PERPETUAL VOWS IN TIMOR: The Joy of the encounter

PERPETUAL VOWS IN TIMOR: The Joy of the encounter

In the three months prior to the beginning of the Third Probation, the final stage of our formation before making the Perpetual Profession, I was sent to Timor, where I have been for approximately a month.

Last Saturday , October 7, I had the good fortune to participate in the Perpetual Profession of two Timorese Sisters, Betty and Candy.

That day I lived the experience of accepting and of being accepted, of accepting the diversity of customs, traditions, language, food, people…and of being accepted by so many people who, although they did not know me, made me feel at home and like part of the family.

I was especially moved by the meeting among the families: the large family which is the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the families of each one of the Sisters. It was a real encounter of histories; the history of each one of the Sisters, her roots, her past…and the history of the Congregation of the Handmaids, which began more than 100 years ago with St. Rafaela Mary and Mother Pilar, and that has been built by so many Sisters who have preceded us. And this encounter continues to bear fruit in the life of the people, of the Church and of the world.

The ceremony was beautiful! The choir, which sang in Portuguese, Spanish and Tetun, enhanced the ceremony and helped all of us to pray. The offertory was prepared with so much love by the families, where they offered the best that they had (fruit, vegetables, chickens, goats…)… The embrace of each of the Sisters present at the ceremony, which symbolized the congregation’s acceptance of the two Sisters. The definitive “yes” –“at all costs” given by Betty and Candy.

Afterwards there was a luncheon for all the Sisters, families, friends and the many people who share the mission with us. The atmosphere was one of celebration, joy and gratitude.

I give thanks to Jesus who never ceases to call us from all over the world to collaborate in His mission of reparation. I give Him thanks because He always transforms our lives and the life of the people who cross our path.

That day I experienced communion in diversity, familiarity in difference… the true joy of encounter.

Margarida Vaz Pinto, aci