Sr. Maria made her perpetual profession in St. Benedict Cathedral on June 26th. She vowed to dedicate her life to God and the community of the Servants of the Holy Childhood of Jesus in the presence of the Church.
In preparation of her big day, Sr. Maria made an eight day retreat that was specially prepared for her into making her final commitment at the Benedictine Monastery in Vryheid. The big day finally arrived and due to the Level 3 Lockdown restrictions, only a few guests were allowed to join the celebration. Her fellow Holy Childhood Sisters, a few of Sr. Maria’s relatives, parishioners of her home parish and choir members of Eshowe attended directly; everyone else who could not attend the service physically, was invited to follow the service as a live broadcast on Facebook. This was organized by Sr. Faith.
The Eucharist was celebrated by Cardinal Wilfred Napier of the Arch-Diocese of Durban, who is currently the Administrator of the Diocese of Eshowe and other priests concelebrated. Among them were Fr. Victor Chavunga OSB, the Cathedral Administrator, Fr. Angelicus Chiliza, the parish priest of Sr. Maria and Fr. Malusi Ncanana, the acting Chancellor of the Diocese of Eshowe. Deacon Xolani Jafta of Eshowe Diocese and Deacon Lalelani Khumalo who is serving in Sr. Maria’s parish were also present. The choir sang beautifully and thus made the celebration special and solemn.
The rite of profession took place after the homily. As her sign of giving her life completely to God, Sr. Maria laid prostrate as the Litany of all the saints was sung. She then got up and knelt in front of the General Superior, Sr. Katharina Ganz, from Germany. Sr. Maria vowed Poverty, Chastity and Obedience for her whole life. Sr. Katharina then received her vows on behalf of the Congregation of the Servants of the Holy Childhood of Jesus. Sr. Maria together with the General Superior signed the vow formula. As a sign of her devotion to Christ, Sr. Maria was presented with a ring and a wreath of flowers on her head.
After the Eucharist celebration everyone was invited for a delicious, well prepared meal at the school hall. During the festivity Sr. Katharina shared words of wisdom and her wishes to the newly final professed sister. She presented her and the sisters of the Region with face masks and also shared how they should have spiritual masks in our lives “Protect yourself not only from what others say but be careful with your words, for it is not what goes into a person that makes him unclean, but what comes out of him”, she said.
In the evening the sisters gathered together for recreation in Eshowe Convent. All the sisters were invited to take a paper crane from the basket except for Sr. Maria. Sr. Juliana then shared the story of St. Francis, St. Clare and the cranes. The significance of this story was the preciousness of community living. Without our community, we get lost on our way to God, and our sisters give us strength to endure. Afterwards she handed the basket to Sr. Maria. Each sister made a wish to her and placed the crane she had inside the basket. Sr. Maria then had the opportunity to thank the sisters for all their wishes. “These will be a source of motivation, encouragement and consolation for my daily life”, she said. She was also grateful for all the prayers and support that contributed into making the celebration a success.
Text by: Sr. Maria Machi
Photos by: Sr. Juliana Seelmann