Just as a married couple would celebrate an anniversary, sisters in religious life celebrate their jubilee at 25 and 50 years of consecrated membership in their community. Religious take vows of chastity, poverty and obedience and their jubilee is an occasion for celebrating God’s faithfulness in helping them live these vows.
Here in the Camden Diocese, Bishop Dennis Sullivan celebrates Mass and hosts a dinner each year honoring religious commemorating their jubilees. Members of my family joined me for that Mass and dinner at Holy Family Parish in Sewell on Feb. 4, 2017, to celebrate the occasion. One other IHM sister was also honored that day along with sisters from other communities throughout the diocese.
Many communities have special gatherings during the year to commemorate these significant occasions in the sisters’ vocation to their congregation. Each spring, IHM Sister Jubilarians gather at our Motherhouse in Immaculata for Mass and a chance to share memories and spend time together appreciating God’s blessings. In reflecting, discussion that day centered on who influenced our vocations to religious life. Without hesitating, my response was the faith, love, sacrifice and encouragement of my parents, family and friends. Without their personal support, 50-plus years of fidelity to consecrated life would never have been possible for me to fulfill.
Another important aspect of celebrating a jubilee is knowing that each sister’s vocation has two parts: a deep relationship with God and a ministry of service to God’s people.
During the years of ministry I have been called to serve in education at the elementary, secondary and special education levels as teacher, director, principal and counselor throughout four dioceses. I consider it a great privilege to be working with the students, families, teachers and other colleagues here at Gloucester Catholic at the time of my Golden Jubilee. May we share together in the blessings God offers all those He has called.
Sister Angela M. Mastrangelo, IHM is Guidance Counselor/Supervisor of Special Services at Gloucester Catholic Junior Senior High School.