Four sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus made their solemn profession of religious vows in Odisha.
Sister Leena Bilung, Sister
Cordula Bilung, Sister Usha Tete and Sister Rajkishori Soreng were
welcomed by the congregation as the first in the history of their order
to take perpetual vows in India. "Let us pray and thank God for this
gift,” they told AsiaNews.
The ceremony took place on 7 October, the feast day of Our Lady of
the Rosary, in St Arnold parish church in Cox Colony, Jharsuguda
District (Odisha). Mgr John Barwa, Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar,
celebrated the Mass along with three other bishops, Mgr Niranjan Sual
Singh, Mgr Lucas Kerketta and Mgr Alphonse Bilung.
For one of the sisters, "The presence of Archbishop Barwa made the
celebration even more solemn ". Another noted that "This day is a
milestone in the history of our institution in India because it is the
first time that [local] sisters make their vows."
The religious order of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was
founded in 1889 by the Blessed Maria Schininà Arezzo. The foundress was
born in an aristocratic family in Ragusa.
After the death of her
parents, she decided to change radically her life. Leaving behind
receptions and high society, she gave up her wealth and dedicated
herself to help the needy, the poor, lepers and unwed mothers.
“The Blessed met Christ among the poorest of the poor,” the sisters
said. “She gave up her wealth and gave it to them. She spent all her
life to serve the last and the abandoned. Since then, our impetus to
love and console the heart of Jesus through the fulfillment of corporal
and spiritual works of mercy has spread to eight countries around the
Driven by the foundress’s charity, "which flows from the heart of
Jesus, our Congregation came to India with a desire to serve better the
poor and the needy."