June 13, 2020

At St Joseph Church in Shreveport a small group of sisters participated to the first profession of vows of four novices who had completed their novitiate and were accepted into their religious family.  A ceremony, live streamed that allowed their relatives, friends and other sisters from many part of the world to be virtually present and to rejoice at the gift of their lives to God in response to a call always mysterious, but real to follow Christ and to imitate Him in a life of poverty, chastity and obedience. Close to each one of them was also Blessed Elisabetta Renzi, the foundress of the OLS Congregation whose life and charism molds in a special way the style of life and the ministry of the sisters today, in various parts of the world.

“My heart was filled with joy as I took the vows as a sister of Our Lady of Sorrows.” This is how Sr. Hira Goretti Rebaru summarized her feelings of the celebration on June 13, 2020 during which together with Liza, Nicole and Lisa they professed their first vows and became fully part of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows.

Sr Lisa M. Lapinski expressed her experience of that day with these words: “The day of first profession was beautiful, overwhelming happy experience. While we stood there waiting for the music to begin I had tears  in my eyes and began to stream joyful tears.  There was a peace in the midst.  I felt ready for the years I prepared for that moment.  All I wanted to do was surrender myself and my will to God and to be used as His instrument.  There was a peace and I had a great joy….”

“Everything comes from Him; everything comes through Him; everything ends in Him.  Always glory!  Always praise!  YES,YES,YES!  The day of my First Profession of vows was a special moment in my life.  In the depths of my heart, I felt a joy and a peace I had never experienced before in my life.  God helped me to understand that everything is a gift, and all comes from God.  In my yes to Jesus’ call, I received the special gift of His love as His friend and bride.  It is such a gift! I don’t deserve it, but I am grateful for it”. These are the words of Sr Liza Catherine Gomes which echoes those of her companions.

Moreover, Sr Nicole Marie Cancel adds her expressions of how she felt during that special ceremony:  “It’s hard to put to words what I felt during my first profession and afterwards, because I don’t believe there are words to describe it. I was filled with immense gratitude and awe. I am so grateful for my vocation, and that I can give my entire being, body, soul, intellect, and more to the Lord in such a direct way. I’ve desired to be consecrated to Him for such a long time, so to experience it taking place was beyond words. I came a long way from discerning religious life in Madison, Wisconsin to making my first profession of vows in Shreveport, Louisiana. I am not the same person I was when I first got in contact with this community. That day, I was spending the day reflecting on how the Lord walked with me on this journey, how he changed my heart, how he guided me through both good and bad times, and how he had me move across the country. I was (and still am) in awe with how the Lord kept his promises and has never left my side. He has been, and will continue to be, the most faithful, loyal, and loving companion. I couldn’t be more grateful to be espoused to Him, and desire nothing more than to spend my life like a towel, being “wrung out” for Jesus.”

The sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows present at that Celebration, together with Bishop Frances Malone, the priest and seminarians and a few relatives witnessed the vows and prayed that each one of the newly professed will remain faithful to God and to serve with joy God’s people wherever they are called to minister.