Guwahati: A thanksgiving Eucharistic and congratulatory program was held on July 23 at the Holy Cross Sisters of Chavanod, Guwahati Provincial House.
Sr Elsy Francis, Sr Madona Victor, Sr Sheela Rani Visuvasam Pillai and Sr Smitha Thomas celebrated their 50 and 25 years of religious profession.
In his apostolic letter Vita Consecrata, Saint John Paul II recounts: “In all times there have been men and women who, obeying the call of the Father and the inspiration of the Spirit, have chosen the special way of following Christ, and consecrate themselves to him with an undivided heart, abandoning everything to be with him and put themselves at the service of God and humanity”.
The entrance procession was a promulgation of the words of Saint John Paul II. The entrance procession carried out by the pre-novices symbolized a journey from the outside world to the sanctuary of God and they were followed by the Golden Jubilarian Sr. Elsy, her relatives and the Silver Jubilarians accompanied by the provincial team followed Sisters, Candidates, Priests and the Principal Celebrant.
Sr. Elsy Francis, known for her pastoral zeal and catechetical works, was born on January 5, 1950 to pious and God-fearing parents, Mr. KT Francis and Mrs. Philomina Francis. She is from Kallekad, Kerala, Archdiocese of Trichur. She is the third child among eight siblings. This event became very special with the presence of eight members of his family; two of his brothers, Mr. Kurian M. Joy from the Tharayil family, his sisters-in-law, his niece Amala, his nephew Febin and his cousin Sr. Elsy John SCC from the province of Kolkata.
Sr. Sheela Rani Visuvasam Pillai known for her inner joy and dynamism was born on April 4, 1975 to Mr. Visuvasam Pillai and Mrs. Susooiammal. She is from Iravathanallur, Madurai Tamilnadu.
Sr. Smitha Thomas was born on May 17, 1978 to Mr. Thomas Varghese and Mrs. Lizy Thomas. She is from Mundakayam, Kottayam Kerala district. It is known for its ability to adapt to all the cultures and languages of northeastern India. She is fluent in the Assamese language.
Sr. Madona Victor was born on October 14, 1975 to MA Victor and Mrs. Fathima Mary. She is from Megalathur in Kumbakonam Diocese, Tamil Nādu. Sr. Madonna is known for her prayer life and her gentleness towards people. She serves as the province’s junior mistress and has strengthened the vocations of many young sisters under her care.
Archbishop John Moolachira of Guwahati, the main celebrant in his homily congratulated the Jubilarians and the Congregation of the Holy Cross for their life and ministry in the Church. He said, “The Jubilee is a joyous celebration because of the joy of living, the joy of being faithful, the joy of serving the Lord and his people for fifty and twenty-five years. It is also a time of thanksgiving just like the Israelites (Leviticus 25) We give thanks to the abundant mercy of God, God was experienced as Father, Mother brother and companion”.
Archbishop John continued, “One of the favorite hymns of thanksgiving is that of the Blessed Virgin Mary, popularly known as the Magnificat, which means singing the praises of God. Mary recognizes all that God has done in her life; she feels favoured, blessed and honoured. Another example is Hannah who fervently prayed to God for a child. God answered Anne’s prayer by granting a son named Samuel, whom she dedicated to God. In the Song of Annas, she glorified God for sustaining her and wiping the tears from her eyes with the birth of her son Samuel (1 Sam 1:1-28). The same message of thanksgiving is also repeated in Saint Paul’s letter to the Colossians: “May the peace of Christ reign in your hearts, for to this you have been called as members of one body. And be grateful.” (Colossians 3:15)
Congratulating the jubilarians, Sr. Annie Varghese, the provincial said: “Dear sisters, you have lived in obedience to the rule of life of our congregation, faithful to its charism and its mission, faithful to the spirit of our founders Mother Claudine and Father. Pierre Marie Mermier, and faithful to your beloved Spouse, Jesus Christ.
The book of Leviticus portrays the spirit of jubilee as an occasion for grateful remembrance of past events, rejoicing for graces received, and recognition of God’s faithfulness. The journey of 50 and 25 years is not simply a journey through a series of days and years, but rather journeys surrounded and intertwined by intimacy and relationship with God and his people. The life journeys of these sisters have been fulfilling and demanding, risky and exciting. They were filled with losses and gains, filled with joys and sorrows and in all this God who calls people to consecrated life is glorified.