The Joyful Day of First Commitment

4 June 2022

After two years of formation in the novitiate, our three novices were ready to take their temporary vows. The novitiate has set a solid foundation for living their consecrated life. The novices entered into retreat for eight days, guided and accompanied by Rev. Fr Patrick OFM Cap. After eight days of silence and solitude, reflection and discernment, our three novices Aniqa Shoukat, Shiza Arif and Summan Ashraf, were ready to plunge their nets into the deep.

The traditional ceremony of cutting hair of the novices took place on the eve of 22nd May, 2022 as all the Sisters were gathered together after their enriching experience of the Provincial Chapter session one. This ceremony has its origin dating back to the beginning of religious institutions. This traditional ceremony began with the hymn “I have decided to follow Jesus” which was followed by reading from the Holy Bible and psalm 45 was sung by everyone. As the psalm was sung Sr. Noreen Peter, the Novice Mistress performed this traditional ceremony of the cutting hair which symbolizes the total submission and offertory of oneself to God.

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On 23rd May 2022 morning, at 7:30 am, the Formation Community proceeded to the Provincialate Chapel where the Provincial, General Councilor and Superior of the community along with the other Sisters welcomed and received them. All entered the chapel joyfully rejoicing and thanking the Lord for these new members in the Congregation. The Chapel was beautifully decorated and a meaningful liturgy was arranged for their Reception Ceremony. As the General Chapter theme is "Go and do likewise” so the novices desired to choose the same theme for their first commitment. They presented their request, after which they received habit and the veil, Constitutions and Statutes of the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary by the Provincial. It was a moment of joy and blessing for the Province.

On the same day, the ceremony of pronouncing their temporary vows took place during the holy Eucharist in which the priests, religious, families of the novices and our SCJM Associates participated. The procession was led by the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary along with the three novices, their parents and the priests. After the introduction of the ceremony, the parents of our three novices entrusted their daughters to Sr. Victoria Rehmat, the provincial Superior to be the members of the SCJM family.

The Holy Mass was celebrated by the Vicar General, Rev. Fr. Asif Sardar, with other priests. During the Holy Mass, the sisters consecrated themselves by pronouncing the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience to God publically for three years, to serve the Lord and His people like a Good Samaritan.

After making their request known, they received the SCJM cross as a sign of being the member of the Congregation. The ceremony moved along to garland the newly professed Sisters, a symbolic gesture of acceptance and rejoicing which was done by three jubilarian sisters. These moments were very touching as the sisters accepted and promised to help and support our newly professed sisters.

After the final blessing, a ‘Vote of Thanks’ was presented by the newly professed sisters. The melodious choir for the occasion was well prepared by Mr. Amir Yaqub and Sr. Magdalene Yaqub, which kept up the spirit of prayer and blessing for the great occasion.

After the Holy Mass, the newly professed sisters led the congregation to the Sacred Heart Convent Hall. Another ceremony of cutting cake, offering and receiving gifts and blessings was held. The festive food was then enjoyed by all.

May God continue to bless our three SCJMs and accompany them in their life’s journey as His chosen disciples.

Formation Community, Lahore

From left to right : Sisters Aniqa Shoukat, Summan Ashraf and Shiza Arif

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