OCEANIA/TAHITI - Religious life is attracting new candidates in Polynesia

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Papeete (Agenzia Fides) - “For youth today, the religious life seems to present difficult sacrifices which can certainly be a detriment for some who experience the call. They are called to renounce their independence, idolized by youth today. They are called to renounce to married life, material goods, well-paying professions...In order to embrace these sacrifices, one needs to have first discovered something of greater value: Jesus Christ.” These were the words of Archbishop Hubert Coppenrath of Papeete (Tahiti), in the most recent edition of the Diocesan magazine “Le Semeur Tahitien,” in which he commented on the religious who recently took vows in the Archdiocese. “Consecrated life has not ceased to attract candidates in Polynesia,” the Archbishop affirmed, recalling the temporal vows taken by Br. Fernand of the Sacred Heart Brothers, Sister Maria Gabriela of the Annunciation, of the Poor Clares, and Sisters Maria Tangi and Josiane Teriierooiterai of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Cluny.
Sister Maria, as the Archbishop mentioned in the Mass during which they professed, always felt a strong attraction to the consecrated life, but on the Island of Makemo, where she was born, there was no religious community. Thus, she took active part in her parish, in the youth groups, in catechesis, in missionary activity...Then, in a retreat she met a religious sister for the first time, who helped her reach her ideal. Sister Josiane, on the other hand, never thought of joining the religious life and she was called when she was 45 years old, while she was in Noumea for a catechist's training course. While she was waiting for a religious who was to come and speak with her, she entered the chapel in the novitiate house and felt attracted by the inscription she read: “Come and follow me.” She felt that Jesus was speaking to her through those words, and was sending her a message. From that moment, she could not doubt about her vocation to the consecrated life.
On October 1, the Archbishop inaugurated a new seminar room dedicated to Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, Patroness of the Missions, who “was profoundly aware of the importance of priests and often prayed for priests, especially missionaries,” Archbishop Coppenrath said on the day of its inauguration. “We know that her intercession is powerful. Thus, we entrust this house to her, that it may be a place where the youth feel at home and can be strengthened in the faith, with an authentic human, intellectual, and spiritual formation, and so that some may discover their vocation to the priesthood and respond with generosity.” (SL) (Agenzia Fides 5/11/2008)