Great joy as Sisters make their final profession and renew vowsDecember 2, 2022
The past few months have been a time of great joy and celebration for the Institute with Sisters of Mercy, Doreen Mainick RSM and Janet Andrew RSM making their final profession of vows and Emma Llewellyn RSM, as a newer member, renewing her vows for a further three years.
Doreen made her perpetual vowed profession in Kinjingini, Papua New Guinea, in September. In November, Janet made her vowed perpetual profession in Goroka, Papua New Guinea, and a few weeks ago in Australia, Emma renewed her vows in Perth, within her Mercy South A Community.
Sister Kathy Ryan, the lnstitute’s Director of Initial Formation, said that while each of the profession ceremonies had elements in common with the profession rituals of Sisters of Mercy dating back to Catherine McAuley, the three professions had their own particular cultural richness and flavour that was reflective of the individual Sister, as well of their communities in which their ceremonies were taking place.
“The Profession ritual by each Sister happened within a Eucharistic celebration and as Pope Francis reminds us the Eucharist ‘unites us in a marvellous communion with God.’
“Doreen’s and Janet’s perpetual profession were by their very nature public celebrations of their final vowed commitment as perpetually professed Sisters of Mercy to the ongoing mission of Jesus and the Church. Emma’s, as a newer member, was more appropriately a smaller celebration taking place in Perth, within her South A Mercy community.
“The Sisters profession of vows is not solely just for our Mercy community, but is a commitment made for the ongoing gospel mission of the Church.
“As Sisters of Mercy, our Institute Constitutions remind us, ‘We want to follow Jesus Christ and participate in his mission of Mercy'”, she said.
One of the poignant parts of the final profession ceremonies was when Doreen and Janet’s family bought each Sister forward.
“This was significant for in becoming a vowed Sister of Mercy, it is an expression of the further living out of the woman’s baptismal charism and by having their family bring them forth it is akin to the way their family had presented them early in their life for baptism”, she said.
Sr Kathy said that it was such a joy and a privilege to be able to be present in Papua New Guinea and Western Australia, with the previous restrictions due to COVID in recent years having made travel impossible.
“The perpetual professions were great celebrations attended by family, sisters, members of the local parish communities, as well as people travelling from other areas where Doreen and Janet had previously lived and ministered.
“There was a unique vibrance to the Eucharistic celebration in Papua New Guinea which included singing, dancing, and wonderful processions within the Eucharistic liturgy.
“Emma’s renewal of vows ritual and Eucharist was similarly prayerful and joyful, a special celebration attended by the Sisters in Perth, South A Community, where she has been living and ministering for the past couple of years.
“At the celebrations in Papua New Guinea and Emma’s in Perth, I was reminded of the wonderful grace that comes from the uniqueness of our Institute community in being comprised of sisters from both Papua New Guinea and Australia and the richness that brings,” Sr Kathy said.
When asked what her overwhelming feeling was as Director of Initial Formation at the perpetual professions, Sr Kathy said she was conscious of the privilege of being able to be present and also of the many Sisters who have and will continue to support Doreen, Janet and Emma, both those who are directly involved in their formation programmes and others who have supported them in their Mercy commitment journey.
“It is summed up well in our Initial Formation policy when it says those women who respond to the call to be sisters are ‘claimed by God, grounded in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and fired by the Spirit of Catherine McAuley…and are nurtured as they explore their desire for a life commitment to God through the charism of mercy and justice within the Institute…’.
“Our hope is that through the process of formation and discernment, the women come to a place of answering the question, as Doreen and Janet have and Emma continues to explore, and discern that a vowed commitment as a Sister of Mercy is the right choice and is a life giving way of life for them”, Sr Kathy said.
While the pursuit of religious life can be regarded as counter-cultural, Sr Kathy again defers to Pope Francis whom she said reminds us ‘it is possible to live differently in this world.’
“As Pope Francis so affirmingly put it – ‘religious life ought to promote growth in the Church by way of attraction’. He said ‘Wake up the world! Be witnesses of a different way of doing things, of acting, of living! It is possible to live differently in this world.’
“I have no doubt that Doreen, Janet and Emma are taking heed of Pope Francis’ words and waking up the world in a positive way in their ministries and communities and this is a great cause of joy for everyone in the Institute and the wider Church,” Sr Kathy said.
Click on the arrow below to watch a video of highlights from Doreen’s profession
Click on the arrow below to watch a video of highlights from Janet’s profession
Click on the arrow below to watch an interview with Emma, a few days prior to her renewal of vows
Doreen’s Perpetual Profession
Janet’s Perpetual Profession
Emma’s Renewal of Vows