By Sr. Cynthia Mgwena CPS
When anyone says “Yes” to Christs invitation to, “Come, follow me,” it is a time of new beginning, a conversion of life, a turning around, a desire to take up the cross and a willingness to come face to face with God.
Making final commitment to religious life in a world which is instant, quick and intolerant to religious values and gives less space to God, makes Srs. Lilian Ncube, Conceptor Gora, Fadzai Chivige, Roseline Ndlovu, Cecilia Tembo and Felistar Dube of the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood (CPS) extraordinary.
The feast of the Immaculate Conception which falls on 8 December was this year a notable day for the Archdiocese of Bulawayo and the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood Zimbabwe-Zambia Province as they witnessed six of their sisters committing themselves forever to God.
Gracing the occasion was Archbishop Alex Thomas of the Archdiocese of Bulawayo, Monsignor Gabriel who is the charge d’affaires at the Apostolic Nunciature, Fr. Abidon Kabwe CMM Provincial Superior of Zambia, the General Superior of the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood in Rome, Sr. Monica Ncube and Sr. Veronica Dingi Provincial Superior of Zimbabwe-Zambia Province.
In his opening remarks Archbishop Alex recognized the importance and the contribution to the Catholic Church of the Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood especially in the Archdiocese of Bulawayo.
It was a spectacular sight at St. Andrews Parish, a huge choir of sisters, brothers and the lay faithful with drums and marimba led the singing Girls and the sisters leading the dancing added colour to the celebration.
In his homily Fr. Kabwe CMM stated that the vows which the sisters make remove the three principal obstacles to salvation which are greed, the battle with the flesh and pride. He noted that the vows directly counteract these obstacles. By vowing to live a life of poverty, a religious surrenders the control of property, overcomes concupiscence through the vow of chastity and subdues all forms of pride through the vow of obedience.
Fr. Kabwe encouraged the sisters to be credible witnesses of the Gospel through their different apostolates as they have made this deliberate choice to follow God.
“Of course, you didn’t leap into this mode of life, without careful deliberation and discernment. you have prayed over your decision and have seen the hand of God at work in your life, through the guidance of the congregation. You have searched and explored, examined and reflected, constantly seeking clarity and vision on your individual call. Follow God with all your heart and trust him always,” said Fr. Kabwe
Fr. Kabwe urged the sisters, to follow in the footsteps of their founder Abbot Francis Pfanner and their co-foundress Mother Paula and have a self-giving spirit in their missionary endeavors.
“Perpetual profession of vows is not an end in itself, but rather just the beginning of your lives as Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood”, Fr. Kabwe said.
He went on to conscientize the sisters on the nature of religious life, that it is a call of continuous conversion of heart, mind, and spirit based on an open and loving response to the will of God.
He noted: “It is possible to live differently in this world, you should follow the Lord in a special way, in a prophetic way, your hearts should radiate love throughout the Mystical Body of Christ, as a heart pumps blood throughout the human body.”
This public ceremony of perpetual profession where one publicly professes her religious vows for life is the culmination of a 5-9- year period of initial formation. Perpetual profession is a sacred commitment as one dedicates the rest of her life in service to God and the Church. At final profession sisters receive a ring which is a sign of their espousal with the Lord and recommits themselves through the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.
Archbishop Alex Thomas, congratulated the finally professed sisters and reminded them of the fact that it is not about them but about Christ working in them.
The Archbishop challenged the sisters to live their vocation with devotion so that they get transformed by the grace of God. He called them to be good signs that lead people to God and to be examples of true Christianity.