Philippine – Australia – Saipan Province

A Celebration of the Silver Jubilee Anniversary of Religious Profession

“Religious profession is the most significant act of the meeting

between God and the Sister of Jesus Good Shepherd

who offers herself to Him and His people.”

RoL 83


With these words as an introduction to the Eucharistic Celebration, on Saturday 14th May 2011, while still basking in the liturgical season of Easter, the Pastorelle Sisters from the different communities in the Philippines, Saipan and Australia gathered with Sr Rosa Mia Garnace and Sr Ma Veronica Gungon to celebrate their 25th Anniversary of Religious Profession in the Parish of Our Lady of Sorrows, Pasay City. The Mass of thanksgiving was officiated by the Archbishop of Lyngayen- Dugupan, Most Reverend Socrates B. Villegas. A large number of priests, including Fr Nestie, Sr Vigie’s brother, were present and concelebrated in the Mass. Members of the Pauline Family- SSP, FSP, PDDM, IOLA, ISGA, IHF, IJP and APCs- Families and friends of both Sr Mia and Sr Vigie were also present including Staff members and families of JGS School from Imus Cavite.


Mass began with the beautiful Choir from JGS School, under the directorship of Mr Arthur Medina, singing Purihin Si Yahweh, while the Jubilarians accompanied by their family members, lectors  and the Sisters of the Provincial Council processed in procession with the Presider and the Concelebrants.



Appropriately in accordance to our pastoral spirituality, the first reading, read by Apple Gungon, was taken from the First Letter of Peter 5: 1-11 were we find Peter exhorting the elders of the community to have a shepherd’s care of the flock entrusted to them. This was followed by the singing of Psalm, 23 by Angelique Adrias. The Gospel was taken from John 10: 11-18 which is a foundational scripture passage for the Pastorelle Sisters- therein we find the heart of a pastoral spirituality.




Following the proclamation of the Gospel the two Jubilarians, Sr Mia and Sr Vigie were invited to come forward and individually renew their vows to follow the life of Jesus Good Shepherd. This was a very solemn and stirring moment: It was most joyful and memorable to see the affirmation and warmth radiating from the Jubilarians as  Archbishop Socrates, the Concelebrants, Sisters, family members  and friends congratulated the two Sisters.


Another outstanding moment of the celebration was the homily of Archbishop Socrates who is well known to the Jubilarians and many of the Pastorelle Sisters. In his  simple and yet profound manner of blending humour with what truly matters, Archbishop Socrates began by  making reference to the use of words to renew one vows over  the many years; the use of words to say, “I am yours Jesus”, to pointing out that words would be meaningless unless they are expressed through the witnessing of life.


During the 25 years of Religious life many lives have been touched, not words but through the power of an exemplary life. Yet neither one of these two points are the most important, because what is most essential and has worth must come from one’s communion with God- a deep communion with the Bridegroom, Christ. This is the first duty of every religious and priest not so much to pronounce words, to witness but to be saturated with the Word make flesh. Being with Jesus will take care of words and witness.


Sr Brenda Balingasa the Provincial and Sr Rita Ruzzene the community leader of Australia brought the Offertory Gifts to the altar, giving expression to the places of ministry of the two Jubilarians.


After Communion Sr Mia and Sr Vigie came forward to express their gratitude and thanks, first of all to the Lord who had filled their 25 years with His fidelity and unconditional love. Indeed He has been their Shepherd from the moment of conception up to the present moment and as their Shepherd there is nothing they shall want. Secondly they thank all, beginning with their dear parents who nurtured and showed them love, trust and faith in God through their lives. A particular thank you was expressed to the dear friend, Archbishop Socrates and the many who directly contribute in making the occasion a memorable event through their presence, support, availability and assistance. In honour of Mary, Mother of the Good Shepherd, the words of gratitude concluded with the two Jubilarians singing together: Maria, Ina Ng Diyos.



Following the Eucharistic celebration, the festive atmosphere continued with the taking of photos with the many different groups, family members and friends. All then were invited to move over to the reception area for a sharing of a meal and a further opportunity to mingle with one another and personally meet the two joyfilled Jubilarians.




It was indeed a day when the Pastorelle Sisters with Sr Mia and Sr Vigie, together with friends, collaborators, family members and Staff and students from SJG School gave praise and glory to God for the 25 years of journeying in the Lord’s vineyard.


Sr Rita Ruzzene sjbp