Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity Sister Natalie Binversie congratulated Sister Carol Juckem, Sister Delores Wisnicky, Sister Joy Rose and Sister Pam Biehl on their 50th anniversary of vows. You are invited to read her remarks below on this special jubilee year for these Sisters.
Good afternoon! With great joy we celebrate with our Sisters who professed their Vows 50 years ago on August 16, 1971. Congratulations to Sister Carol Juckem, Sister Delores Wisnicky, Sister Joy Rose and Sister Pamela Biehl. We hold in special memory Sister Cara Vanevanhoven (1995) and Sister Marialee Lamantia (2016) who have already completed their earthly journey and now intercede from their eternal resting place.
The Scripture readings for this Jubilee Mass celebration were very appropriate for a Religious Profession Anniversary! Each of the readings reminded us of what happened 50 years ago. The Prophet Amos told us, “The Lord took me from following the flock and said to me, ‘Go prophesy to my people Israel.’” (Amos 7:12-15) St. Paul in the Letter to the Ephesians told us that God chose each of us in Christ, before the foundation of the world. “In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of His will, so that we might exist for the praise of His glory, we who first hoped in Christ.” (Eph. 1:3-14) In the Gospel we heard how Jesus summoned the Twelve and sent them out with instruction on how to live and carry out His mission. (Mark 6:7-13)
During the time of Jubilee it is good to look back to see what our thoughts were 25 years ago. At that time, Sister Delores, you wrote that you are a blessed woman called by God to follow St. Francis. The love of Jesus burns within you. God leads us to His Kingdom of Love. We are on a holy Journey. This is a holy time. God had opened your heart to His Goodness. God continues to create love in us!
Sister Carol, your reflection spoke of leaving your loving family, but giving you an even bigger family. The Lord has been most gracious and generous in giving you Himself. Music was always a delight to you. It seemed only natural that music became your ministry. Each day you are reminded of Jesus’ precious love and abundant blessings.
Sister Pam, 25 years ago you summed up your life with a quote of St. Francis of Assisi. “Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.” Religious life has been a way for you to be for others, as you daily respond to the call of Jesus. It is a journey built on a relationship with God along with the commitment and service to countless people. You looked forward to the mysterious plan God had awaiting you. You knew that what was ahead would be more exciting and more challenging than the first 25 years. You embraced the past 25 years with a spirit of hope and enthusiasm, as you continued to respond to the Lord’s call.
Sister Joy, as you reflected on your first 25 years as a Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity you pondered the words of the Prophet Micah 6:8, “This is what the Lord asks of you: Only this, to act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with your God.” Values of life and death, lived out in justice, have been challenged in the world of healthcare. Formation and education have assisted in forming values in keeping with Jesus and the Gospel. The journey of being Franciscan has taught the art of walking humbly with God, embracing the blessings, challenges, surprises and relationships with faith-filled people.
Twenty-five years of Franciscan Community life have been added to your last Jubilee celebration. Many of your Silver Jubilee reflections could be said on this, your Golden Jubilee! The difference is that you have grown deeper in your love of God, your Sisters and the people whom you serve. Thank you for the witness of your life, as a Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity.
At the end of Bishop Morneau’s homily for your Silver Jubilee Mass he offered this prayer, “God, our Father, gifts without measure flow from Your abundant goodness to bring Your peace. Our life is Your gift. Guide our life’s journey, for only Your love makes us whole. Keep all of us strong in Your love.”
Congratulations and we also pray that the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten the eyes of our hearts, that we may know what is the hope that belongs to our call.” (Eph. 1:17-18) God bless you!