The Immaculate Heart of Mary, Shillong Province celebrated the 150 years of the foundation of the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (FMA) on 6 August 2022 at the Cathedral of Mary Help of Christians, Shillong. Marking this beautiful event 16 Sisters made their Perpetual Profession offering their life as permanent members of the Institute. The Eucharistic celebration on this twin celebration was presided over by Most Rev. Victor Lyngdoh DD, Archbishop of Shillong and concelebrated by more than thirty priests among whom was the Salesian Provincial of Shillong Province, Fr. Paul Olphindro Lyngkot.
At the outset of the celebration, as a pledge of joyful and creative fidelity of the FMA, the flag of the Institute and a copy of the Constitutions were brought to the altar by Sr. Elizabeth George, Provincial accompanied by the Golden Jubilarians: Sr. Rosina Susngi and Sr. Isabella Suja bearing a candle in their hand imprinted with the logo of the 150th anniversary of the Institute. Soon after the rite of perpetual profession, another significant moment of the celebration was the renewal of the vows by all the FMA Sisters present for the celebration followed by the singing of the Institute’s anthem, “Oh Qual sorte”.
The motto that guided the preparation of the 16 Sisters towards the great day of their self-giving through perpetual profession was “With courage and passion, we live the mandate, ‘I entrust them to you’”. They hail from 13 Parishes and 6 Dioceses of Northeast India. At the entrance procession, the Sisters bearing a lighted lamp in their hand approached the altar accompanied by their parents; a sign of offering oneself to the Lord’s service and the good of those they encounter in their mission. After the pronouncement of the vows and being welcomed to the Institute in perpetuity by the provincial, a pink crown was donned on their head while the choir sang the hymn “Veni Sponsa Christi”. The Sisters in turn filled with joy voiced out their song of gratitude uniting their thanksgiving with the Magnificat of Mary. After communion, a representative of the new perpetually professed Sisters made a prayer of thanksgiving followed by a hymn of thanksgiving to the Lord who they have received in their hearts.
Present on the occasion were the parents and relatives of the Sisters, some government officials, religious men and women from the nearby Institutions, young people, salesian cooperators and past-pupils which numbered almost 2000 people. After the final blessing, Sr. Celine D’ Cunha, general coordinator of the province, thanked everyone who had been instrumental in making a day a grand success. A short felicitation for the Sisters and family meal were conducted at St. Anthony’s Higher Secondary School, a Salesian Institution.