February 9, 2019 Baliwasan, Zamboanga City, Philippines
Today is a day of jubilee, a day of rejoicing, for we are celebrating 50 years of consecrated life of our dear Sr. Elena Ramirez, OP. What a witness to commitment and fidelity! Fifty years ago, Sr. Elena professed her first vows to religious consecration – poverty, chastity and obedience this congregation of Missionary Dominican Sisters of the Rosary.
Today is then a day of thanksgiving – that interior attitude that cannot but take shape in a soul who realizes, with increasingly clarity as the years go by, the utter gratuity of God’s merciful love. The slow acquisition of wisdom leads us to understand that we merit nothing on our own; we neither created ourselves nor can we redeem ourselves. That we know for sure. Yet, in his infinite goodness, the Lord has enabled you, sister, to do great things for him as instruments of his love and as his stewards of his mercy. He chose you to bear lasting fruit and that, fifty years, you have been doing.
We are grateful to the Lord for choosing you to live the consecrated life. We are likewise grateful to you for saying “Yes” , not just once many years ago but day after day in those successive little fiats – and occasional larger ones – that thread themselves like beads that make up the rosary of life. And we thank the Lord, too, for the many blessings your fidelity and generosity have brought to the people whom you have served. We cannot claim to know the specific individuals whose lives you have touched. You know some of them, and God knows all of them for sure.
Long before Pope Francis rallied the Church to go out to the peripheries of our world, to the margins of society, you have dressed the wounds of the suffering Christ in your brothers and sisters who are poor, sick, uneducated, marginalized by discrimination, treated unjustly, and left alone. Each one, with their gifts and talents and through her prayer and witness, has been a presence of God in the world; each one has drawn her sisters and brothers, with gentleness and reverence, closer to the God who wishes to befriend everyone.
Thank you, Sister Elena, we will always be grateful to God for your life and love for the Lord and the mission left to us by our founders. All the best for the 50 years and beyond…