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 avsl 02Entrance to the ceremony - Sisters: Licia, Maria Helena and Lécia


avsl 04The Assembly
avsl 03Bishop Gilberto, Bishop Guilherme and Deacon Joel
avsl 05Sister Lécia pronounces her vows to Sister Licia who receives them
avsl 06Sister Lécia signes the book
avsl 07Bishop Guilherme blessing Sister Lécia during the Ceremony

After an eleven year journey with the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor, the day of my Perpetual Vows finally arrived: a day of thanksgiving in which I fully surrendered to God’s Will. God came to greet me with the rising sun. I woke to the joyful tweeting of birds, greeting that beautiful morning. All around me made me feel happy – despite the warmth, everything contributed to the significance of this day. Even with the high temperatures, the contagious warmth of friendship added freshness to the environment.



I felt my heart flooded with peace, joy, gratitude and love. Around me I felt as if angels were singing to God hymns of praise and jubilation.  It was the happiest day of my life -- a day of thanksgiving and praise to the God of Life for the gift of my vocation. October 12th is the celebration of the patron saint of Brazil, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Appeared. I had the grace also to receive the Congregational Ring of the first Regional Minister of Brazil, Sister Margaret Ferri -- a sign of my consecration to God and of my commitment to God’s creation. The ring has an engraved inscription – "Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name and consecrated me.” (Isaiah 49:1).  This inscription is now engraved in my heart forever. . .

Moreover, 2015 was the year our Church invited us, as consecrated religious, to look at the past with gratitude and, together, give thanks to the Father, who has called us to follow Jesus by truly living according to his Gospel. The Church urges us to pour out our hearts the Holy Spirit, who gives us joy and impels us to bear witness to his love and mercy to the whole world. And on this special day, in this special year, I pronounced my definitive ‘Yes’ to God’s call, promising to live in community, until death, in Consecrated Celibacy, Poverty and Obedience. It was a very strong experience for me: I was became fully aware of giving myself totally to God. The God of Love gave me, for love’s sake, a most precious gift, my own life. Although I was overwhelmed by emotion, that didn’t stop me from participating in all the events fully heartedly!



During the ceremony itself, I felt graced by God. The choir sang so beautifully and I exulted in the joy for that moment.  Two bishops were present: the former Bishop of the Diocese of Ipameri Monsignor Gilberto Pereira Lopes and our current Bishop, Monsignor Guilherme Antonio Werlang MSF. During his homily, Bishop Werlang said: "You are the servant of God, called to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring his people back to him.  God wants to make you a light to the nations.  Be light, a light for the people.”  These words deeply touched my heart, as a servant of God who is being called to restore and bring His people back to Him. I know I'm small and limited, so I put myself in the hands of God asking Him to lead and guide my steps so that I, with my sisters’ support, may live my vocation in authenticity and simplicity to the service of God's creation.

After the Eucharistic Celebration, all those present were invited to enjoy a delicious lunch that the local community, my parents and my siblings had prepared with love.  It was wonderful to share this special day with them, and with other friends. I was surprised by Brother Acacio, from the Franciscan Brothers of the Poor, who brought me great joy with his presence. I was enchanted by the tender welcome from the parish of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, in Campo Alegre de Goiás a name which they honored by opening their arms to us, making themselves available, and cheerfully helping us with all the details.



After our Area Assembly and my Perpetual Profession, I felt myself renewed in the love of God, ready to undertake with responsibility, the mission that the Lord has entrusted to me. Moreover, God gave our community the gift of our Congregational Minister, Sr. Licia Mazzia’s canonical visitation.  It was a time of grace: their presence enhanced our community life, their simplicity and proximity helped deepen our sharing as each Sister was given an opportunity to share about her life.  We were also happy to welcome Sr. Giannica Selmo and Sr. Maria Helena, whose presence so enriched our communal sharing.



All these moments that God has been giving to me these days bring to mind just three words to share:  Gratitude, Grace and Joy.

Thank you for these gifts and for giving me the opportunity to have reached this special moment in my home town, and with the people of Campo Alegre. It made me feel more fully  the love the people have for me and for our Congregation.


Gratefully,



Sister Lécia José da Silva

avsl 08Sister Lécia receiving the Congregational Ring from Sr. Licia: the sign of consecration to God and commitment to God’s people avsl 010Offertory procession

avsl 011Consecration of the bread and the wine

avsl 012Sister Lécia giving communion to her brother, Valdiney, and to her sister, Clécia avsl 013Bishop Guilherme, with SisterLécia and her parents, Ms. Maria and Mr. Valdivino da Silva

avsl 09Sister Lécia with Sister Licia next to the image of Our Lady Aparecida
 avsl 015The Sisters of the Santa Clara Community of Ipameri: Bernadette Teresinha, Lécia and Antonieta

avsl 014The Sisters of the Geographic Area of Brazil together with Sr. Licia

Published: January, 21, 2016