(Venezuela) On the Solemnity of Pentecost, 23 May, the Redemptorist Sister María Paz celebrated her sixty anniversary of consecrated life in the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, in the city of San Cristóbal.
The Eucharist was presided over by Msgr. Mario Moronta, Bishop of the Diocese of San Cristóbal, and concelebrated by Msgr. Juan Alberto Ayala, Rev. Ricardo Robles and the Redemptorist Fathers José Vicente Ramírez and Gonzalo Becerra, in the presence of parishioners and some relatives and friends of the nun.
In his homily, Bishop Moronta referred to the sixtieth anniversary of consecrated life of Sister Maria Paz, saying: “Today is a day of thanksgiving for what the Holy Spirit has done in her, we rejoice for her fidelity to God. Her Consecration is an action of the Holy Spirit as it is a prayer for the Church. We do not celebrate the fact that sixty years ago, she withdrew from the world, but that during these sixty years of her enclosure, she has kept in mind in her prayer and her generous dedication the intentions and needs of so many men and women”, the Bishop emphasised.
Sister María Paz is a native of San Cristóbal, Táchira, and in 1964 in the Monastery of Astorga in Spain she professed her vows in the Order of the Most Holy Redeemer. At present he lives his cloistered community life in the Monastery of Christ the Redeemer, located in the vicinity of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
Testimony of Sister Maria Paz
On 23 May 2021, the Solemnity of Pentecost, I was able to relive my first consecration which took place in the Monastery of Astorga, Spain, on the same date in 1964.
As I renewed my vows for the first time, I knew that my vocation was a grace of profound invitation of the Spirit that implied the abandonment of everything: work, leaving my country in early youth. I was the oldest of 12 siblings. My family deeply felt my departure. Still, God touched my soul at the same time with the joy of total love and fuller motherhood. I felt strengthened and fully free in my choice.
Throughout these 60 years, love has urged me to grow in creativity and joy, renewing daily the charisms God has given me.
My vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, being an offering of love, I have been able to live them in true freedom and an attitude of service.
To be a Redemptorist in the Church is an invitation to be a living memory of Jesus, the Saviour, a living sign and witness of the infinite love of the Father for all people.
This sums up what I experienced surrounded by the most tender gratitude; the experience of a divine love that purifies, heals and envelops in joyful and great hope for the universal good is very beautiful.
I can only be grateful for the great gesture of Bishop Moronta who, at the end of the celebration, with paternal affection, brought me close to my family, friends and relatives to share the great moment we were able to live, enjoying greatly the gestures of affection and satisfaction for accompanying me in such a beautiful celebration that I feel unworthy of receiving.
I will end by pointing out how expressive the priestly accompaniment was for me, the accurate interpretation of such beautiful songs, which truly motivate collective and personal prayer.
One day you called me to follow you? And to give you a hand in the struggle. Today, Lord, I want to ask you That I may not struggle in vain.
On the day when my strength fails And my weary mind is clouded And when I find no more resources Lead my boat to its source.
María Paz de Jesús Hostia Guerrero Castellanos, OSsR