Sisters of Jesus the Redeemer: Final Profession of Vows

Homily by Archbishop I. A. Kaigama at the Final Profession of Religious Vows, Sisters of Jesus the Redeemer, Holy Cross Parish Gwarimpa, Abuja. 12th December, 2020.

Readings: Song of Solomon 2:8-14; Psalm 27; Philippians 3:8-14; Matthew 11:25-30

I am delighted to preside at this Mass of final profession of vows of Sr. Geraldine Okoye and Sr. Dorothy Anongo of the Sisters of Jesus the Redeemer Congregation. The motto of your congregation says, “To God alone be the glory”, we therefore thank God and also thank your Religious Superior, formators, family members, friends, benefactors and all those who have helped them in their spiritual journey to the religious life. May God bless and reward you all. Sr. Geraldine Mary Okoye and Sr. Dorothy Mary Anongo have finally made up their minds to settle down with the Lord. They have embraced His love with all their hearts, like the lovers in today’s poem from the Song of Solomon.

Sr. Victorine Le Dieu started the Congregation of the Sisters of Jesus the Redeemer with the approval of Pope Pius IX on January 15, 1863 in Rome. The main charism of the Congregation is reparation and reconciliation; to reconcile men and women with themselves, with God, and with nature through adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Today more than ever, we need the reparation for the sins of humanity; reconciliation with God and mending severed relationships caused by sin, violence, poverty and marginalization etc.

The Congregation of Sisters of Jesus the Redeemer arrived Nigeria on February 17, 2006. They are currently living in Gwarimpa, Abuja. Since their arrival in Abuja Archdiocese in 2006, the Sisters have been involved in various apostolates in providing formal education, religious instruction, medical assistance, foster home care, supporting the poor and needy, etc and other areas of pastoral work especially in the periphery (Ketti, Gbao and Takalafia) of the Federal Capital Territory. We commend your dedication and zeal over the years as we encourage you to continue with the good work that you do in our Archdiocese. A lot has been achieved and a lot more still needs to be done. Together we shall succeed.

The religious life is a deepening of the sacrament of baptism that is designed to allow one to live the Christian life as fully as possible. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI taught that the consecrated life means going to the very root of the love of Jesus Christ with an undivided heart and putting nothing else above this love. The ring that you will receive at your solemn vows is a symbol of your definitive betrothal to Christ. You totally belong to Christ; body, soul, spirit and intellect.

Dear sisters, at this point in your life, having seen almost all that the world has to offer you, you decided like St. Paul says in his letter addressed to the Philippians (our second reading) that everything is rubbish compared to the choice you are making today in this Church before God and to which we are all witnesses. Ensure that you remain focused on the Lord who has called you and do not give room for any form of distractions to come into your lives and distort the beautiful plans that God has for you. We therefore urge you to be spiritual mothers and sisters to all. Many people are waiting for your generous gift, the selfless gift of yourselves to a world that is gradually losing the capacity for selflessness, heroic sacrifice and disinterested love.

St. Paul in writing to the Philippians, says, ‘I consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord’ (Phil. 3:8). I believe that you have also come to the same realization to forsake all else for the sake of Christ as you vow to imitate Christ in the evangelical counsels (poverty, obedience and chastity) with a firm and total commitment. In our world plagued by physical, social and spiritual diseases, you are called to be ambassadors of hope, salt of the earth and light of the world (cf. Mt. 5:16).

Like Jesus in today’s Gospel, our hearts are also full of gratitude to God the Father for revealing His special mysteries of His love to you who are mere infants. God who has called you to this life will neither abandon nor fail you. Let your love for the sick, the old, the crippled, the handicapped and the needy through your evangelical witness, be a source of inspiration to all. Even when you suffer inward or outward suffering or darkness, never doubt for a moment the consoling presence of the God who has called you.

May Mary the model of all Religious and her spouse, St. Joseph, teach you to live each day in fidelity to your vocation and to bear abundant fruits that will attract many to Jesus. May the Lord bless you and grant you constant grace that your lives may truly be offered to all without barriers, for the good of the Church and humanity and to the glory of God.

Congratulations and God bless you all.

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