02/21/2015, 00.00
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Vijayawada’s cloistered: Our solitude for the good of the world and of the Church

by Benigna Menezes*
The Carmelite community of women gathered to celebrate the 25th anniversary of profession of one of their sisters. An important anniversary because it falls in the Year of Consecrated Life, and the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Teresa of Avila.

Vijayawada (AsiaNews) - "For St. Teresa of Avila, the Carmelite nun is a woman who lives in solitude for others. The wall behind which she lives is not a sign of separation, but of commitment. She is a woman of the Church, her life is centered on the Eucharist, where she receives Christ and offers herself in union with Him, for the Church", says Sister Gloria OCD, prioress of the community of Carmelite nuns in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh.  She was speaking to AsiaNews during a meeting convened to celebrate the 25 years since the profession of Sister Mary Alphonsa, her sister.

Celebrated on February 16, the anniversary is embellished by two important events: 2015 is the Year of Consecrated Life and  the 500th anniversary of the birth of Saint Teresa of Avila, reformer of the Carmelite order.

Sister Mary Alphonsa's anniversary was celebrated with a procession, culminating with a Eucharistic celebration of thanksgiving celebrated by Msgr. Govindu Joji, the Apostolic Administrator. Many priests, sisters and relatives of the religious - who is from Kerala - attended the mass.

In her introduction, the prioress thanked those who had gathered and explained the sense of being part of a cloistered community totally consecrated to Jesus Christ. "His love - said Sister Gloria - gathered us together as sisters to pray for the needs of the Church and the world."

The homily was given by Fr. Johnson, Carmelites provincial in Andhra Pradesh. Having sketched a brief history of the contemplative vocations in the Church, he explained: "Letting go of everything is the center of the soul of a cloistered order. Only when one learns the greatness of God can one let go of all the other trappings and really be communion with Jesus, experiencing love in its fullness".

* Missionary of the Immaculate, a female Congregation associated with the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME)


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