A Sharing about the celebration of my Final Vows, in september 2017 at Burkina Faso

At 9 a.m. on the 9th of September 2017, we had the Eucharistic celebration presided over by Mgr Paul Ouédrago, the Archbishop of Bobo Dioulasso, our diocese, in the course of which I pro-nounced my final vows in our Congregation, in the presence of Marie-Françoise Phelippeau, our Superior General, who received my vows. 
 
I would say that it was a moment of joy and of emotion for me but, above all, of confidence in God, in the Congregation and in all those people witnessing my commitment. When called, I went up to the altar accompanied by a Burkinabé couple from the San community (Samo ethnic group), given the absence of my parents from the celebration. At the end of the procession this couple recited a prayer of offering to God and a young girl brought a basket containing a number of objects (kitchen equipment, clothing and what is needed for housework), which a family offers to their daughter on the day of her marriage, according to the custom here in Burkina (this same basket is offered to the religious sisters by their families on the day of their final vows in line with the customs of the people linked with the sister’s ethnic group); this basket was prepared by the san community (the ethnic group I mentioned above who had welcomed me as one of their own, according to what the people said on my arrival in Burkina). This gesture had great meaning for me and was a good indication of my inculturation in this mission country that was welcoming me, at the same time giving me birth and, above all, was entering into my final, definitive “yes”. Our offering that day had great meaning: we offered the lighted candle I had carried at the offertory procession, which symbolised my life that is given to the following of Christ and which should be consumed as a candle is as I place myself at the service of my brothers and sisters; the flowers, the fruits of the country, the world, the bread and the wine which a family had brought and which represented the essential of our charism. 
 
The celebration brought together people of all religions: Catholics, Muslims, Protestants, as well as those of the traditional religions, because the cohesion among us is favourable and each makes his or her own what is lived by the other. I emphasise the presence of the Assumption family: the Fathers and the Orantes who came from Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso (situated at about a 6-hour bus journey from Bobo Dioulasso where our communities are.) as well as the Religious of the Assumption and the Oblates. There was also the presence of the different congregations that are in our diocese. 
 
This celebration was a suitable time for us to live encounter as we have meditated and prayed about it, and as it has been recommended at the Chapter with the example of Mary and Elisabeth, so that our whole life may be a mission that bears abundant fruit. 
 
I will not end what I have to say without saying ‘‘thank you’’ to all of you: my sisters, friends, and acquaintances who have prayed for me and symbolised that affection by a postcard filled with words of life, encouragement, and above all of congratulations, which I read and re-read during this first months, but which will also support my life later on. May the Lord bless you and keep us all in life. 
 
Sister Marie Claire 
Bobo-Dioulasso, 22th November 2017