Last September 15 will remain a memorable date for the Novitiate because it was the first oblation of Sisters formed at Davao. The community was preparing for it with a retreat in Calinan, where our main benefactors in Davao have set up a retreat house in a large farm in the countryside. Father Timothy Pfeiffer, who is both Prior and Professor of Apologetics, Scripture and Spirituality, preached a Montfortian retreat.
Back at the Novitiate, there were only two days left to organize the ceremony, not to mention the mountains of laundry to be washed. Sunday was devoted to singing rehearsals, Monday to shopping and sewing to finish the veils and vestments, and the night (until 3:00 a.m.) to decorate the priory hall. All the Sisters worked very generously, but with a spirit of silence especially for the six candidates.
Because of the Covid, their families unfortunately could not come, nor the priests invited for the ceremony. It was the three priests of Davao - Fathers Pfeiffer, Fidel Ferrer and Joseph Rajadurai - who celebrated the solemn Mass of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows, in the presence of the faithful and friends of the Novitiate. In his homily, Father Pfeiffer described the role of the Blessed Virgin: at the foot of the Cross, in the midst of the storm raging at the junction of two oceans, the ocean of divine graces and the ocean of temptations, Our Lady stood and offered herself in sacrifice in union with that of her Son. Offering, sacrifice, union with Jesus Christ and reparation, such is the work to which Oblates are called in the presence of priests as Our Lady was in the presence of Jesus the High Priest.
He then gave the habit to our two Philippine postulants and named them Sister Maria Corazon and Sister Maria Luisa. Then our first four novices came forward to pronounce their Oblation and Father Pfeiffer, in the name of our Superior General, received them among the members of our society.
The reception, with a relatively small circle of guests, resembled a family reunion. At the end of the meal, the Sisters made a small presentation with some songs and a short film on the life of the Oblate Sisters in the Novitiate. This beautiful day ended with Vespers and a procession of the Blessed Sacrament, as every day in the priory since the beginning of the epidemic.
Since September 15, we have four more Sisters: two Filipinos, one Polish and one Chinese, the first vocation of her country! And Providence has sent us two postulants to replace those who have received the habit. Thank God for all these graces received and these vocations. May Our Lady protect them. Deo gratias and Mariæ.