May 21, the day I took my final vows in Toronto

Gabrielle spent 10 years in Toronto. During the 2011 Victoria Day weekend, she took her final vows in Toronto. Nine years later, now a missionary in Paris, she shares with us how she is still experiencing a lasting and joyful energy from that day.

Each year a special energy surges within me as we approach the date of May 21. How could I explain it? Something in the air… a secret joy within… the memory of love received and given and shared… we are in the Easter season and everything comes together again : water reminds me of my baptism, post-gabrielle-1the flame of the Easter candle reminds me of the light that is Christ in our hearts, the celebration of the risen Christ makes me ponder that all things are restored in Christ. In the Easter season, in this “coming together of all things”, I celebrated my final vows as a xaviere sister on May 21, 2011. The celebration took place in Toronto, in our parish at the time, St Pius X church on Bloor Street West. I remember the sheer joy of sharing this moment with my parents and my sister, with family and friends who had flown in from France, with my Xaviere sisters who had come from France, from Montreal, from Toronto; friends, parishioners, children from the St Pius X confirmation program I had taught, Post Gabrielle - 2coworkers, religious men and women from Toronto and Guelph and Montreal, Loretto sisters, Anglican sisters from the sisterhood of Saint John the Divine, Anglican father from the Oratory of the Good Shepherd, Jesuits, Dominican friars, fathers of the sacred heart, sisters of Our Lady’s Missionaries… The choir was led by Brian…

How is it that this moment was so light while so deep? So simple while bringing such a diverse group of people from different places and life styles? What is this energy that flows through the years and sustains me still? Everything coming together… the hope of a world restored in Christ, the joy of dedicating my life to this hope, to live my life in the offering of Christ… there lies the sustaining energy.

Post Gabrielle - 3What’s in a date? May 21, 2011 fell during the Victoria Day long weekend… so each Victoria day weekend reminds me of the day I took my final vows. May 21, 2011 was just before the 4th Sunday of Easter, when we hear of the Good Shepherd in the gospel of John. Each 4th Sunday of Easter is therefore a special day to me also. And, will I say it? I am led to recognize that every day is special : the energy is given every single day, if I just let it.

The homily that was given by Philip Shano sj can be found here. The joy of the celebration of the vows is also reflected here, in the Fall 2011 editorial from the “open-liner”, the Toronto women religious newsletter.


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