The months of August and September were fulfilling and life-giving for all in the Nigerian Region: Three candidates were received into Postulancy – five postulants were received into the Novitiate – four Novices made their first vows and three sisters made their final commitment. For all of these – Lord, we thank you!
The first day in the month of September was the day Ngozi Monye, Emmanuela Onyenegecha, Blessing Nna and Fracisca Obosherinor have looked forward to during their stay in the Novitiate. It was the day they made their first profession of vows in the Congregation of the Religious Sisters of Charity. It was a joyful day for the families, friends and the entire Religious Sisters of Charity. The profession ceremony was held in St Anne’s Convent Chapel, Satellite town, Lagos. It began with a Eucharistic celebration at 11am. The chief celebrant was Rev. Fr Peter Chidolue SJ. In his inspiring homily, Fr Peter began by asking the Congregation a rhetorical question: “The Lord has so much to offer, but when he calls will you follow him?” He then related the question to the first reading of the day (1Cor. 1: 26-31), which was based on the call to follow Christ. He re-affirmed the demands of the three Evangelical counsels: Poverty, he says, implies that you have no prize because you have given your heart to God. Therefore, poverty frees us to be happy. Nothing can buy your heart for it has already been given. In professing Chastity, we take something that the world has abused and we sanctify it. Chastity challenges us to love so that anyone who comes nearer to us finds completeness. Thus, our vow of chastity endears us to everyone. This vow is for mission and it is a sacrifice of love that takes everything from us. For Fr Peter, to follow Christ is not easy. Obedience demands that we give our will to someone else’s; believing that the voice you hear is from the Lord. The challenge is that sometimes we want to be in control of our lives, but the Lord wants to be our security. He then urged the sisters to be professed to let God be their security. As you hold his hands today, never let him go!!! Always have a time with the Lord and do not allow the challenges of life to possess your heart.
Fr Peter reminded the older sisters and parents of their obligation towards the newly professed sisters. They are to help them live and remain faithful to their vows. Finally, he prayed that as Ngozi, Emmanuela, Blessing and Francisca respond to God’s call, may he give them the grace to hold on to Him.
After the homily, the Sisters to be professed each made their vows publicly. They were given the Insignia of the Congregation – a gold ring and a crucifix. Also, they received the Constitutions of the Congregation, which will become their daily guide as Sisters of Charity.
For Ngozi, Emmanuela, Blessine and Francisca, the long awaited day has finally dawn. It was a memorable event in the history of their lives. Their joy knew no bounds as they expressed their sincere gratitude to God for giving them the privilege to serve him.
On a similar occasion, the goodness of God led the friends, families and the Religious Sisters of Charity to the church of Saints Michael, Raphael and Gabriel, Satellite Town, for the final profession ceremony of Sisters Gertrude Nkwocha, Anthonia Eyelade and Regina Opara. It was a blissful day in the lives of the sisters. The Eucharist was celebrated by the Bishop of Bomadi Vicariate, Most Rev. Dr. Hyacinth Egbebo and Rev. Fr Samuel Okwuedegbe SJ was the homilist. Fr Samuel’s homily was centered on ‘love’ that changes everything. Hence, it is because of love that Getrude, Anthonia and Regina have decided to commit themselves perpetually to the service of the Lord, in the Congregation of the Religious Sisters of Charity. For Fr Samuel, no one can do this unless she makes her home in Jesus, so as to bear fruit. Therefore, he thanked sisters Gertrude, Anthonia and Regina for daring to offer themselves generously. He then challenged them to sustain their commitment by striving to imitate Jesus. Finally, Fr Samuel prayed that Jesus, whom they have fallen in love with, may teach them the values of the Institute and grant them all that is required to transmit its spirit. For Gertrude, Anthonia and Regina, it was a grace-filled moment as the entire Congregation called down the ‘hosts of heaven’ to aid them take the giant stride of final commitment. They felt honored and appreciated when the Regional Leader, Sr Rosaleen Desmond welcomed them as members of the Religious Sisters of Charity. It felt real to have been standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before them. Indeed, the joy they felt was beyond words as the invitation they had when they left home was made real.
At the end of the Eucharistic celebration, photographs were taken, followed by a beautiful reception by the Religious Sisters of Charity. For all of these – Lord, we thank you!!!.
Above – Postulants
Above – Novices
Above – First Profession
Above & Below – Final Vows