In the Mass of the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple, on this last 2nd of February, four novices of the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion pronounced their first vows, thus engaging in a commitment of 3 years in the Congregation. The ceremony took place in the beautiful Monastery of St. John in Montana, known simply as "Ein Kerem", the name of the village in which it is located.
The new sisters are:
Lúcia de Fátima, Brazilian; Maria O. Malau, Indonesian; Nancy Mena and Andrea Chacón, Costa Ricans.
The ceremony was attended by Sisters and Brothers of Sion from various parts of the world, including the regions from where the young women came and to where they will be sent back. The beautiful music of the celebration was performed by Br. Tiago and Veronika, a friend of Sion who came from Poland especially for this purpose.
From left to right: Nancy, Maria, Lúcia and Andrea, the four novices who pronounced their first vows in Sion.
The Mass was presided by Father Carlos Vasconcelos, a brother of Sion, and concelebrated by Father Pierpaolo, of the Congregation of the Comboni Fathers. Br. Elio Passeto, of the Congregation of the Brothers of Sion, was the special guest to present a reflection on the readings of the liturgy. In his meditation, he traced the origins and historical development of the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, made a theological analysis of each one of the readings and, from the text of St. Luke about the presentation of Jesus in the temple, sought to trace the meaning of the profession of vows that the young women would pronounce moments later:
Then today's liturgical feast gives us a great opportunity to think together about our responsibility in the Church. You Maria, Nancy, Andrea, and Lucy are sent to be light among the nations. Because we are a call from God and therefore part of God's plan in history, our being Sion is not static, Sion is an action. We have to be on incessant movement, in a search. To have the name of Sion as a sister or as a brother does not indicate an accomplishment, but it means to take responsibility for an activity in the world, through the Church as a sister or brother of Sion. And our action is linked to the vocation of Israel, which is to be a light to the Nations that the Church is associated with this vocation. (Br. Elio Passeto, nds)
Brother Elio's reflection in English can be accessed through this link.
Something new this year was the live broadcast of the celebration, which made possible to many people to watch from various parts of the world. More than 40 people watched the broadcast, whose recording remains available at this link.
In the afternoon, a celebration of thanksgiving in the Novitiate.
After Mass, the feast continued in Ein Kerem with a lunch served in the main dining room of the house. From 4:30, Sisters and Brothers of Sion, as well as friends and other guests, gathered at the Novitiate for a moment of thanksgiving and fellowship. At that moment, then without the natural tension of the celebration, we could talk with the new sisters, with the mistress of novices, Juliana Baldinger, with Sr.Darlene DeMong, of the formation team, and with the Superior General of the Sisters of Sion, Sr. Mary Babic. Check the video attached to this article.
The new sisters have already received their first mission. Sisters Andrea and Nancy will return to Costa Rica, where they will join the community of Turrialba; Sister Lucy will go for a mission in Berba, Egypt; and Sister Maria Malau will be at Ecce Homo in Jerusalem for a period of three months.
Congratulations to the new sisters Andrea, Lucia, Maria, and Nancy. May Our Lady of Sion conduct their ministry so that they always be witnesses to the love of Jesus for his people Israel.
By Sr. Anne-Catherine
Natan is a professional goldsmith. One of his recent work with a team was remaking the tombs of the soldiers in the military cemetery of Jerusalem and now at Mount Herzl. His wife is a tourist guide who for many years has brought groups to visit NDS – Ein Kerem, involving and asking one of us to talk to them. We know their children since they were very young because she used to take them to our beautiful garden. In brief, they are friends of our house and love it.
Natan proposed us to prepare a stone of welcoming in different languages (the two of the country and the four of our Congregation) to put at the entrance of the garden. He brought his work last Monday and to receive it we had prepared a simple celebration with a special blessing and a glass of wine. He was not expecting such a reception, thinking that he will just deliver his work. He was very impressed and moved and we were too.
May peace be on our walls…and outside…and in all this land that we all love.
The blessing in English:
Blessed are you Lord, King of Universe who creates the stone and guides the hand of the goldsmith.
May all people who enter this house of Notre Dame de Sion feel welcome with love, respect, joy and an open heart.
We thank you for all who contributed through generations to make this house a house for all people, since Alphonse and Theodore Ratisbonne and the first sisters, until today, a house of peace and serenity.
Bless especially the family of Natan, Judith, Adam, Daniel and Tal
Blessed are you, Lord, Creator of all.
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ברוך אתה ה, אלוהינו, מלך העולם שבורא את האבן ומדריך את יד הצורף.
יהיה רצון מלפניך שכל אלה שנכסים בבית הזה יתקבלו בכבוד אהבה, שמחה ולב פתוח
אנחנו מודים לך על אלפונס וטאודור רטיסבון ,הנזירות הראשונות וכל הדורות שעשו את הבית בזה בית לכולם עדהיום הזה, בית של שלום ושלווה
תברך היום נתן ומשפחתו: יהודית, אדם, דניאל, טל
ברוך אתה הי בורא את הכל אמן
On this 20 January 2016 the Congregations of Sion all over the world celebrated the Feast of Mary’s manifestation to Alphonse Ratisbonne. A special celebration took placre in the morning, in Ein Kerem, where 6 novices of the international novitiate (Arylene, Alexandra, Clara, Joey, Rozeni and Victoria) professed their first temporary vows. Congratulation to the new sisters of Sion. Count on our prayers and support. May God bless you all in your new missions.
In the afternoon there was another Mass in Ratisbonne monastery, this time presided by his Excellency Monsignor William Shomali with the presence of sisters, brothers and friends of Sion and the Spanish-Portuguese biblical program.
Notre Dame de Sion communities in Jerusalem celebrated the Golden Jubilee of Nostra Aetate with a Mass in Ein Kerem, Wedneday morning of the 28/10/2015.