On Saturday 24th September, the whole of Croxteth, so it seemed, came out in force to join us in celebrating Sr Anne France’s Final Profession. Queen of Martyrs Parish Church was filled to the brim with over 200 people present; Anne France’s family and relatives, her Sisters in the province, friends from her Lourdes day, past and present work colleagues, Vides volunteers, parishioners and of course young people! It really was a Salesian Family Affair!
The day began with a magnificent and meaningful liturgy. The theme of the mass was: “Shout for joy … he will renew you by His love!” Fr. John Carroll, a close friend of Sr Anne Frances, was the main celebrant and he was accompanied by some of our Salesian priests.
Sr Ella narrated and guided the whole congregation through the celebration with a short commentary introducing the different parts of the mass. This helped each of us to follow and understand the significance of each stage of this solemn occasion, which was a first in a life time experience for many of those present. She did this dramatically yet prayerfully. It was well received by everyone!
The music was led beautifully by Sr Anne France’s close friends; their music enhanced the celebration and the congregation sang with one voice giving praise to God for such a joyous occasion; the wonderful witness of Sr Anne Frances committing her life to God forever! It was very emotional at times.
One of the most moving parts of the mass was when Sr Anne Frances lay prostrate before the altar as we sung the litany. The wonder and awe was tangible around the church, at such a sight; everyone was moved by this act of humility and self-giving before God. Most people commented on this part of the mass throughout the rest of the day. It seemed like this would be a lasting memory for most of those present.
Sr Connie received Sr Anne Frances’ final vows and she accepted her in to the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians Congregation forever! Sr Agnes and Sr Pat stood alongside Sr Connie to witness this wonderful act. Sr Connie then presented Sr Anne Frances with a candle as a symbol of God’s faithful love. Once again this was a very emotional part of the mass, naturally everyone applauded spontaneously to express their deep joy and happiness because Sr Anne Frances had said ‘Yes’ to God and the Young forever!
After the mass everyone gathered at St John Bosco Arts College to continue the celebration in true Salesian style. Sr Connie began the party with a heartfelt speech and toast to Sr Anne Frances and then she cut the cake. After that we all had the opportunity to meet with friends from all over the UK to mark this very special day for Sr Anne Frances. The catering staff from St John Bosco Arts College provided the buffet; a very generous, delicious and outstanding spread! There was plenty to choose from and it kept everyone busy eating and chatting till eventually it was time to go home. However the party didn’t end there!
Afterwards, closer friends and family members joined Sr Anne Frances and her community in Mansion Drive to party into the small hours of the morning. The Salesians at Home Group had prepared a marquee in the back garden and cooked food for everyone! This was welcomed by all. The gathering was warm and homely. The highlight of the evening was the traditional sing song; Tracey and Trisha led us expertly through each song with people joining in, united in heart and voice! It was a lot of fun!
Sadly the day had to come to an end and one by one people eventually left, but they all left FULL of the Salesian Spirit and joy!
Thanks to Sr Anne Frances sharing her ‘Yes’ so publicly, God’s word was heard, God’s Love was shown and God’s faithfulness to His people was proclaimed! Therefore, I believe seeds were sown in the hearts of everyone that day; may those seeds bear fruit for future vocations in all walks of life, where God can continue to work in each one to build up His Kingdom.
The last word has to go to one special lady, Sr Anne Frances; CONGRATULATIONS! Be assured of this, our prayer for you:
“Shout for joy … He will renew you by His love!”
Sr Linda Cameron