Perpetual vows: Saying Yes to the Lord

on 22 Sep, 2019
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Paris (France) 09/22/2019, Sr. Conchi García.- Last 14th of September in Paris, on the day of The Glorious Cross, a major and meaningful event was celebrated for all of us: the perpetual vows of Sister Maria Esperanza Olarte-Mateus in Paris. Sisters from many different places - Lourdes, Toulouse, Tours, Rome and Spain joined the event giving thanks to the Lord. Maria Esperanza’s family from Columbia – her elder sister and her nephew-godson - were also present. We were about 150, including sisters, relatives and friends.

Life is marked by moments … of light, darkness, pain and sadness, but also by moments of joy and party. And it is precisely one of those moments we heartily and merrily celebrated in the Province of France and the Congregation. Saying Yes to the Lord is a lifelong journey but the engagement is made present when we give it publicly: it seals our covenant with He Who loved us first.

In a simple and very fraternal way, the festivity had begun the day before with compline, and the atmosphere was that of prayer and gratefulness to God who gives life and vocation. The whole celebration and party were perfectly organized : the sisters had fixed everything in all minor details. The celebration took place at the Dominican Friars’, in their convent – the convent of Annunciation. The brothers were most welcoming and helpful, facilitating all that could be shared on this very special day. Friar Éric de Clermont Tonnerre, Prior of the convent, gave us the opportunity to celebrate there, insisting on the pride of living such an experience in their house. 

The Eucharist was presided by Father Orlando Rueda, Maria Esperanza’s fellow Columbian and socius of the Master General of the Order. He had come from Rome. In his homily, Friar Orlando said we were called to embrace Christ’s cross both in its passion and its glory, that is to say in pain – referring to Christ’s blood (the red of passion, as we can see it in Fra Angelico’s painting of Saint Dominic at the foot of the cross), and in contemplation (Dominic watching the deep blue sky behind the cross). It’s a beautiful coincidence that the Church should celebrate one of the most important events in its history : Mary’s compassion on Mary of Sorrows day, and the Glorious Cross. The cross and the glory go hand in hand.

The meaning of it is that we have to inhabit a world of pain and teach this world joy, to walk towards the calvary and towards life, recognizing the true colour of our hopefulness and glory to give meaning to people who have lost the sense of their life. The moment of the perpetual vows was most moving and no doubt we, sisters present at that moment, remembered our Yes to the Lord and how He had entered our life to dwell with us. Our sister Maria Esperanza delivered her engagement as a Dominican Sister of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin, received by Sr Véronique Margron, Superior provincial as the delegate of Sr Maria Escayola Coris, Superior General.

Perpetual vows of Sr. Mª EsperanzaPerpetual vows of Sr. Mª Esperanza

Then we could meet the people present at the celebration in the welcoming rooms of the convent, where an exquisite buffet was served. We enjoyed music, dancing, singing and happy conversations. We give thanks to the Lord for the life and of Maria Esperanza and the gift of vocation that enables our heart to grow a little more. Thanks to those who walk with us day after day, thanks to the moments we are given to live. They make us both stronger and more sensitive..

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