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3Sr. Francesca Vitulano and Sr. Tiziana MerlettiIt is October 6 and here I am about to take a new step in my journey as a Franciscan Sister of the Poor. After years of temporary vows and formation, the moment has come for me to say “yes” forever.

It was beautiful sharing this moment with the dearest and closest people in my life: the Sisters, (and some of them from other Areas), relatives, and friends! We were celebrating all together as a family the wonders the Lord continues to perform in my, and our, lives.

The preceding months of preparation have been important and profound. The Lord put me again before my being, in both lights and shadows, and there I felt, and touched with my own hands, that the gift is total and the Lord is faithful to those with a sincere (not a perfect!) heart….

Two moments during the celebration were foundational for me:

The first was The Litany of Saints. In that moment I felt that as if there were a bridge between heaven and earth; I perceived near me the presence of the Saints that were being invoked, as well as all the people who have been important in my life. Now they were accompanying me from heaven and celebrating with me – with us.

Another important moment was the reading of the vows. I felt all the responsibility of the commitment I was making before God and humanity, there represented by all people who participated in the celebration and by Sister Tiziana Merletti, our Congregational Minister.

Being a sign of God’s mercy for the poor and suffering humanity, as Blessed Frances Schervier said, is the call that is written in my heart and which, with my “yes,” I long to live every day!

Sr. Francesca Vitulano, sfp
 
1Perpetual Vows of Sr. Francesca and Sr. Jenny 6Celebration of Perpetual Vows 4Moment of communal celebration

2Sr. Jenny Favarin receives the ring from Sr. Tiziana Merletti“Jenny, one has to be careful with the Eternal Father, because He takes literally what one asks for; in fact he overdoes it!”  This was my mother's exclamation after the perpetual vows Francesca and I professed. In fact, when, after already having two children – my brother and I – my mother found herself expecting a child again. Her desire was to give me a little sister. But a wonderful boy was born and that small and hidden prayer was forgotten. On October 6, however, my Mom had to admit that the Lord takes seriously our requests, given how I was receiving many sisters in the congregation of the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor! Personally, the most beautiful gift of perpetual vows, beyond going through it with Francesca, has been the feeling that God was definitively receiving me through the eyes of Mother Church, in this particular religious family.

What most of all allowed me to enjoy the celebration was the profound understanding that the “yes” being said was God’s too, and not just mine… how liberating! To let Him do the guiding and let me do the trusting! A time of such joy and trepidation! Yes, the Lord listens to our prayers, even those most hidden in our heart. God does not miss a smile and does not allow for any tear to fall on the ground. It is to this God that I entrust suffering humanity and to whom I promise eternal friendship.

Sr. Jenny Favarin, sfp