By – Sr. Jerry MSI, Secretary, Nirmala, Niketan, Vijayawada
29th December 2018, indeed was a memorable day for Missionary Sisters
of the Immaculate (Nirmala Sisters), as a momentous event took place in the lives of Srs. JyothiNatta, Antony Mary Jenifer Abraham, Jenita Arockia Mary Innaci, Maria Assuntha Soosai Raj, and Amala Catherine Amal Raj, who said their definitive yes to the Lord, offering their lives to God forever for His mission. And it was a day of delight for the Church of Vijayawada as Sr.Bincy Simon and Sr.Sujatha Kathular eceived the missionary mandate to the Church of Bangladesh and Sr.SwarupaRani Bathula to the Church of North Brazil.
These ceremonies took place during the Solemn Eucharistic Celebration at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Vijayawada. Most Rev.Thelagathoti Joseph Raja Rao SMM, Bishop of Vijayawada, along with 35 priests solemnized the Holy Eucharist, imploring God’s blessings upon the sisters and praying for the grace to be faithful to their vocation and mission in India and in the overseas missions. Bishop Raja Rao, in his homily, reiterated the significance of religious life. He said, “to be a missionary is to be a person
of love.” He also elucidated the three vows vividly in the light of the life
of Jesus. Poverty means to live a simple life; chastity is to love God and all without excluding anyone just like Mother Theresa lived; obedience is to be willing to do God’s will, revealed through the mediation of superiors. He also presented the life of St. Paul, the great missionary as a model and source of inspiration for the departing missionaries to face the challenges of life for the love of Christ.
Bishop congratulated the sisters for their courage to say a total yes to the Lord and the enthusiasm to go to the far-off mission to proclaim the gospel to the peoples. He promised the sisters that the local church will accompany them through their prayerful support to be faithful witnesses through their life and mission in the Church. Then Srs. Jyothi Natta, Antony Mary Jenifer Abraham, Jenita Arockia Mary Innaci, Maria Assuntha Soosai Raj, and Amala Catherine Amal Raj expressed their determination and willingness to follow Christ more closely to proclaim the Gospel to the peoples, received the ring as a visible sign of the covenant that binds them eternally to Christ, the Apostle of the Father. Sisters assigned to the missions were given a Crucifix as a sign of inseparable companion of their apostolic work, their protection in dangers and difficulties, their comfort in life and death. In the name of the local Church, they were entrusted the Gospel, the Good News of joy and salvation to proclaim it with their lives, to translate it into the language of the people whom they will come in contact with. The parting missionaries made the act of offering of their lives to God for the mission through a prayer which was composed by Blessed John Mazzucconi, the first martyr of PIME, on the occasion of the first group of PIME Missionaries leaving for Oceania in 1850.
The parents, relatives, friends and well-wishers of our dear sisters along with other religious, priests and sisters from nearby communities, Lay associates of MSI and a good number of parishioners were present to pray for them and to witness the ceremony with joy and affection. The celebration ended with a short felicitation followed by the fellowship
meal, which was served in Nirmala Convent campus.