“Jesus called to Him whom he wanted, to be with Him, and to be sent out to proclaim the Good News” On October 1st, the feast day of St. Theresa of Child Jesus, the patroness of the missions, a meaningful ceremony of the apostolic sending of sisters to distant mission countries and Perpetual profession of Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate (Nirmala Sisters) took place during the Solemn Eucharistic Celebration at St. Paul’s Cathedral, Vijayawada. Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Raja Rao Thelagathoti SMM, Bishop of Vijayawada along with 20 priests solemnized the Holy Eucharist, imparting God’s blessings upon the sisters and praying for the grace to be faithful to the vocation and mission.
It was a day of rejoicing for the Church of Vijayawada as it is sending Sr. Francisca Seelam and Sr. Vinitha Veedhi to the Church of Papua New Guinea in the continent of Oceania, Sr. Jhansee Tagaram to Guinea Bissau in the continent of Africa, Sr. Josephine Vimala Soosai Raj to Bangladesh and Sr. Pavani Mathangi to Hong Kong-China in the continent of Asia. Sr. Jyothi Saliand Sr. John Reena Kanikkai Raj made their Perpetual profession, offering their lives to God for ever for His mission.
Bishop Raja Rao explained the three vows vividly and concretely in the light of the life of Jesus, Saints Francis Assisi, Mother Theresa of Calcutta, Ignatius of Loyola and Montfort and from his lived experience. He 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 love of Christ.
When Sr. Jyothi and Sr. John Reena expressed their aspiration and readiness to follow Christ more closely to proclaim the Gospel to the peoples, pronounced their vows, received the ring as a visible sign of the covenant that binds them eternally to Christ, the Apostle of the Father. The Bible was given to them as the symbol of our Charism’ the proclamation of the Good News. Sr. Amala Rani Swamikkannu, the Provincial Superior of Vijayawada Province officially declared them to be the permanent members of the Congregation. Sisters assigned to the missions were given a Crucifix as a sign of the 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 life, 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 life 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 1852. On this auspicious day the parents and relatives of our dear sisters along with other religious priests and sisters from nearby communities and a good number of parishioners witnessed the ceremony with joy and prayed for the sisters. Bishop congratulated the sisters for their courage
and commitment to their missionary charism and to offer their life for ever. 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. The celebration came to an end with a short felicitation followed by the fellowship meal which was held in Nirmala Convent campus.
Sr. Jerry MSI, Secretary, Nirmala Niketan