First Profession of Vows
November 9th of 2019 has imprinted a significant mark in my life as it is the day that I made my first profession of vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience as a Sister of Providence. The weeks of preparation leading to the day of my first profession were characteristic of roller coaster of emotions, from fear to courage, confusion to surety, highs to lows, and chaos to peace. The fear of not living up to the vows and of living a life that is somewhat counter-cultural would grip me from time to time, but then the gentle yet assuring presence of a loving community sets an example of fidelity to the “call” from which I can draw courage. The awareness of the imminent day of profession brought me to question myself over and over again as to whether I am truly following the vocation God had called me to. This caused a little bit of confusion sometimes. When I took my walks or sat in silence to take the time to listen to what my heart says…the heart where God planted His own desires for me, which in a way are also my own desires, I found surety in the vocation I am pursuing. The “yes, but…” that can be a NO, is actually a “yes, and in spite of…it is a YES”. The experience of having to think of the practical details, minute or significant, and having to face stumbling blocks and trying to find alternative solutions gave me the emotional highs and lows of the previous months. Fortunately, I was blessed to have a lot of people from within and outside the community who were so generous in giving their time and effort in making things go smoothly. All of these factors brought a sense of chaos somehow to the point where I felt like succumbing to the pressure of the preparation, but most especially to the fear of surrendering myself completely to the community, to God, and to his people. In the words of Father Stephen Hero, the celebrant on November 9th, in vows I am intentionally divesting myself of all that I have, body, mind, and soul. I am like a stone perched on top of other stones and immersed in the water, helpless. And yet the stone is immersed in “living water”. God is the living water. Again, Father Stephen said, when I place myself in Providence…chaste, poor and obedient, I am like that stone held by God. As helpless as the stone is, I am giving away all that I have in order to receive all that God is. In that receiving, I receive the peace that the world cannot give. Indeed, during my weeklong retreat prior to the vows, despite all the chaos, I was immensely at peace with my decision to continue and make my vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience… living a life entirely dependent on Providence.