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The Religious Profession of Sister Maria Faridah Vaozandry, OSsR at Sant’Agata de’ Goti, Italy


When I first met Faridah in 2017, wrapped from head to toe in her colourful sarong, I could never imagine God’s plan for this girl. She had been waiting for me all afternoon in front of the Parish of the Redemptorist Missionaries in Vohémar, in the north of Madagascar, because she felt the call to become a nun, and she wanted to talk to me. 

That dream came true today, on 25 April 2024. In the Cathedral of S. Agata de’ Goti,  Sister Maria Faridah Vaozandry crowned her dream and made her Temporary Profession to Christ the Redeemer in the Eucharistic Celebration presided over by our Pastor Monsignor. Giuseppe Mazzafaro, becoming a Redemptorist nun of the Community of S. Agata de’ Goti.

We chose this date because on April 25, 1725,  our foundress, Blessed Maria Celeste Crostarosa, mystically received the revelation of the Institute and the Rule from Christ himself. Grateful to God for so much grace that has spread throughout the Order of the Most Holy. Redeemer in these 299 years, we wish to prepare for the 300th Jubilee starting today, with a year of prayer and initiatives. The participation of the Federal President, Mother Imma Di Stefano, of our “Beata Maria Celeste Crostarosa” Federation, to which the monasteries of Europe, Latin America and Africa belong, wanted to begin this particular year with the event of the Profession of our young sister Maria Faridah. Also present at the celebration were the Superiors and some nuns from the Redemptorist communities of Scala and Foggia. We live-streamed the event via the Federation Page so that our sisters connected from various parts of the world could participate.

The Monastery of the Most Holy Redeemer of S. Agata owes its origin to Saint Alphonsus M. De’ Liguori and still represents a living relic of the historical and spiritual memory of him in this country. When in 1762, as bishop, he entered the diocese of S. Agata dei Goti, he immediately wanted a prayer center and a monastery for the human and Christian education of young people. Having found a centre already started, he became interested in completing the Church and building the current Monastery. He invited the nuns of the Order of the Most Holy Redeemer, founded in 1731, in Scala (SA) by the Blessed Mother Maria Celeste Crostarosa, with her enlightened collaboration. In 1766, the foundresses arrived: Sr M. Raffaella De Vito, chosen by St. Alphonsus himself as Superior, and three other nuns, and so the Monastery began its history. From here, in 1831, the Order spread, first to Austria, to Vienna, with two noblewomen, Eugenie Dijon and Antonia Welsersheimb, who, after a stay in S. Agata to draw on the authentic Spirit of the Order, founded the first Monastery beyond the Alps, and from Vienna the foundations multiplied in Europe and around the world.

We return with the spotlight on the  Profession of Sr M. Faridah, who saw our sister offer her young life to Jesus the Redeemer in front of the monastic community and the whole Church. 

The Celebration began with the Dressing Rite during which Faridah wore the religious dress, with a particular dark red colour, which means the immense love of God for humanity, already indicating her desire to follow Christ with a new life. Afterwards there was the superior’s appeal, where the emotional but convinced young woman responded with her assent and her promptness:  You called me, here I am, Lord! 

The Rite of Temporary Profession took place after the homily, when the Bishop questioned her about her will. She uttered a formula of acceptance, saying: “I want it.” Sister Maria Faridah is committed to cherishing chastity, embracing poverty, and offering obedience. They are the vows that express the three ways through which, from now on, one will follow Christ “more closely” to be a “new person” in Him. We know well that today, for our world, this represents a challenge that we launch in every direction and that we embrace with the grace and love of God: we respond to selfishness and careerism with obedience; we respond to attachment and exploitation to the goods of the earth with poverty; to the unbridled search for pleasure at all costs we respond with chastity. Faridah explained all this in her Profession, which she made in the hands of her Superior, who accepted her desire to live the Redemptorist religious life. The Profession was signed publicly being a formal and official act which will remain for posterity in the archives of the Monastery. Finally, some signs were entrusted to her: the veil that covered her head, an external sign of change and radical belonging to God,  the book of the Liturgy of the Hours, that is, the book with which the newly professed woman is delegated by the Church to pray to be a sentinel who announces the dawn of the new day, who points to the Lord, the only Savior.  Finally, she received the  Crucifix and the Rule of our Order, which is like officially recognizing her vocation and committing herself to growing more and more in love. A garland of flowers then embellished and crowned her forehead, happy and proud to have become the bride of Christ.

The beauty and solemnity of the function were enriched by the touch of the Malagasy culture, which, joyful and festive, manifests its faith with expressive songs and dances. In their liturgies time stops and everything becomes beauty and enchantment, the people of Madagascar pray joyfully and happily, and everyone is the protagonist in the celebration. The Malagasy sisters of the Community of St. Agatha and many Malagasy brothers and sisters who participated expressed their faith and joy in the offertory dance, in the song at the exchange of peace, in the thanksgiving dance after communion. In short, Sr. M. Faridah involved everyone by raising her “yes” to Christ Jesus by singing and dancing.

Sr. Anna Maria Ceneri, OSsR.

Superior of the Community of Sant’Agata de Goti

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