Sr. Selvi Adaikalam IBVM has every reason to recognise that God leads us all by strange paths! The young woman growing up in southern India could never have imagined that this many years later, she would make her final vows in Timor-Leste, as part of the Australian province of a worldwide congregation!
On Saturday, May 1, Selvi made her final vows before the local bishop as a member of Mary Ward’s Institute – the Loreto Sisters. Neither COVID-19 lockdowns nor recent floods could prevent this celebration, though they each played a part in ensuring that it took place not with the fanfare of a large group of sisters and friends in Melbourne, nor even with an enthusiastic parish of people in the nearby village of Ostico, but quietly with a small group of Australian, Vietnamese and East Timorese Sisters, along with friends in Baucau.
The theme of the eucharistic celebration was centered on the Trinitarian God who looks upon us and invites us into a relationship that calls us to widen ‘the tent of our hearts’ and so enliven a spirit of generous service.
Selvi has been in Timor-Leste for four years now. Her work has been in pastoral care with students at the Marist Teachers’ College, and most importantly, with young women who find themselves attracted to the way of life started by Mary Ward and her companions in Northern Europe in 1609. Mary’s emphasis on the gift women can bring to the church and the world has been kept alive through the centuries and has found an echo in the hearts of young women in Timor Leste, who are considering the call to live this response to God. Selvi has introduced them to the daily realities of this way of life.
We thank God for Selvi’s commitment to the mission of Jesus in the spirit of Mary Ward and pray that her generous commitment will bring many blessings to Timor-Leste and wherever she is called to serve in the future.