Final comitment of the first Malagasy Little Sister of the Assumption, Sr Louisette

And yes! it was a real celebration in Sahalava! The people from the neighbourhood and the parish, our collaborators (in the nutrition programme and the out-of-school support), the family of the Assumption, representatives of other religious Congregations – all were present to express their joy. Louisette is one of theirs so it was also their Celebration.

Our archbishop, Mgr Fulgence Rabemahafaly, recognised by his presence this first definitive commitment among us, the rooting of our Congregation in the diocese. And our parish priest was also very happy to celebrate the first religious from his parish! For our part, we too were happy that Louisette’s commitment took place in the parish, since this gave it a "visible" Church character, and was also another way of making known our spirit and our charism.

From 8 o’clock in the morning the Sahalava community saw the arrival of Louisette’s family and the community of Ampopoka with the young women in formation. Two short ceremonies, presided over by our parish priest, preceded the celebration in the church:

First, the blessing given to Louisette by her family, which signified their consent and their support for her commitment and, above all, their total gift leaving her full liberty in the Congregation and in the Church – a Malagasy ritual that is filled with meaning.

Then, there was another stage: the professed Malagasy sisters had expressed their desire to wear the veil because of the cultural context of Madagascar – this was agreed to. The occasion of Louisette’s commitment was the time chosen for this: after the blessing, Louisette and Lanto put on the veil. And, throughout the day, the people did not fail to express their joy.

After that, we went to the church to join the guests and the parishioners – a friendly sun was very much present!

The ceremony was very festive, with the participation of the children and women who danced, the young people in the choir and the young women from the formation community.

Lanto, from the Sahalava community, led the singing and, when necessary, explained the meaning of the gestures and words of the Bishop, the Superior General and Louisette. She was accompanied by some ten singers: Assumptionists and Friends of the Assumption, the Sahalava choir, and of course the assembly, which did not fail to sing out!

At the time of the dialogues, the replies given by Louisette, strong and calm, reflected a serious and peaceful happiness – a testimony that led the "older sisters" to renew their own commitment.

During the meal, the Friends of the Assumption saw that the celebration continued; this was done with the collaboration of some Assumptionists, the young people from the choir and our young women in formation. Songs and dances also drew in the guests, happy to express themselves in that way, while waiting for the cake!

Before the cutting of the cake and in line with a Malagasy custom, at Louisette’s request some persons who had a significant place in her life took hold of the same "knife" for a first cut, reciting together the words written on the cake: the Assumptionist motto "May your Kingdom come". This was greeted with applause!

At the end, Louisette’s young nieces and nephews added a fresh note to the party: a nephew at the keyboard to provide an accompaniment for the warm voice of his young sister.

Then we had the leave-taking, with people hugging one another again, as if to confirm that the bonds between us had been strengthened even more by this event.