Natania Antoine pronounced her first vows as a Sister of St Joseph of Cluny (SJC) on September 15, feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. The simple ceremony took place within the Mass, which began at 9 a.m. Twenty-seven Cluny Sisters were present—the elderly, and not-so-elderly—as well as Carmelite Sisters, Br Nigel Ali O Carm and several seminarians. We were grateful for the support, and presence of all who joined us.
The venue was the Holy Trinity Church, Arouca, and Fr Ashton Pierre CSSp was the chief celebrant. With him were Fr Robert Christo and recently ordained Fr Clifford Mainooh CSSp.
Sr Natania is a ‘Lucian’, so all were delighted to have the Holy Trinity choir augmented by 25 melodious voices from her former parish of St Joseph the Worker, in Gros Islet, St Lucia. Special among the guests was her mother Anselma ‘Bridget’ Antoine.
The motif/theme of the celebration was As clay is in the potter’s hands so are you in mine (Jer 18:6).
The music of Bro Paschal Jordan OSB, which was played a number of times during this religious event, led us into the church. His song ‘In God’s House’ encapsulated for many the entire simple rite.
The First Reading (1 Cor 10:14–22) was proclaimed by Sr Rufina Donat SJC, a spiritual mentor to Sr Natania. After the Gospel, there was The Calling and Request. Sr Maureen Alexander SJC, our Provincial Superior, received the vows of Sr Natania.
After the well-crafted homily of Fr Ashton, further questions were put to Sr Natania; “You have been consecrated to God on the day of your Baptism, do you wish by your Religious Profession to express even more fully this consecration? So as to follow Christ perfectly, are you resolved to offer the sacrifice of Obedience, to live Chastity as a sign of the kingdom of Heaven and to practise voluntary Poverty?”
To both of these questions Sister answered “I do”. Following these questions was the Profession. “I, Sister Natania of St Therese of the Child Jesus Antoine, in the presence of the Virgin Mary, make for three years, vows of Obedience, of Chastity, of Poverty, in the congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph of Cluny and according to its Constitution.”
These vows would be renewed in three years time, and again after another three years, thus making it a minimum of six years before Final Vows are made.
The celebrant with the assistance of the Provincial Superior, Sr Maureen, and the Novice Directress, Sr Philip Geofroy SJC then presented the symbols of profession, to which Sr Natania answered “Amen”.
Fr Ashton then blessed the crucifix and the ring (a silver one) and presented them to the newly professed. Within Cluny gold rings are received at Final Profession. Sr Natania then turned to receive the greeting of the Sisters. All then welcomed the newly professed Sister.
After the Meditation, Sr Natania received gifts from the parishes of Arouca and her own home parish of Gros Islet and gave an inspiring, moving testimony of the journey of her call.
After the Recessional Hymn there was about 40 minutes of an explosion of music, dancing and singing led by the St Lucian choristers and musicians in which many participated. – Adapted from a report submitted by Sr Clare Harris SJC.