by Sister Jane Aluku Masangir
The day I celebrated my perpetual profession of vows with Holy Cross Sisters Janet Nantumbwe and Grace Kitinisa reminded me of the olden days when our grandparents used to talk with us about the mystery of God’s presence. They used to emphasize that God spoke through our parents and elders, dreams and visions. And indeed, on our special day, I felt God speaking through our Holy Cross family.
The momentous day opened with a prayer vigil for the brides-to-be (commonly referred to as “bagoole” in Uganda). We shared our sacred stories in a serene atmosphere. One after another, we cried glory in our stories, with gratitude especially to God. The unique part was how each of us came to the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross, though none of us had known of the Holy Cross sisters where we lived. We resolved that our call came from God speaking through various people who came into our lives unexpectedly. After this time of bonding, we reaffirmed our call with the psalmist’s words, “My heart is ready, O God; my heart is ready.” (Psalm 57:7)
The gathering joyfully embraced the tune of the anticipated day during a lighthearted social, highlighted by words of wisdom, reunions and much laughter. The peak of the celebration took place during the solemn Mass, where God spoke through the elders of Holy Cross. Each candidate was called and reflectively answered, “God, you have called me. Here I am.” The words of the homilist, Father Tom Smith, CSC, also recounted God speaking: “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you; I appoint you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will remain; … and this I command you: Love one another.” (John 15:17)
All the “bagoole” shared their experiences during the examination and profession of vows. They felt this was the most peaceful and happy experience in life. Bishop Robert Muhiirwa, of the Diocese of Fort Portal, and Sister Suzanne Brennan, CSC, of the General Leadership Team, shared words of blessings and prayers. Upon our acceptance as perpetually professed sisters, the gathering rejoiced with applause, drumming, singing and ululation. Truly, God spoke in dance and congratulatory gestures of all sorts. We all sang and danced glory—which was the perfect reflection of our joy during the reception at the Kyarusozi convent. God spoke through the old and young, big and small, music and dance, and even food and drink, and we acknowledged it with gratitude.
The three of us still carry the homilist’s words from that day with us: “Love God, always and everywhere. …Allow God to love you, always and everywhere. …Love God’s people, always and everywhere. …Allow God’s people to love you, always and everywhere. …Love your sisters, always and everywhere. …Allow your sisters to love you, always and everywhere!”
Now and forever, glory be to God, the One who is still speaking.