Saturday we gathered at Our of Sorrows (Hluthi) for the final vows of Sr Gabisile Mavimbela OSM of the Mantellate Sisters Servants of Mary. She had asked me in May if I could be available for the celebration.
I never imagined it would be the first Mass I would preside after being appointed bishop of the Diocese of Manzini (Swaziland) and I pointed out I pray it would be a wonderful sign in the life of our Diocese: coming together diocesan and religious priests, the different religious communities in the Diocese and our lay people, to celebrate God's calling to our young people to follow Him in religious life.
Sr Gabisile had prepared all the details of the celebration, including the readings. I had asked her to do so and also asked her to be available to share with us all "why" she had chosen them.
The Gospel was taken from John 17, few sentences where Jesus constantly prays "may they be one" so I asked her to be one with her Sisters, her brother priests and bishop and with all God's people.
While we say "blood is thicker than water", she will testify that "baptismal water is thicker than blood".
She will be able to do so if she becomes one with the One who called her. The first reading had been taken from Jeremiah's call where God seems to underline all the time that He is the one taking all the initiative: I formed you, I knew you, I called you, I put my words in your mouth...
All of us present celebrated with her and promised our prayers, our friendship, our love and support in her daily journey.