Sister Nida's Reflection on the Day
Sister Nida Fe Chavez made her final profession as a Sister of St. Joseph of Toronto on Aug. 15, 2009. Afterwards, she reflected on the day…
It has been three weeks since the celebration of my final profession as a Sister of St. Joseph of Toronto. I can still feel the peace and joy that I shared with all present that day: my Sisters in community, my family, friends, the parish priest where I minister, colleagues and parishioners. Our Morrow Park chapel was beautiful, filled with flowers and candles. Many shared with me that they experienced a beautiful, moving, and joyful celebration. It seemed that the Spirit of God permeated the place and each person’s heart with much love and joy bringing tears, laughter, gratitude, and awe of the God who called me to religious life.
During the vow ceremony, my response to Sister Margaret Myatt was: "It is with gratitude and joy that I say yes to God’s call and like Mary’s Magnificat I also say: "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God who is gracious, for God has done great things for me and Holy is God’s name." My statement of profession ended with the promise, according to the spirit of the Congregation, "to practise the most profound humility in all things and the most cordial charity towards my neighbour."
However, professing the vows and living them are two different things and so I was really touched when, after Sister Margaret accepted my final vows in the name of the Congregation, I saw the Sisters stand and in unison commit themselves to support and encourage me as I give my entire life to God.
Before the final blessing, the presider, Father Michel Dumont, asked all the Sisters of St. Joseph to stand. He asked the people in the chapel to look around and recognize the Sisters, their contribution to the world and to their ministries in the Church. I felt humbled to be called to a congregation of great women who live their religious life with humility, gratitude and fidelity. I also felt proud to be a finally professed member of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto.
How did I reach this milestone in my life? I look back to a time when, feeling a sense of restlessness, I was trying to find meaning in my life. I found peace and joy when I met the Sisters of St. Joseph through Sister Mary Rose Marrin at St. Martin de Porres parish. I cannot help but remember the passage that carried and held me during my retreat before the celebration of my final vows: "God’s steadfast love never ceases; God’s mercies never come to an end. They are new every morning. How great is God’s faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:22-24) God’s love sustained me from the time I heard the call in 1997 to the time I was ready to make my Final Profession on Aug. 15, 2009.
It took many years to deepen my relationship with God, to discern my call to religious life, and to be formed as a Sister of St. Joseph of Toronto. During the formation period, many of the Sisters accompanied me on my journey. I am very grateful for Sister Pat Boucher, Sister Mary Lou Harris, and Sister Mary Catherine Doyle. They, together with the Sisters I lived with in community, Sisters who mentored me in my ministry, members of the Formation Team and Leadership Team, helped and guided me to get to where I am today.
As a perpetually professed Sister of St. Joseph of Toronto, I entrust myself to God to lead me in living the vows I have professed and surrender myself to God who gave me life and loves me unconditionally. I hope and trust that I may continue to experience the "steadfast love of God and God’s faithfulness and mercies that never come to an end."
For a description of the ceremony, click here.