As I walked down the aisle toward the altar and looked to my left and right, I saw special people who had filled my life with love. A feeling of gratitude overwhelmed me. I felt within myself becoming aware of the enormity of love that had been given to me in countless ways, that had grown in magnitude over the years. My eyes filled with tears as I became aware of the greatness of God’s love in that one brief walk. Before the beginning of the Mass, when our provincial, Sister Josita offered an introductory address I was struck by her words ‘Today, Sister Rita takes that risk to respond to God’s call by professing her perpetual profession of vows’. These words serve as a constant reminder that God is always the first one to take that risk and not only that He trusted me to partake in His mission. Thanks to His spirit of grace that I listened and was able to respond.
Weeks before my final profession, I prepared and wrote my speech. However when the day arrived and I spoke to my mum over the phone I was touched by a motherly wisdom. The message I prepared was not really wasted. It was purified. The telephone conversation with my mother was truly a conversion and an enlightenment. My mother underlined the seriousness of my commitment. When I mentioned the title of the mystery I had chosen: “Sister Rita Marie of the faithful love of Jesus Crucified’ mum replied that these were not just beautiful words but a responsibility and a challenge. Lastly, Mum said, "Stay faithful to your Crucified Jesus. When life gets you down and the journey seems blurry, don’t hesitate to ask His help. He will show you the way.
God’s kingdom of love grows in our midst and it can be described to that of the tiniest of seeds. I may catch a glimpse of it once or twice in my life. However, I saw it as I walked down a main aisle, celebrating a great day of my life that grows each day and continues to flourish.
Moreover, I will take this opportunity to thank special people who shared my joy on that day. Appreciation goes to Father Kevin Carey the main celebrant, to Father Ron McFarlane, Father Antoni Dudek, Father Dave Hume, and Father Gabriel Ballawig. Thank you so much for taking part in this great event in my life. Thank you for the sacredness and the solemnity of the Mass and prayers you shared with me on that day.
There are so many things in my life for which I am so grateful and if I named them all, I would never finish. Countless blessings, grace upon grace and my perpetual profession were concrete signs of that most precious gift. Thank you to our Superior General Sister Janice Fulmer and Sister Virginette Rypniewski our General Councillor from Rome. To my provincial from the Philippines Sister Maria Fe Mata and to my Sisters provincial here in Australia past and present Sister.
Helen Tereba and Sister Josita Paczkowska, I thank you for your unending support, love and encouragement. To all my sisters from Perth, Brisbane, Maitland, and in Marayong, thank you! For sister Rosanne Sinclair who helped me during the preparation of my perpetual profession of vows, to all of you my sisters physically and spiritually present who made that day a very special one, thank you so much!
To the youth choir of Saint Andrew's Parish Marayong, thank you for your willingness to accept the invitation to be part of that great event in my life. Thank you for allowing me to journey with you as you continue your mission as witnesses of His great love.
To my foster parents Mr. and Mrs. David Hall, thank you for representing my mum and my family. Thank you for your ongoing support, love and prayers. To all of you my friends who were present and those who were unable to attend during my perpetual profession of vows, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
As I continue to give thanks to God the author of my life, for His great love, I pray: “Give me courage, O Lord, when I would fail you, when hope would surrender to dark despair, when the road is long and the load is heavy and the tempters haven is fair to see, speak to me, Lord, in my hour of weakness and give me the courage to strive towards you”. He always responds: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness”.
My God, for what else can I ask?
Sr. Rita Marie Apura
of the Faithful Love of Jesus Crucified