Scoresby (Australia). On May 16, 2018, at Scoresby in Australia, in the parish church of St. Jude, the Perpetual Profession of Sr. Bernadette Wauki, the first FMA of the Solomon Islands, took place in the presence of the Mother General of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, M. Yvonne Reungoat.

The Auxiliary Bishop, Mark Edwards, who presided over the Eucharistic celebration, prayed with Sister Bernadette and shared the theme chosen by Sister Bernadette for her Profession, “Do not be afraid, I am with you“.

All the Sisters have just concluded the Mid-chapter Evaluation over the past five days (11-15 May) and everyone assisted in helping Sr. Bernadette re-organise the house for this memorable event for her and for all in the province. It was a great experience of community communion. This event, then, is not only significant for the life of Sr. Bernadette but for the whole province since all the participants of the Mid-Chapter Evaluation were present for Sr. Bernadette’s final profession. This happens rarely in the SPR province where most FMA are not present for a final profession because our communities are located in three nations (Australia, Samoa, and the Solomon Islands) and it is too costly for everyone to travel from one country to the other even if it is very significant for the person individually and for the province as a whole.

Bishop Mark Edwards OMI, one of the auxiliary religious bishops of Melbourne, presided. He is known to the Sisters in Melbourne since he is in charge of the Catholic youth of the archdiocese and some Sisters work in close collaboration with him. The SDB provincial, Fr. Will Mathews concelebrated with several other Salesians and other religious and diocesan priests. Relatives, friends, and benefactors of the Sisters also attended the celebration.

During the homily, the bishop stressed the real truth about Sr. Bernadette is that she is intimately known, totally accepted, and deeply loved by God. In response today she wants to love God through her vowed life, living out her baptismal calling radically. She chose a reading from Jeremiah, ‘Do not be afraid to take this step’. He says the same to her, ‘do not be afraid’, Jesus is the Good Shepherd, always trust Him. This is the image Sr. Bernadette chose for the Gospel, may it remain with her throughout her life.

Among many other things that Sr. Bernadette shared in her address to all at the end of the Eucharist, she stated, “Words are not enough to express my gratitude to God and to all who have embraced and enriched my life in so many different ways. I praise and thank God for planting in my heart an eternal yearning for God, which can only be satisfied in God alone, and for making possible what seems impossible by accepting such a humble creature like me as friend. I praise and thank God for the company of family and friends, especially my beloved parents, who by their unconditional love, have shown me God’s love. I would like to thank Mother General, Mother Yvonne Reungoat for being here with us today and for receiving my final profession and accepting me into the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help to Christians with full membership. What a privilege this is for me!

Mother Yvonne spoke to all present after Sr. Bernadette’s address and shared that what has taken place today is felt around the world since the Salesian Sisters in many parts of the world know that their Mother General is in Australia at the final profession of Sr. Bernadette. Secondly, Mother Yvonne stated that Sr. Bernadette is the first Salesian Sister of the Solomon Islands to make her final profession. This becomes the seed for other future vocations to religious life, especially for the Salesian Sisters. Lastly, Mother Yvonne emphasised the joy that such a commitment brings to the Institute and to the Church at large since the commitment just made testifies to the love of God for humanity and the spreading of God’s Kingdom.

After the celebration all gathered for refreshments in the Salesian Sisters’ hall where a celebratory cake was offered to Sr. Bernadette and then shared among all. Entertainment was given by the Sisters who live in the Solomon Islands together with some Dominican friars from the Solomon Islands living in Melbourne and known to Sr. Bernadette.

Once everyone left, Mother Yvonne gave the last Good Night to the Sisters and once again thanked all for a very fruitful and joyful time spent at Scoresby for the Mid-chapter Evaluation and the final profession of Sr. Bernadette Wauki. She underlined the fact that the Mid-Chapter, being experienced throughout the FMA world in 2018, is a means of renewing the commitment to joy and living in the community for mission, stressing that community is the place where formation and transformation happen. On behalf of all, Sr. Edna Mary MacDonald sincerely thanked Mother Yvonne and Sr. Lucy for their gracious and wonderful presence in the SPR province!


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