First vows in religious life

In the Vice-Province of Nigeria, we will always remember 6 July 2023: on this day, the Vice-Province celebrates the first profession of 5 new Daughters of the Holy Spirit: Rita kekeni clement, kechinyere chidimma ekezie, mercy owoyi idoko, Monica kelechi onuoha and Tabitha azurfa tanko.

The celebration began on 5 June with a prayer vigil. We shared the sacred story of our journey using the symbol of the tree and its branches: a tree is a large plant made up of a single trunk and branches, with a solid root system that serves as an anchor and stores nutrients and water. A tree is born from a seed, like all other plants, seeds with hidden potential, some small, some large; these seeds are either planted or dispersed by the wind or by animals. We have compared our journey to that of seeds planted or scattered at different times and full of different potentials.
We all know that for a tree to grow well, it needs good soil. We compared the soil to our training. Sometimes young trees can be transplanted to a different soil, and we compared that to our journey from postulancy to novitiate. Young trees usually have shallow roots, and they need lots of good soil, water, air and sun to grow into a mature tree with strong roots, trunk and branches, often pruned so that the beauty of the tree emerges. Our training has nourished us and enabled us to take a bold step to follow Jesus in this way of life.

The next day, we celebrated the Holy Eucharist at 10am. We all came in procession with our families to the altar, our hearts full of joy. The celebrant, the Reverend Father Cletus Onuoha, elder brother of one of the professed sisters, welcomed us all and Mass began. After the readings, we were invited by the formation director, Sister Stella Oluwafemi, to come forward and make our intentions known before the ChurchA hymn of thanksgiving was sung by all the Daughters of the Holy Spirit present.
In the homily, delivered by Br Peter Adeyemi, we were encouraged to remain faithful to our vocation, a fidelity that demands self-discipline, self-respect and personal responsibility, by remaining faithful to God, to our congregation – its charism and its mission. He reminded us that the life we have chosen as nuns is the best.
He also encouraged us to imitate Christ in his way of life and to bear his yoke so as not to be burdened and to be faithful to the vows we are about to take. And one of the ways is to be actively involved in the life of the community.
He encouraged our families to always pray for us and never to neglect devotion to our Mother Mary.

We, the newly professed sisters, joyfully sang the Magnificat and were invited to sign the register of the Congregation, after which we were welcomed by all the DHS present.  After Holy Communion, we received the blessing and the rite of missioning. At the end of the mass, we took photos with the priests, religious, families and parishioners present at the celebration.

We are extremely grateful to God for the success of this celebration and for the graces we received. We are also grateful to our congregation, to our families and to all those who helped us to respond to this call and who joined us.  May God bless all those who have contributed to our growth.

Written by the 5 new professed sisters of the Vice-Province of Nigeria.
Forwarded by Stella Bukola OLUWAFEMI, DHS
, on 9 July and published on 10 July 2023.