Sr. Mary Aloysia celebrated the Golden Jubilee of her Religious Profession at Nazareth House, Cardonald last Saturday (6th October) at a Mass presided over by Archbishop Emeritus Conti. It was a beautiful, bright and sunny day, so appropriate for St.Mary Aloysia, and she was joined by family and friends, sisters of her Community including the Superior General Sr. Mary Monaghan, residents of Nazareth House and members of the St. Mungo Singers.
Before the Mass, Dr.Noel Donnelly played gentle harp music and the St.Mungo Singers sang. Then the Mass started with the lovely hymn “I cannot tell how he whom angels worship” to the tune “Londonderry Air”.
In his homily, Archbishop Conti referred to the readings – the Gospel was one of great beauty (John 14:23-29) and the first reading gave a wonderful description of Wisdom, the gift of God. He also reminded the congregation of St.Paul’s counsel on being happy with your state in life. Those who embrace and are embraced by the religious life, he said, are given a grace for the benefit of the Kingdom of Heaven. They keep the oil of love alight.
Sr.Mary Aloysia is the 3rd youngest of a family of ten and she trained in catering and worked in nurseries in places as far apart as Plymouth, Lancaster, Donegal and Aberdeen in her 50 years of service. On coming to Glasgow, she had become involved in pastoral work. Referring again to the Gospel and Christ’s prayer for peace, he said that Sr. Mary Aloysia clearly reflected to others that she knew and shared that peace of Christ.
The Mass had an unexpected and unwelcome interruption just as the Archbishop finished his homily, when Sr. Mary Aloysia’s brother Michael was taken ill. However medical staff at Nazareth House quickly came to his help and an ambulance was called. At the end of the Mass, we were relieved to learn that he was recovering and was being kept in for a check-up.
Despite the upset, Sr.Mary Aloysia proceeded to renew her vows in a very simple and affecting ceremony before those present. At the end of the Mass, Archbishop Conti presented her with a Papal Blessing and congratulated her on keeping her lamp full and burning brightly for so many years.
Superior General Sr. Mary also added her words of congratulations, commenting that people tend now to think that it is impossible to commit to anything for a lifetime but Sr.Mary Aloysia had shown that it was possible. She was an inspiration to others. The Superior General also thanked her family for their support to Sr.Mary Aloysia in her vocation and for allowing her to follow her dream. To laughter, she finished by saying that she was looking forward to attending Sr.Mary Aloysia’s Diamond Jubilee!
A beautifully warm and joyful service finished aptly with “Christ be our Light” before everyone was invited to enjoy the hospitality of the Sisters.