Profession of Vow of Six Dominican Sisters of Malta Lahore
Lahore: On Saturday, 4 June 2022, celebration came in two folds at Divine Mercy Convent, Lahore. The entire congregation was overjoyed with the Diamond Jubilee of Dominican Sisters of Malta and the first Profession of six sisters. Namely Sr. Muqqadas Mushtaq OP, Sr. Mariam Munawar OP, Sr. Sundas Ijaz OP, Sr. Gulshan Samuel OP, Sr. Pervisha Abid OP. And final professions of Sr. Shumaila Yousuf OP and Sr. Mishall Stephen OP.
As burnt incense wafted through the church the entire congregation stood solemnly. In his opening comments the main celebrant Archbishop Sebastian Francis Shaw warmly welcomed the sisters and their families saying, “We are devotedly gathered here today to thank our Lord for this blissful moment. As we are called to spread His love for us through this profession. Let us pray for all those who have realized their vocations and willfully offered themselves in the service of God our Father.”
Preceding Archbishop Shaw’s homily each of the sisters proclaimed, “Oh my God you called me and I am here.”
“In a family God’s abundant blessings are reflected when a member realizes a call for vocation. So let us pray for these families who have nurtured and willfully accepted God’s call. It is not easy to love one another therefore it is important to first love oneself. Just as St Matthew says blessed are the pure in heart. For pure thoughts flow from purity of heart which once fully realized awakens the soul and mind. Let us then contemplate how we can love and serve our God and become inheritors of the afterlife.”
Addressing the six sisters the Archbishop continued, “Although you have achieved years of formation but it is our ongoing formation that carries on till our final rest. So it is important that we deeply reflect on our daily lives. And be thankful for each day for only when we learn to be thankful are we fully able to unlock our true potential. The ancient church also suffered from difficult times and yet our apostles enlightened everyone around them. And this enlightenment grows today as you take your first profession.”
Sr Sundas Ijaz OP along with other five sisters vowed that, “I Sundas Ijaz OP solemnly promise to Almighty God, Mother Mary, St Dominic and to you Sr Francis Barucha that I will follow the rules set by St Augustine and Dominican Sisters of Malta and be completely obedient to you for a year.”
After wearing the black veils, blessed by Archbishop Shaw, the same vows were repeated however the obedience was promised till death.
These black veils are a symbol of celibacy essential for becoming brides of the church. Sr Sundas continued saying, “Lord accept me according to this vocation that I may never lose hope.”
After each sister had taken their vow Archbishop prayed, “Our Dear Lord virtuous and righteous in every ambition it is just and right to praise you. Even though the first unfaithful human, betrayed by satan, you still did not chose to abandon us. But promised us a Savior through the Blessed Virgin Mary. A Savior who purified the Church by washing it with His own blood. Dear God you have shown great wisdom in setting apart these brides of the Church. Therefore, we humbly pray for the blessing of these daughters with the Holy Spirit. That they may love you wholeheartedly. Bless others also so that they may look upon the Kingdom of Heaven. Dear Lord guide them and protect them against the charades of the devil. So that on judgment day they follow the voice of the Groom of the Church.”
His prayer culminated in the blessing of the sacramental rings signifying complete love and obedience. Each of the sisters brought special offerings and embraced their families with tears of joy and humble hearts.
In his final blessings Archbishop Shaw said, “Dear Lord bless them and guide them every step of the way that they remain steadfast in their promises. And that they may become instruments of happiness for themselves, their families and for the entire church. We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.”