A Reflection on the First Vows Ceremony - 2024
After a period of intense prayer, meticulous preparation, and thoughtful discernment, three young women bravely stepped forward to embrace a life of commitment by taking their First Vows, willingly choosing to set aside the temptations of the material world. The 25th of January, Thursday 2024 proved to be a profoundly significant day for the Sisters of St. Joseph of Annecy, Visakhapatnam Province, as we celebrated the sacred ceremony of the religious Profession of our three Novices: Biddika Maria Mani, Chinthagada Sindhuja, and Irusumanda Chandrika. We express our gratitude to God for blessing us with these remarkable individuals, for their dedicated religious calling to our Congregation, and for their unwavering willingness to follow the path set by the Lord.
The chosen theme, "Hearts on fire, feet on the move," positioned before the altar, prompted a moment of reflection on the divine call we have answered, rekindling our commitment to bring life and to nurture an enduring passion for God and His people. The church and its surroundings adorned with vibrant flowers and colorful balloons amplified the joyous celebration. The First profession of these young women commenced with a Eucharistic celebration presided over by Fr. Ravindra S.J, who had diligently prepared them for this momentous day, alongside other clergy, at St. Joseph’s Church Waltair, Visakhapatnam.
The sight of these women walking towards the Altar with illuminated lamps in their hands, symbolizing their voluntary self-sacrifice within the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, was a moment of profound significance. They were accompanied in procession by their beloved parents on either side, their Novice Mistress Sr. Jeenat Jose, the Provincial Superior Sr. Rose, the Concelebrants, and Rev. Fr. Ravindra S.J, the main celebrant of the day. Following this, the traditional lamp was lit, invoking Christ the Light of the world, and Sr. Swarna Jose introduced the new initiates to those present, extending a warm welcome to all in attendance. The selected readings were specifically chosen for this momentous occasion, and the inspiring and uplifting homily delivered by Rev. Fr. Ravindra S.J focused on the divine call and response, as well as various facets of religious life.
During the sacred rite of First Profession, the esteemed Provincial Superior Rev. Sr. Rose graciously received their vows in the presence of the assembly, extending a warm welcome to the sisters into the embracing family of St. Joseph of Annecy, with temporary vows signifying their commitment to share in the life and mission of the Province. The Newly Professed made a symbolic offering during the offertory, and following the Holy Communion, one of them expressed heartfelt words of appreciation and gratitude. The soul-stirring melody led by Sr. Bala Joicy and the choir imbued the entire ceremony with deep reverence and profound meaning.
Following the Eucharistic celebration, warm wishes were shared with the Newly Professed, and a joyous cake-cutting ceremony took place. The grace-filled presence of numerous fathers, sisters from various Congregations and communities, as well as the attendance of their beloved parents, relatives, and well-wishers added immense joy to the celebration. Finally, all in attendance joined together to partake in a festive meal.
As these young women have selflessly offered their lives to the service of the Lord through the Congregation of Sisters of St. Joseph of Annecy, we uplift them in our prayers, asking that they may continue to perceive the beauty of the vocation they have embraced and persevere in the boundless goodness and grace of God.