Seeds of faith grow in love

By Sister Bijoycy Thongnibah, CSC

Every celebration is an experience, the external fades away and the internal lingers and echoes in the deepest depths of our hearts.

My heart fills with joy and gratitude to have had such a beautiful, meaningful and memorable perpetual profession of vows as I enter the next stage of my religious life. It was the greatest experience ever to take another step into this life. My heart beat fast and my mind could not stop thinking as I tried to keep it at rest a few nights before March 3, 2018. I was excited, happy and eagerly awaiting the day, but with some fears and worry about the unknown future that awaited me.

Trusting and surrendering to God filled me with a deep joy and inner peace during the time of my preparation for my perpetual profession of vows. As the days approached, I could barely know what I was feeling. I was just waiting for that day. Vigil night came and I was very happy. The sisters helped me to prepare for it and gave me time for reflection. I had a meaningful and beautiful vigil night with prayers and the holude ceremony[1]. The light blessings were very touching. Many sisters were there, along with the candidates, discerners and family members. I was overcome by the support of the sisters and their hard work in organizing and arranging everything so well. It was great teamwork.

Archbishop Dominic Jala, SDB, DD, archbishop of Shillong, India, was the main celebrant of the day. The holy Eucharist for the perpetual profession of vows was held in the Chapel of the Grotto Church at the Mary Help of Christians Cathedral in Shillong. Sister M. Veronique (Wiedower), CSC, Congregation president, accepted the vows. She was accompanied by Sister Pushpa Teresa Gomes, CSC, coordinator for the Area of Asia. I felt very fortunate to have the sisters from the General Leadership Team and all the coordinators from each Area attending. On the vigil night and profession day, I was filled with joy to have the sisters rejoicing and witnessing our perpetual profession of vows. The holy eucharistic celebration was a solemn and grace-filled experience. During the litany prayers I felt my life being transformed. I was a new person, at peace with myself.

The seed of faith which my parents planted in me continues to grow as I enter deeply into religious life, prayers, faith sharing, spiritual reading, retreats and spiritual direction. These together help to enrich and deepen my faith. Faith keeps me strong as I journey. None of this would have been possible without the guidance of my parents, formators and my sisters in community.

The love I have experienced in community has truly taught me how to love myself and to love others in return. I know that growing in love as a Sister of the Holy Cross is a life-long journey, but it is one that I desire to embrace with my whole heart, more now than ever before.

Thank you, sisters, one and all, for your prayerful support.

[1] holude: A Bangladeshi ceremony in which turmeric, a yellow spice obtained from a flowering plant in the ginger family, is used as a reminder of baptismal promises and Christian responsibilities. For religious, this ceremony is now a symbol of purification of body, heart and mind to prepare for a deeper call. Blessing with the holude, we pray for them that the promise they are going to announce may strengthen their faith and trust in God’s gift of new life: hope, joy and prosperity. We pray that they fulfil God’s will through Holy Cross. They have come from different cultures with faith, values and languages to help them do this.

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