with Jesus, comforting Eve beside the tree in the Garden of Eden. As I grow in intimacy with Him, and “conceive” Him within my very being, I will go out to others, and they will be healed by His presence within me. Through the gifts He gives me and continues to develop within me, such as my understanding of the human person and ability to receive and listen deeply to others, He calls me to remind others of the echo of Eden within their own hearts…to speak the truth, and not necessarily with words, that you are good. That you, as you are, have been chosen by God, and you, as you are at this very moment, are loved by God. There is nothing you can do to diminish or lose this truth about yourself. It was proven when God became man! He calls me to magnify this echo of truth that exists within every human heart, so that others have the courage to believe it…to believe in their goodness…so that they can open the doors of their own hearts to Christ.
Please pray for me as I receive this new name! Pray that I will be faithful to what He is speaking of me…that I may receive the grace to truly become Eden Marie. And know that you are always deep within my heart and in my prayers! Let us run continuously to Him - verso l’alto!
All my love, In His Heart,
Sister Eden Marie Veazey
We are beyond blessed with an amazing community of teens, young adults, priests, consecrated men and women, and families who are striving to live out Christ's invitation to authentic love and who have gifts to share their journeys through writing.