“True love of Christ had now transformed his lover into his image”. (St. Bonaventure)
September 17 2021, the feast of Stigmata of our Seraphic Father St. Francis… It is mere providential…no other day was so fitting for me to make my definite ‘Yes’ to the Lord as a Franciscan Missionary sister of the Sacred Heart. It was indeed planned by God, that the day of stigmata has been chosen to mark my day of Perpetual profession as just I am back from my International Juniorate in Rome, where I knew, touched and experienced much more directly the life, the spirituality, the holiness of my favourite saint Francis of Assisi, through intense course on Franciscan Spirituality. I returned my home country eager to accomplish my mission of “building the Church”, as assigned by my superiors.
Perpetual Profession…., a moment which was long awaited, to realize the deepest desire of my heart, to give myself totally to God who lovingly called me to share the unconditional love of His heart by being a Franciscan Missionary sister of the sacred Heart. The Stigmata of St. Francis in fact is an expression of love received and given. As St. Bonaventure states, “The fervour of his seraphic longing raised Francis up to God, and in an ecstasy of compassion, made him like Christ who allowed himself to be crucified in the excess of his love”. On this day, I am to give my total love to God who immensely loves me.
The day’s celebration was made all the more joyful with the presence of my parents, grandparents and other dear ones together with many of our Sisters and priests who are in one or other way close to my family and to me. The Eucharist was presided over by Rev. Monsignor Muvvala Prasad. In his homily, he stressed on the call of Samuel and it encouraged and strengthened me to be strong in my decision of giving myself totally to the Lord. I was alone to do my perpetual profession, since I was in Rome and the group of my companions have already done it. I was very happy with the simple and very touching celebration. The beautiful singing and all arrangements moved my heart in great joy.
Indeed, my “yes” to the Lord forever is an expression of my humble and complete submission to the will of God. Our blessed Mother Mary exulted in joy expressing, “My soul magnifies the Lord” (St. Luck 1:46) yes, like her I too say the same words in great joy, “ My Soul magnifies the Lord”, for the wonderful gift of my vocation and the many graces I received in my life. I am extremely happy today that I became part of the great Franciscan family, specially of the family of the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. On this great day of grace and joy, I gratefully remember and pray for all the people who guided me through my journey of faith and helped me to grow in God’s love. I prayed for the youth that they encounter Jesus like St. Francis and choose to live for him.
On the 19 of September, a thanksgiving Mass was celebrated in my home parish at Pedana. It was a great privilege for me to witness my Consecrated life to my parish people as amidst them I have grown up. Certainly, it motivates them to live and witness the gift of faith they have received and in a special way, I hope it will inspire in the hearts of the young people a desire to follow the Lord.
I would like to conclude the experience of this great day of mine put in words, with the words of St. Bonaventure on St. Francis, “Francis realized by divine inspiration, that God had shown him this vision in his providence, in order to let him see that as Christ’s lover, he would resemble Christ Crucified perfectly….”.
May our seraphic Father St. Francis help me to walk on his footsteps, to be ever faithful to my commitment and to live my life for Christ Crucified.
Sr. Mary Vani Boddu