CELEBRANTS — Celebrating the joint anniversary of Sisters Theresa Horvath, NDS, and Jocelyn Monette, NDS were, from the left: Rev. Phong Pham, Rev. Denis Phaneuf, Msgr. Stan Urbanoski, Rev. Lawrence DeMong, OSB, Abbot Peter Novecosky, OSB, Rev. Ralph Kleiter and Rev. Emile April.

Jubilees celebrated at St. Philip Neri Parish

By Francine Audy

SASKATOON — Two sisters of the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion recently marked milestone anniversaries of religious life, celebrating a golden and a diamond jubilee in a joint celebration in Saskatoon.

The 50th anniversary of Sister Jocelyn Monette, NDS, and the 60th anniversary of Sister Theresa Horvath, NDS, were celebrated Aug. 30 at St. Philip Neri Parish.

Abbot Peter Novecosky, OSB, presided at mass, with concelebrants Rev. Denis Phaneuf, Rev. Ralph Kleiter, Rev. Emile April, Rev. Lawrence DeMong, OSB, Msgr. Stan Urbanoski, and Rev. Phong Pham.

In his homily, Novecosky congratulated and thanked the community of the Sisters of Sion for “creating time and space for a garden of flowers” and the two jubilarians for “blooming in this garden and adding your colour, variety, and richness.”

The first reading from Isaiah described “how the rain comes and makes the seed sprout and helps it to grow,” said Novecosky, while in the Gospel, Jesus reminds us “how each seed grows and develops, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. Then comes the harvest.”

Words from the order’s founder, Theodore Ratisbonne, affirm that “what happens with nature also happens in our human hearts,” said Novecosky.

“The gift of faith is planted in our hearts and, given nourishment, this faith can grow and develop.”

Saying yes to God 50 or 60 years ago is not so challenging as saying yes to that call day after day, he added, highlighting the gifts of perseverance, commitment and hope required for saying yes even through “the heat of the day or seasons of drought.”

Above all else, “we celebrate the gift of perseverance of our God” said Novecosky. “It is God who perseveres in calling us daily, trusting us, forgiving us, and showing us mercy. It is God who challenges us to expend our journey in faith and walk through new doors and call others to growth.”

Novecosky concluded by inviting the sisters to “continue to bloom, to ripen and to produce many new seeds.”

During a renewal of vows, Monette and Horvath recommitted themselves to “follow Christ in consecrated celibacy, poverty and obedience in community, according to the constitution of the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion.”

Article 14 of the order’s constitution says: “Our vocation gives us a particular responsibility to keep alive in the church the consciousness that, in some mysterious way, Christianity is linked to Judaism from its origin to its final destiny.”

This is also reflected in a portion of their vows: “You have called me to follow Jesus Christ, your son, in the Congregation of Our Lady of Sion, there to bear witness by my life, to your faithful love for the Jewish people and of your kingdom of justice, peace and love.”

A slide show and poster presented after mass showed highlights of the lives of the two sisters and their many years of service (see related interviews). A reception attended by some 70 friends and colleagues followed mass.

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