The sun shone brightly as we gathered outside Roma Convent to escort Sr. Yvonne Tilimboyi to the chapel to pronounce her Final Vows. Almost the entire region was present and we felt privileged to have Sr. Pereka with us representing our General Leadership Team.
Father Sax S.J. the main celebrant was accompanied by Fr. Brian Chibuluma and Fr. Stephen SPC. The chapel was beautifully decorated and Yvonne’s motto “The Lord is my stronghold” was nicely displayed at the back of the altar. Yvonne’s father, sister, brothers and cousins came to support her. Fr. Sax put great effort into the preparation of the liturgy as he is very familiar with our charism.
Yvonne felt truly privileged to have had the special period of intensive preparation in Ireland for this special moment. She valued the deep spiritual input and was delighted to have the opportunity to visit our convents and get to know some of our sisters. She was particularly happy to visit houses that are deeply associated with the life of Mary Aikenhead. The fact that she chose the second reading from ‘The Life and Work of Mary Aikenhead’ speaks for itself. As a nurse Yvonne certainly ministers to the sick poor on a daily basis in Mulanga – as Mary Aikenhead would put it “God’s nobility, the suffering poor!” Yvonne was delighted to minister to our elderly sisters in Lakelands during her work experience. She constantly speaks of their gracious kindness and genuine gratitude and of her ease of relationship with them at every level. The homily was beautiful, deeply spiritual and truly human as Fr. Sax encouraged Yvonne to total commitment and fidelity. He helped Yvonne to choose appropriate symbols to represent her dedicated service e.g. the empty clay pot to represent her dependence on God for His daily gifts to carry out her ministry; a lighted candle to represent that Jesus is her shining light; a vase of flowers to represent her tender compassion to the sick; a basket of fruit and vegetables to represent God’s abundant gifts; a crucifix to represent the fact that she will experience difficulties from time to time and not to lose sight of her motto “The Lord is my stronghold”.
As always there was full, conscious, active participation in song and dance during the liturgy as our sisters danced and sang. Sr. Margaret Mary and Sr. Imelda Sibanda stood by Yvonne as she pronounced her vows in a clear loud voice. The entire congregation rejoiced with her and for her.
At the end of Mass there was a very moving moment when Yvonne’s Dad addressed the congregation and expressed his profound gratitude. He is truly proud of his beloved daughter. Yvonne’s mother died when she was at the tender age of 9 years therefore she has a beautiful relationship with her Dad.
After the Mass all were invited to the beautifully decorated school dining hall to partake of a delicious meal. It was an opportunity to move around freely and meet each other. Yvonne received many beautiful gifts, from our sisters, her family and friends as a token of appreciation of what she is to each one. We are delighted that she has reached this great day and that she had the opportunity to commit herself to the Lord surrounded by so many Religious Sisters of Charity, her family and friends.