70th Anniversary of Sr. Ilaria’s religious profession

On May 5, our Sydney community was joined by the sisters from Melbourne for a very special celebration: the 70th anniversary of religious profession of sr. Maria Ilaria Oyama. On that day, in 1954, exactly 70 years ago, together with other companions she pronounced her first religious vows of chastity, poverty and obedience in the Kawaguchi community, Japan. Their first religious profession solemnised the fourth anniversary of the arrival of the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master in the “Land of the Rising Sun.”

Sr. Ilaria belongs to the first group that began Novitiate in Japan, on May 5, 1953, in the presence of the Founder, Blessed James Alberione, and Mother Lucia Ricci, superior general, who were in visit to the growing young Pauline Family.

Sr. Ilaria was sent to Australia in 1960. She is one of the first missionary Sister Disciples “Down Under”. Here she spent most of her religious life serving and irradiating her love for the Lord and the People of God through prayer, apostolate and captivating smile which she shared to all those whom she met.

The Sisters of the Australian Delegation gathered around her in a joyful celebration and thanksgiving for the faithfulness of God manifested in sr. Ilaria’s dedicated life and witness of His love to all.

The Eucharistic celebration was presided over by fr. Michael Goonan, ssp, and concelebrated by fr. Nestor Candado, ssp. During the Mass, sr. Ilaria, accompanied by a unison voices of the sisters, renewed her religious vows. After a festive meal, we watched a PowerPoint presentation with memorable photos and videos from different periods of sr. Ilaria’s life and mission in Australia, prepared by sr. Catherine Hipwell.  The programme brought up many fond memories, amidst laughter and an occasional tear of emotion.