The Feast of Pentecost, which fell this year on 5 June, was a notable day for the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion as they witnessed one of their sisters committing herself forever to God.
Sr. Arlyne Del Valle Casas pronounced her final vows at the Institute of Spirituality in Asia Chapel in Quezon City, Philippines, in the presence of Fr. Rico Ponce of the Order of Carmelites, Deaconesse Norma P. Dollaga of the Methodist Church, Sr. Adriana Castro of the NDS Congregational Leadership Team, other Sion sisters, family and friends.
For Sr. Arlyne, the date of the ceremony holds much significance, as celebration of the day the Holy Spirit descended upon the disciples of Jesus after his Ascension into Heaven. As she prepared to make her final commitment, she contemplated on the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. Arlyne was struck by the figure of Mary Magdalene, who was there on the scene throughout. At times she watched from afar and she didn’t say a word, but she never abandoned Jesus and remained faithful to him.
Mary Magdalene and the other women from Galilee followed Jesus to Jerusalem when they heard that he had been arrested and falsely accused by Pilate. When Jesus died and was buried, Mary Magdalene followed Joseph and Nicodemus to see where they would put him. She was the one who came first to the tomb.
“Mary Magdalene’s friendship, love and compassion were amazing”, reflects Arlyne. “Her faithfulness became the way of finding the resurrected Jesus.”
Sr. Arlyne sees the faithfulness that Mary Magdalene showed Jesus as an invitation for herself. “May our faithfulness continue to lead us to new encounter with the risen Christ”, she said. “I pray and hope that I may remain faithful to my vocation, to God, to the Church, and to a world of justice and love.”
This Sunday’s public ceremony of perpetual profession is the culmination of a nine-year formation process. Sr. Arlyne received a ring as a sign of the centrality in her life of Jesus Christ and her commitment to the Sion charism.
In her homily, Dea Norma underlined the role of community in Arlyne’s decision to take final vows. “How can she be led without a community?” she asked. “The community who is a witness to her growth, to her questioning, to the many contradictions in life’s journey.”
The whole Congregation was praying for Arlyne. Sr. Adriana’s wish for her was: “May your unwavering faith keep you firm, like the Mountain of Sion.”