The joy of the free gift of God’s call

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The joy of the free gift of God’s call
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The call to follow Christ is a free gift of God. The Dominican nuns of our Lady of Peace Monastery of Rweza, Burundi celebrated the gratuitous love of this gift on the occasion of the temporary religious profession of Sr. Emilienne of the Transfiguration of the Lord, OP, and the solemn profession of Sisters Agnes Marie, OP, and Valerie of the Presentation, OP. These professions took place on June 24th 2017, on the Solemnity of St. John the Baptist. During this same celebration, Sr. Agnes Tansi, OP, of St Dominic's Monastery Bambui, Cameroon (in residence at the monastery of Rweza), celebrated the silver Jubilee (25 years) of religious life. One novice shares the joy of this great day.

The Eucharistic celebration was presided over by His Grace Gervais Banshimiyubusa, Bishop of our Diocese of Ngozi, Burundi. The Mass started at 10:30 am with the entrance procession led by the members of the central choral group (representatives of the 3 choral groups supervised by the monastery), over twenty religious men and women, Dominican friars, nuns, the lay Dominicans, ten Diocesan priests and the lay faithful. The family members of the sisters celebrating their profession were waiting for us in the chapel.

The scriptural texts for the day which came from Is 49:1-6, Ep 1:3-5, and Jn 15: 9-17, reminded us that the call to follow Christ is a free gift of God. In his homily, Bishop Gervais explained these readings in three phases : The call of God which is individual even if the person called must live in community with others; Responding generously, joyfully, personally and be full of joy toward the One who calls us; Remaining faithful in love and joy of the call received and the response given, even in the difficult moments of life.

The Bishop reminded us of the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary who always sang her Fiat and her Magnificat even at the feet of the cross of her Son. He added that our fidelity to the will of God, no matter the costs, should link us to the redemptive suffering of Christ and the joy of the resurrection. We must give our testimony of joy and love in concrete actions in the daily life to reveal to the world the holiness of God and the presence of Christ always alive in the midst of his own.

After the homily, we had the peak of the celebration. The three sisters made their profession in the hands of Sr. Claire Marie du Rosaire,OP, the prioress of the monastery. Sr. Emilienne of the Transfiguration made profession for three years; while Sisters Agnes Marie and Valérie of the Presentation made religious commitment in perpetuity. For her 25 years of fidelity to the Lord, Sr. Agnes Tansi rendered a prayer of thanksgiving in her first language, English, translated in Kirundi language by fr. Liboire Kagabo, OP, of the priory of St. Thomas Aquinas, Bujumbura (Burundi), for everyone's understanding.

Congratulations accompanied by an appropriate song followed and the Mass continued. After the song of thanksgiving, there were speeches from fr. Liboire, from a lay Dominican from Bujumbura, from a family representatives of our sisters celebrating their profession as well as a representative from the Government. The Bishop concluded the Mass with a solemn blessing at 2 pm.

The celebration continued with a festive meal. During this moment, the professed sisters thanked the Lord, their parents, the community, the invited guests and all who contributed to the realisation of their contemplative vocation. All this was concluded by a speech and prayer of blessing by the Bishop who prayed over all present.

We continue to pray for the professed sisters that they remain faithful to their religious engagements.

Marie, op (Novice)

 

(1 August 2017)