Final Profession of Sr. Perpetual Nagama Shaba, FMSA
On Friday 23rd March all roads led to Mushili Way as the Sisters from various places arrived. It was so joyful to have 14 of us gathered in one place.
On the eve of my Final Profession we had Mass in the house celebrated by Fr. Philip Baxter, OFM Cap. He had lovely words of wisdom. He compared me to an acorn which must first die in order to produce a strong oak tree. The evening prayer prepared by Loice was inspiring: we had a psalm on transition and after that each Sister gave me a lighted candle and encouraging words. I felt like a living saint. We sang in English, Shona and Lozi and danced around. It was a prayerful and joyful evening.
The big day began with my ‘angel’, Patience, serving me a continental breakfast and making sure I was dressed properly for the occasion. Holy Mass started at 10am at Our Lady of Angels Parish where the church was beautifully decorated. The choir was from Mukuni Parish and the inculturation group who brought me in as a bride at the beginning of Mass sang beautifully. Bishop Raymond Mpezele was the main celebrant and Fr. Cletus Mwila gave the homily. Fr. Claude, my current parish priest, three Divine Word missionaries, Fr. Maybin who is the parish priest of Sr. Paul’s, Chipata Compound, Lusaka, the Vicar General of Livingstone Diocese, and three OFM Capuchins con-celebrated.
At the beginning of Mass I exchanged gifts with my family: I gave them a Bible and they gave me a carved house symbolizing my passage to adulthood as at my age I am supposed to have a house of my own and it was also reminding me that I have become the dwelling place of God as Christ lives in me. The homily, reminding me of the importance of listening to the will of God in my life, of being humble and open to the wonder of God’s love, was very touching. I was reminded that to be espoused to the Lord is to be espoused to all.
The rite of profession was very moving, especially the part where I pronounced my vows. It is hard for me to find words to describe how I felt. It was a day to remember as all the people were full of joy as we danced and hugged before, during and after Mass. I felt like the Queen of Sheba.
I want to thank sincerely all our Sisters, my parish, my family and friends for being there for me.
With my gratitude and love,
Sr. Perpetual Nagama Shaba
(Extracted from Sr. Perpetual's letter to FMSA)