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FIRST PROFESSION IN VIETNAM

A DAY OF JOY AND LOVE

SCJM, do you love me?... Feed my sheep!” (Jn 21:15- 17)

Every year, together with the whole church we share in the great joy of Easter. This year our joy was added to with the first profession of our four novices on 27th April 2019 - a memorable day for those who were going to be professed as well as for all the members of the Region of our Lady of Lavang of Vietnam.

The theme of the General Chapter 2017 was chosen once again as the theme of their Profession. For they were determined to give an answer to that touching yet challenging question of Jesus through their dedication to Him: “SCJM, do you love me?”. Indeed, it was done by their act of pronouncing the three evangelical counsels on that very day.

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Who could explain the feelings of four novices that day? After years of formation and discernment, four young and enthusiastic women were willing to say “yes” to the Lord’s call in the presence of their family members and the whole congregation. Although they were a little nervous and emotional, never the less their expression of love and dedication was firm and clear.

On that beautiful day, the words of the boy Samuel sounded repeatedly in the ears of those who were present in that church: “Lord, you have called me. Here I am”. Sister Roshni Barla, SCJM, the General Assistant, welcomed these four novices into the SCJM family by offering a chain and our SCJM cross.

The memory of the event that our Living God called His chosen people in the Old Testament came alive. We believe that from those moments, the history of salvation was flowing like a single stream. Yes, that very same day, a new page has been turned in the history of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary, especially the Region of our Lady of Lavang in Vietnam.

The SCJM family has been blessed with four more members. These women voluntarily chose to follow the Lord in SCJM way of life - a life marked with simplicity and self-denial, in spite of their own limitations. Is that not witnessing to the world that there is something greater than material goods, power and position? Is that not making the joy of Easter become real and true?

The rite of Religious profession was solemnly celebrated in an atmosphere of love and prayer. Having been examined about their freedom to make this profession by the Rev. Bishop Dominic NGUYEN Van Manh, the coadjutor Bishop of Dalat diocese the four novices then prostrated in front of the altar while the choir sang Psalm 50. This has been always the most moving and beautiful moment of the ceremony.

They appeared before the congregation as sacrificial witnesses of love and the hearts of all the participants seemed to be drawn in the same destination. All joined in the same joy of witnessing the dedication of themselves in Religious life. Following that, each sister in turn pronounced her commitment to the Lord and received a cross which has inscribed on it “God is love”.

JPEG - 127.3 kb From now on these sisters will be living and witnessing to that statement. The congregation was overjoyed to welcome and congratulate the four newly professed sisters. In thanksgiving, Mother Mary’s song of praise – the Magnificat - was sung. The face of each sister was shining with joy and they radiated that joy to all who were present.

The Bishop, in His homely, focused on the gift of the call, beginning with Moses, then Peter, and our call. He especially invited all the newly professed sisters to be rooted in God, to have a greater love, for it is from God that we draw the Love and strength needed to do our mission. Every mission begins with the answer to the question of Jesus: “Do you love me?”.

The mass ended at 11.45 with an emotionally charged atmosphere and was followed by a sumptuous meal and beautiful singing and dancing and everyone enjoyed and celebrated the beautiful gift of a vocation.

Everything was good, we thanked God for His numerous blessings, and expressed our heartfelt thanks and appreciation to all the people who had contributed to the success of this celebration.

Through the First Religious Profession of our four sisters, the JOY of the Gospel was manifested to everyone! As Pope Francis said in one of His Apostolic Letters: “The Joy of the Gospel is only discovered in the service to others: You will find life by giving life, hope by giving hope, love by giving love”.
(From left to right: Sr. Teresa Sâm, Sr. Anna Tin, Sr. Maria Hiền, Sr. Maria Hương)

Sr. Anna Thắng


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