On 08 December 2021 Sr Cielo, who was part of the Richmond FDZ community and has now returned to the Philippines, celebrated 25 years as a Religious. Here she reflects on that day:
On this day of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Mary I am grateful to the Lord for reaching this 25-year anniversary of my religious profession. I am remembering the events of my life that I was able to reach during these wonderful years. Such dates are very important for me to celebrate. Twenty-five years ago, on 08 December 1996, my first profession was witnessed by my family, relatives, friends and some of the Sisters of the Daughters of Divine Zeal. Eighteen years ago my perpetual profession was attended by my family. My family was complete at that time but my parents were both very ill. Mum was terminally ill with leukemia, and my father had been diagnosed with cirrhosis. A day after my perpetual profession, my mother died. My father followed six months after her death.
December is a remarkable month for me. I am so thankful to God because of the opportunity to reach this year of celebrating with you, my 25th year as a Religious.
I am grateful to Our Lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary, to whom my family have a great devotion. My parents always taught us to pray the holy rosary and other popular novenas. I grew up knowing that God loves us and Mary’s maternal care continues to lead us to love His son Jesus. She helps us in many ways to make us closer to God.
Hardships in life are part of my life’s strengthening my faith in God. It is an unending process on how to deal with those challenging experiences that help to mould my spiritual being. The unfolding of prayer after prayer after prayer is the key and the reason for how I reached this 25th day of celebration.
25 years as a Religious is a journey with a trustful hope, a faith in God Who is active and ever-faithfully present in my life, and His undying love and mercy that keeps my heart desiring to continue this religious journey. I am praying to God for a holy and joyful perseverance until the end.
- To my parents and my brother and sisters, relatives, catechists, educators, my teachers, all my friends including virtual friends, thanks to them.
- To the MSC priest who baptized me and to the bishop who confirmed me, I thank you Lord.
- To the Rogationist priest who officiated at my first profession and perpetual profession, thank you Lord.
- To all my formators, confessors and spiritual directors, retreat facilitators from my formative years and ongoing formation and up to the present, thanks be to God.
- To all the Superiors, the Sisters in the community where I am, thank you God.
- To all the parish priests with whom I have worked, the former parish priest who lives so far away and especially at my present parish of St Joseph, the Husband of Mary, Fr Engelbert Elarmo, who welcomed and helped me, also to the people behind the scenes that made this celebration today possible and beautiful, thank you.
- To my former community in Australia where I stayed my longest years, thanks to the Sisters, friends and benefactors there.
- To my new community, the Sisters, the children who are in the choir, to the ones who arranged the flowers and made the altar so beautiful, thanks.
- To all friends and benefactors here in the Philippines, and to all of you, thank you Lord.
- To my batch mates, Sr. Elvira Pazuelo who also celebrated her 25th anniversary in another FDZ community, thank you.
- To all the Daughters of Divine Zeal, near and very far, to the Rogationists – our counterparts – I am praying for them all, thank you Lord.
- To the other Marys in my life who are my inspiration, thank you Lord.
Thank you, thank you, and thank you!
To live a life as a Religious is possible, it is a grace because of God’s mercy and the compassion that is bestowed upon me. Please continue to pray for me.