On 8 December 2021, three novices made their first Professions as FMAs at the St John Bosco Parish Engadine, Sydney. Here is what Sr Sialei had to say afterwards!
I have always believed that God called me to be aSalesian Sister. It’s strange to say because, other than my two amazing aunties who are Salesian Sisters serving in Samoa and Solomon Islands, I did not grow up in a Salesian atmosphere of any sort!
My first exposure to Salesian youth was in 2011 at World Youth Day in Madrid. I experienced Salesianity at its core, returned home with zeal and carried on living life teaching and being actively involved in our local parish of St Therese.
The daily interactions and challenges of working in a multigenerational, multicultural parish and school community offered me the opportunity to begin acquiring some fundamental skills which I continue to develop and foster throughout my life - particularly in regard to living in community and dealing with young people!
Sr Sialei(centre) makes her vows accompanied by Sr Julie and Sr Kamila.
The two years of novitiate during the pandemic was a huge blessing in disguise. We were gutted by our inability to be actively present with the youth, school, and parish; however we made up for it by diving deeper into our novitiate program. Emphasis was placed on knowing who we are, as young FMAs who are serving young people with the charism of Don Bosco and Maria Mazzarello..
There were so many invaluable moments during lockdown whether in community or online zoom meetings that taught me the importance of being hopeful and livingout the gospel values of Jesus every day .
By being appreciative for the small things in life andaware of the needs of others, I learnt that giving the best of my authentic self to those in need is living out my vocation as truly as possible. One needs to feel human to belong; to feel valued, to be heard and listened to; and it is God at the centre of all these hidden blessings, waiting for us to discover Him.
Alongside my companions we professed our first vows publicly, with our Salesian family and loved ones watching online. It was during a beautiful, prayerful and solemn Mass, made extra special by our living saint Sr Esperanza (who resides in Melbourne) celebrating her 80th anniversary of profession of religious life - what a true testimony of fidelity at 104 years of age!
My journey with my God is ongoing and I truly thank my parents, brothers, families, Fr Manoj Kunnath, Sr Hieu Luong and my Salesian Sisters for their unwavering support and love; but above all my companions on the journey who initiated my vocation and waited patiently for me to respond ‘Yes, here I am’.