On Saturday, 25 August, Sr Anna Yeo and Sr Mary Gonçalves of the Daughters of Divine Charity made their First Profession at The Annunciation Church in Chesterfield.
On this very special Saturday morning the congregation, including family and friends of Sr Anna and Sr Mary, raised their voices for the opening hymn: Be Thou My Vision. The Liturgy of the Word, was followed by the Rite of the First Profession as both sisters were called by their name and stepped forward to state their desires. Parish Priest, Fr Adrian Tomlinson gave the homily, then Sr Anna and Sr Mary knelt before the Provincial Superior to read the Formula of Profession and receive the symbols of their consecration to God and the Congregation:
A ring, the sign of fidelity to Christ
The veil, the sign of a bride of Christ
The emblem, the sign of the Congregation of the Daughters of Divine Charity
The Constitutions of the Congregation, that they may express in their vocation
A Garland of flowers, a sign of the crown of glory
The rest of the sisters sang Magnificat while the newly professed sisters changed the white veils of the novitiate for black veils – after wearing the white veils for two years during their novitiate. Prayers of the faithful were offered, followed by the Offertory Hymn: Take my hands. Then the Liturgy of the Eucharist took place. The hymn, Jesus Christ, You are my life, was sung to conclude the Mass.
A reception was held with celebration cakes in the Annunciation Parish Centre afterwards. Sr Anna and Sr Mary have become much loved faces in the parish community in Chesterfield over the past 2 years, and many came to share the celebration and congratulate them as they begin the next stage of their religious vocation in Norfolk.
The Daughters of Divine Charity (“FDC”, from the Latin, Filiae Divinae Caritatis) also celebrate their 150th anniversary this year. Founded by Mother Franciska Lechner in Vienna on 21 November, 1868, the order is now blessed with over a thousand sisters presently making God’s love visible in the world. They have sisters in ten provinces in more than twenty countries.
In England, the Sisters of the Sacred Heart Province have been serving God for one hundred and four years. Their main apostolate has been in education. At present, there is a school in Swaffham, a nursery in Chesterfield and a small care home in Hunstanton. In the parishes where their convents are situated, many of the sisters are Eucharistic ministers. They visit the sick, elderly and prepare children for Holy Communion and Confirmation. They also organise retreats in schools and universities. Their motto is ‘All for God, for the Poor and for our Congregation!’
“Over the years,” said Novice Mistress, Sr Linda Pergegaj, “we have been blessed with new vocations. From today, we will have four junior sisters, one novice and two new candidates. Through the intercession of our Foundress, Our Blessed Drina Martyrs and all our deceased sisters, we pray through God’s merciful providence for more new vocations. Please continue to keep us in your prayers and to pray for more new vocations that God may have labourers for his harvest.”