... in Luzon Cluster, Philippines
|MARIA WITH HER SISTER SHEILA, FATHER AND MOTHER|
My heart is filled with so much gladness because on this same day, on the 113th death anniversary of St. Bonifacia, I made my definitive and forever “yes” to follow Jesus, the worker in Nazareth, as a Sierva de San Jose. As we commemorated her death, we celebrated her life -the gift she offered to the whole world, born of her faith in God and her conviction and fidelity to the charism she received from the Spirit. My being able to make my perpetual vows on this same day, carried with it the many graces as well as the many invitations that her life and her fidelity to Jesus in Nazareth proclaim.
At 7:45 AM at the Holy Family School, Famillian Court, the Eucharistic celebration began with Fr. Victor Sadaya, CMF as the priest presider. As I walked down the aisle accompanied by my parents, Wilma Kepa, SSJ preceding me, I felt God’s assuring love calling us again by name, making our hearts ready and open to offer ourselves entirely to God. The warm atmosphere of this festive day, lavished lovingly by the joyful presence of all who witnessed this event: my family, my sisters in the Congregation, Lay Josephines, former students, the Holy Family School students, Faculty and Staff, and all those who are one with us on this special day even from a distance, all spoke to me of God’s loving guidance, empowering love and fidelity.
In the homily, Fr. Vic highlighted the three criteria of knowing that we have found our one true value in life: first, when we have chosen it from among the many choices we had; second, when we publicly proclaim and celebrate it as our one true treasure; and third, when we decide to act on it daily, making that value alive and seen in our being. It is from here that he further explained the value of finding one’s vocation, responding to it, living and celebrating it. And so as I celebrate this day with Wilma, we joyfully proclaimed together where our true treasure lies… As I made my lifetime commitment to follow Jesus in Nazareth as a Sierva de San Jose, I begged for God’s grace to be with us always sealed by the prayers of all the people God gave me to journey with.
As Victoria Terrenate, SSJ representative of Marcelina Sta Cruz,SSJ, our Provincial Coordinator and in the presence of our sisters in community received our profession of vows, Wilma for one year and I for the rest of my life, we allowed the grace of God to fill us anew on this solemn moment. It was a moment for the whole Christian community present there to re-enkindle in their hearts the gift of vocation, a call for each one to celebrate and discover his/her own God-given vocation. My prayer remains that in every heart’s search for its deepest treasure, it may discover what I myself discovered and what the life of St. Bonifacia taught me in my most intimate moment with God: that to be taken finally by Love is to believe in its power beyond us, and thereby to allow ourselves to be led into Love’s way- believing and hoping, courageously embracing the true freedom that is found only in God… It is my silent prayer that every heart may find this Love who is God.
|SR. MA. BERNADETTE REYNA, SSJ PROFESSES HER COMMITMENT |
TO JESUS THE WORKER FOR THE REST OF HER LIFE
|SR. VICTORIA TERRENATE, SSJ ACCEPTS SR. MA.BERNADETTE DEFINITIVELY AS A PERPETUAL MEMBER OF THE SSJS|
|SR. WILMA KEPA, SSJ RENEWS HER VOWS FOR ONE YEAR|
|SRS. WILMA AND MA. BERNADETTE SNGING THEIR SONG OF JOY|
|FR. VICTOR SADAYA, CMF, MASS PRESIDER|
|SISTERS ASSISTING AS EUCHARISTIC MINISTERS|
|THE ASSEMBLY SINGING TOGETHER THE LORD'S PRAYER|
SR. MARIA BERNADETTE GIVING HER THANKSGIVING MESSAGE
After the Eucharistic celebration, we enjoyed the company of one another in a simple salu-salo merienda at the Provincial House. Truly, this day is filled with God’s loving grace and fidelity. A reason for every heart to celebrate!
To Bonifacia, a woman totally-given to God I offered this poem with a prayer in my heart that she may continue to guide me as she always had, to be true and faithful Sierva de San Jose for the rest of my life…
“From the depths of her being she felt the call to be a humble worker
after the style of Jesus in Nazareth…
reclaiming every place and time- Nazareth
the place of God, the place of Love.
In the ambit of work and ordinary life,
of tiredness and human strife…silent grace calls
transforming every circumstance to Life.
From her shop, she looked into the needs of the working world
wounded by injustice and human blindness…
Her heart bled with the plight of poor women workers
and young women at risk
yet, impelled by the Spirit, she offered the way of the Kingdom
the way of humility, of service and of love.
In solidarity with the poor workers
she proclaimed the sanctifying value of work
offering a liberation that comes from God-within
and from there, converting the ordinary into sacred encounters…
encounters that breathe forth the empowering, life-giving face of God.
Silence filled her heart,
a kind that is pregnant of hope amidst contradictions,
born of love and understanding beyond the now.
Her Faith unrelenting, her words, her life bearing clear:
her Call, her Mission, the God she followed.”
TO ALL OF YOU MY DEAREST SISTERS-SIERVAS DE SAN JOSE, HIJAS DE SAN JOSE AND LAY JOSEPHINES: THANK YOU SO MUCH!
Ma. Bernadette Reyna, SSJ