« Master, where are you dwelling ?»

On the 25th of  August 2022, Thérèse Nguyen Thi Anh and Martina del Carmen López made their first commitment to religious life in the Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus at the church of Saint-Augustin, Pavillons-Sous-Bois, just outside Paris.

I want to sing of your love, Lord

We are gathered today, …. to accompany our sisters, Anh and Martina, who are celebrating their first commitment to the Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus. Consecrated life is a precious gift for the present and future of the People of God… United with the whole Church we give thanks to God for their consecration.”

In response to these words, some 40 participants – Sisters from four continents, relatives of the two novices, priests and lay, as well as parishioners and friends – welcomed the entrance procession with a joyful song.

I want to sing of your love, Lord

every moment of my life,                                             

to dance for you, sing my joy

and glorify your name

« Master, wheere are you dwelling? Come and see. »

Sr Patricia Guillet, Superior General, addressed the following words of welcome to the assembly, and to the priests present, and expressed her joy at this important moment for the Congregation:

Thérèse-Anh on the left, Martina on the right

“Anh and Martina, at a certain moment these words from the Bible touched your hearts and set you on the road with an attitude of discernment. Today you will express your desire and your option to commit yourselves to the Congregation …. Before the assembly here present, I can tell you that my joy is great. Yes, I am happy, because we have come from the four corners of France, we could almost say from the four corners of the world … what a joy! Father Henri, by welcoming us into your sector, you are allowing us to live this important moment for the Congregation with an international dimension.”

An international dimension

After this welcome, the liturgy of the Word continued in the three languages of the ‘international novitiate’. For the novitiate set up two years ago, today’s Mass represented the first celebration of religious commitment.

First reading from the Prophet Isiah in Vietnamien

 « Như sự dịu dàng của Đức Chúa Trời dành cho dân Ngài »  

The Psalm 138 in Spanish

“Tú me sondeas y me coneces”

The Gospel of St John, 1: 35 – 39 in French

« Maître, où demeures-tu ? »

The call of the novices

The moment had now arrived for the call of the novices. For two years, the novitiate community had initiated them into the apostolic religious life. Sister Marie-Claude, their novice mistress, would now call them in the name of the Lord. Then, in a dialogue with the celebrant, the novices expressed what they in their turn were seeking. 

Rituel d’engagement

The ritual of engagement

Thérèse-Anh and Martina had the support of our prayer and that of their families who were united with us on this day, as well as the solidarity of the great religious family to which they were committing themselves.

First, the two novices responded to the invitation of the celebrant, Father Modeste, to follow the Lord more closely by professing the evangelical counsels. In turn, each novice then expressed her personal commitment through the taking of the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience in the Congregation of the Daughters of Jesus, according to its Rule of Life.

They were then welcomed by Sr Patricia:

Anh and Martina, in the name of all the Daughters of Jesus, with joy and thanksgiving I welcome you as members of the Congregation which becomes your religious family. In the name of every Daughter of Jesus and Associate, I invite you to enter into the dynamism of the Spirit of Jesus which set our Founders in motion and to continue in today’s world what they began. Anh and Martina, count on our fraternal and prayerful support.”

Presentation of the insignia of profession and signature

Sister Patricia presented the newly professed Sisters with the cross and the Rule of Life of our religious family.

“Sister Thérèse-Anh / Sister Martina, receive this cross: may it remind you every day of the love of Jesus who gave his life right to the end with a passionate love for humanity.

Follow him in the heart of this world that God loves, and become more and more a “Daughter of Jesus”, in communion with all your Sisters.”

Sister Thérèse-Anh / Sister Martina, receive the Rule of Life of the Daughters of Jesus. It is a Way of Life and a reference to the Gospel. Put it into practice and you will be happy.”

With their signature of the vows, the newly professed Sisters signified their “Yes” to the following of  Christ in the family of the Daughters of Jesus. Patricia and the celebrant also signed as official witnesses.

Then, the Daughters of Jesus present in the assembly welcomed Therese-Anh and Martina with joy, as their Sisters in the Congregation of Daughters of Jesus.

“Welcome in the hollow of your hands”

The liturgy of the Word gave way to the Eucharistic liturgy, with  special emphases for the occasion:La liturgie eucharistique se déroule avec des couleurs particulières pour l’occasion :

The offertory procession symbolising the internationality of the Congregation and the path followed by the novices leading up to this day.

The prayers of intercession:

Your call, Lord, has resounded in the hearts of Anh and Martina. They have “dug deep” throughout this time of novitiate in order to seek You, to meet You, and to respond to Your Love.

Accept today their desire to consecrate their whole life to You and give them the grace to be humble witnesses of Your Good News wherever they are sent.

After communion, the novitiate community and the four postulants who will begin their novitiate in the autumn sang a song to the Virgin Mary, asking her to teach them to say “Yes” every day of their lives.

Xin vâng Mẹ dạy con hai tiếng xin vâng
Hôm qua hôm nay và ngày mai
Xin vâng Mẹ dạy con hai tiếng xin vâng
Hôm nay tương lai và suốt đời

Please, Mother, teach me two words, “Yes”,

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Please, Mother, teach me two words, “Yes”,

Today, in the future, and forever.

The sending out and the blessing

At the end of the celebration, the moment arrived when the newly professed Sisters were sent on mission by the Superior General:

– Anh was sent to Cameroon, to the Provincial House in Yaoundé, to begin her training as a nurse.

– Martina was to go to the community of Villavicencio in Colombia to work in the kindergarten.

They left with the blessing of Father Modeste:

  • “May God establish you in the whole world as signs and witnesses of his love.”
  • “May his goodness grant you to keep forever in heaven the bonds that unite you to Christ on earth.”

The celebration continues

Of course, the celebration continued with a toast to the parish hall decorated for the occasion, followed by a celebratory meal together. It gave us the opportunity to congratulate the newly professed Sisters and to express our joy once again at welcoming them into the family of the Daughters of Jesus.

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