My 25 years of Religious Life
“My heart exults in the Lord, I rejoice in the goodness of the Lord,
O lord my God may
I thank you forever and ever” Ps 29
May drums, koras and balafons assist me to sing to God, with you, in gratitude.
On this joyful occasion how can I not thank the Lord for my vocation story? It started with my catechetical journey of Faith in Jesus Christ. I was in awe of my catechist, Michel Bangar so full of zeal in the Lord’s service. Looking at him, I thought that all the catechists must be perfect, they were so good. They had good homes where peace and joy reigned. This made me think: that when I grow up, I'll marry a catechist.
One day, Sr Ailbe, who supported the catechesis groups, through regular visits, arrived in our village. Our Catechist Michel took this opportunity to tell us all about her. He said she had given her life to God, that she had left her country to devote herself totally to God and others. This life of service and total self-giving to God seemed to me even more perfect than that of our catechists, so, I told my catechist I wanted to be like this Sister Ailbe!
After years of been accompanied by the Sisters of Saint Joseph, and then my initiation and formation into their way of life I am now celebrating my 25 years of religious life as a sister of St. Joseph. I discovered little by little the meaning of this life totally given to God and to others. My great desire came true on October 3rd, 1992, the date of my first profession. I have always been struck by the welcome and acceptance of the sisters in my regard. My difference of skin, and culture, has never been a blockage. On the contrary, I felt loved and accepted. This unity had its source in the love we have for each other and in our prayer life together.
My older sisters had a keen sense of the needs of the other. They loved all the people they met. I saw them visiting families in spite of the heat, fatigue, or the difficulty of communication related to so many ethnic languages. They were women of great faith and tireless in their missionary zeal. Seeing them live in this way made my desire to be like them increase more and more.
One day when I happened to sleep in Sr Fidelis’ room in her absence; I sat on her bed and prayed that some of her life of holiness might live in me too. In my 25 years of religious life, I learned that everyone is important no matter who they are. Over the years my different apostolates have led me to take care of the poor, the sick and the suffering. I learned a lot from them, humanly and spiritually. I wish to express a deep gratitude to my older sisters, the living as well as those who have preceded us to God, and who loved me, supported and helped me grow in my religious life as a sister of St Joseph.
I also want to say a big thank you to my companions on this journey: Bernadette, Marguerite and Marie Agnes. May the Lord bless their homes and keep them in peace and happiness.
A warm thank you to Fr. Jean Marie of Keur Moussa, my spiritual father and Sr Sainte Blandine, who helped me with the grace of God, to be who I am today.
A big thank you to the priests who accompanied me, listened, advised, and encouraged, me in confession.
I also thank all the people I have met who helped me and encouraged in one way or another. A special thanks to my aunt Madeleine who raised me, gave me a good education and has always supported me in my vocation, treating me as her own daughter. May the Lord abundantly bless her and her whole family.
Finally my thanks to my companions of our group of 1992, and who are present here today to share my joy. Yes, the Lord has done great things for us.
Thank you, Sr Donisia, as you commit your life totally to following Christ through your final profession today. To our older sister Raymond who has advanced 50 years along the path of the gift of self in loving service, and for my 25 years too. “Do not be afraid the Lord is with us and upholds us on the journey of life.”
I'm so happy to be your sister! I invite us all to rekindle the flame that has been passed on to us by our older sisters. We need only to recall the memory of our SSJA ancestors of this mission Sr Odile, Sr Mary of Salette, Sr. Thérèse Vittoz, Sr. Marie Irene and many others. To pass it on our history to future generations to remember. We have to build a new generation for new times in the church and the world (cf. Vita Consecrata, no. 110). So, let us get to work with zeal and enthusiasm.
May God bless us. May he bless our Region and our Congregation. Peace and blessings be upon us all here present.
Sœur Germaine Boubane