God’s unfolding Blessings in my Journey of Faith
On Saturday May 28, we gathered to give thanks to the Lord for and celebrate my 25 Years of Religious Life with the Dominican Family. The celebration took place at Saint Thomas More Catholic Newman Center in Tucson, Arizona, which has for many years been under the pastoral leadership of the Dominican friars and Sisters.
"It has been a journey of faith, discovery, and wonder"
Looking back at the last 25 years of my consecrated life to God, to the Congregation, and to the Church I can see that it has been a journey of faith, discovery, and wonder. As I reflected three words comes to my mind and heart, “gratitude, joy, and fulfillment.” I am very blessed to be able to look back on the life that I have lived as a consecrated religious for twenty-five years since my first vows.
Above all, I am grateful for a continue discovering of God’s immense merciful love and fidelity all these years of commitment to the journey. I realized now how little I knew then, and how much less I know now about the wonder and unfolding life experiences of who God is in our lives.
"Numerous people helped me to complete these 25 years of fruitful service in the vineyard of the Lord"
I have encountered numerous people along the way who have shared God’s merciful love and helped me to complete these 25 years of fruitful service in the vineyard of the Lord. I treasure all these people who have touched my life with their faith and love and allowed me to do the same. The people, the places, the ministry opportunities, everything has been an adventure of faith a source of joy, peace, and fulfillment.
Fr. John Paul Forté, O.P the pastor of Saint Thomas More Catholic Newman Center celebrated the Mass and offered words during his homily and special blessing at the end of the Mass.
Fr. John Paul Forté, O.P celebrated the Mass
"These words of blessing for Sr. Gladys include an excerpt from: The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman. When day comes, we ask ourselves, where can we find light in this never-ending shade? The loss we carry. A sea we must wade. We braved the belly of the beast. We've learned that quiet isn't always peace, and the norms and notions of what "just" is.... isn't always justice.
And yet the dawn is ours before we knew it. Somehow, we do it. Somehow, we weathered and witnessed a nation that isn't broken, but simply unfinished.
My blessings fused with the Oakford Mission and a sung blessing of a John Michael Talbot piece which I adapted for your Jubilee Mass:
Gracious God, on this great feast of Ascension, we ask for your blessings to continue to surround and to lift Sr. Gladys on this great celebration of her 25th anniversary of profession as a Dominican Sister of Oakford. May she continue to be Rooted in the mission of Jesus and be formed in the spirit of St. Dominic and St. Catherine of Siena. May she and her Sisters spirituality remain profoundly biblical and ecclesiastical. May Gladys continue walk with, and in her Congregation’s special mission. Especially, in its approach to life: Namely, to be:
On the way with those who are seeking, standing up for those who are suffering, praising God with those who believe. May Gladys remain, open to the world, committed to justice and peace, and living unity in diversity. And May Gladys continue to be open to becoming fully human, a woman, who gives herself completely to God in the freedom of the vows. God in your life, love on your lips, peace, and justice in your community. In your sufficing, and in your ministry, and God in your Sisters, Love on your way!"
"I felt very connected and united by the same charism of prayer, study, common life, and preaching"
The celebration was very special for me since it was a celebration with the Dominican Family. Dominican Sisters of Peace, of Adrian, of Mission San Jose Sisters, of Springfield, and the friars were present. I felt very connected and united by the same charism of prayer, study, common life, and preaching. We are all preaching the Good News through our lives here and now and in the places we minister.
Some of my coworkers in ministry and others who support me and assist me in coordinating ministry here in the diocese were also present. They really added to the gift of celebration with their comments, prayers of thanksgiving and encouragement.
"I am very grateful to God’s personal call to me"
I am very grateful to God’s personal call to me, to my congregation, and to all the people I am called to serve here and now! My prayer is that I can be a bridge builder for our people, opening doors and creating pathways for leadership and ministry in this diocese and in the whole Church.
By Sr. Gladys Echenique, OP