Sister Mary James Makwati CPS’s Final Yes to the Lord
Religious Sisters are special, and even non-Catholics love and respect them, because they “present Christ in a striking manner”, a bishop told a Mass to celebrate the profession of a Precious Blood Sister.
Bishop Sithembele Sipuka of Mthatha presided over the Mass at Glen Avent convent during which Sr Mary James Makwati CPS pronounced her final “yes” to the Lord.
He was flanked by Bishop Vincent Zungu of Port Elizabeth and about 25 priests were in attendance.
Bishop Sipuka told Sr Mary James that she was taking her final vows “to follow Christ in a striking way…so that others may be drawn to Christ”.
“Now that you have made your final profession, you must not rest and just be happy to be finally professed,” he advised the Sister. “Don’t be happy to do the morning prayer and Mass, breakfast, tea, lunch, tea, evening prayer, supper social and sleep.”
Instead, he said, a Sister must ask herself: “What contribution am I called to make to the mission of the congregation?”
Bishop Sipuka expressed his sadness about Sisters who leave the religious life.
Bishop Available for Counselling
“You wonder if they seek any genuine advice before making their decision,” he said. The bishop said he is available for advice and guidance when Sisters are feeling lost.
Noting a shortage of spiritual directors, Bishop Sipuka said that “young Sisters must not only speak when they are in a crisis; they must be constantly sharing…with their spiritual directors and confessors”.
“But what do we do when we do not have a spiritual director? In the absence of a spiritual director, I would advise that one should have a friend with whom you can also talk about your spiritual journey and challenges.”
The bishop also lamented that too few young people attend the professions of Sisters.
Professions Should be More Public
“In many convents, like here, final vows are made in the mother house. But the problem is that we do not have enough young people attending professions so that they can witness the vows of Sisters, be they first or final vows,” he said.
“The comments that we make in between the rite of the final profession, explaining what is happening now, are beautiful, but they are told to people who know.
“And so in these celebrations, we are talking to ourselves and we are not talking to young people so that [they] can see for themselves and be inspired.
“We are preaching to the old and converted people, instead of preaching to the young people,” Bishop Sipuka said.
He told mother superiors that “if young people cannot come to professions in the mother houses, maybe professions should go to the young people; they should go to the parishes.
“Or if we continue to do them in the mother house, we must make a special effort to invite all parishes in time, and make sure that the youth from the parishes comes here in numbers,” Bishop Sipuka said.