Six women profess initial vows as Sisters of the Holy Cross
Notre Dame, Ind. — Six women from Africa and Asia made their initial profession of vows as Sisters of the Holy Cross on May 27 in a simple ceremony in the Church of Our Lady of Loretto, Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame, Indiana. Sister Joan Marie Steadman, CSC, president of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, received their vows.
Those professing initial vows are Sisters Semerita Mbambu and Rose Kyomukama, both from Uganda; Sister Jane Aluku Masangir from Kenya; Sister Royne Josephine Costa from Bangladesh; and Sisters Bijoycy Thongnibah and Khochem Mossang, both from India. Each sister is returning to her home area, where she will live with Sisters of the Holy Cross in community and will serve those in need through her ministry.
This group of sisters spent the last two years at the International Novitiate of the Sisters of the Holy Cross in Notre Dame, Indiana, getting to know God, their community and themselves better. The novitiate helps prepare new members for living and serving in international communities. It also assists in understanding the dynamics of a congregation that is richly diverse in age, culture and ministry.
“The Sisters of the Holy Cross live and serve on four continents in eight countries, so having a common novitiate reflects the reality of our internationality,” said Sister Joan Marie. “Blessed Basil Anthony Moreau, founder of the Holy Cross congregations, envisioned sisters, brothers and priests living and ministering in countries and cultures throughout the world, sharing Christ’s love and compassion for all people.”
“Joining a community of sisters is a process,” explained Sister Mary Tiernan, CSC, novice director. “The interested person spends time with a vocation director including, when possible, visits to other sisters in the community as she tries to discern whether God might be calling her to religious life. If the answer is yes, she applies to a congregation where she continues to test out her call as a candidate. If she continues to feel a call and is accepted by the congregation, her next step is to become a novice.”
The two-year novitiate experience includes reading and reflecting on spirituality, prayer and community history, as well as participating in faith formation (Scripture, doctrine, sacraments). Novices spend time in personal prayer and spiritual direction, provide liturgical ministry at the Church of Our Lady of Loretto and visit the congregation’s senior sisters. They form community together, taking turns planning and leading community prayer, cooking meals and leading community meetings.
In addition to their studies, they spend time acclimating to the area and culture, and give service to the local community. Finally, the novices take part in an intercommunity novitiate with several other congregations held once a week in Chicago. A three-month mission experience helps to integrate religious practices in an active ministry reality.
After making initial vows at the end of their novitiate experience, the sisters live and minister under these temporary vows for five years before making a final commitment through their perpetual vows.
To learn more about life as a Sister of the Holy Cross, visit the Vocation section of our website.
About the Sisters of the Holy Cross
Founded in 1841 in Le Mans, France, the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross is an international community of women religious whose motherhouse is located in Notre Dame, Ind. The congregation numbers approximately 450 members worldwide who serve in Bangladesh, Brazil, Ghana, India, Mexico, Peru, Uganda and the United States. Sisters of the Holy Cross are called to participate in the prophetic mission of Jesus to witness God’s love for all creation. Their ministries focus on providing education and health care services, eradicating material poverty, ending gender discrimination, and promoting just, mutual relationships among people, countries and the entire Earth community.