I am Juliana Yarkwan. I come from Benue State in Middle Belt, Nigeria. My family is TIV speaking and I am third born in a family of seven. Presently I am a second year Novice with the Sisters of Mercy, in the Continental Novitiate, Nakuru, Kenya.
First Profession – 6th December 2008
On Saturday 6th December 2008, Juliana Kpadoo Yarkwan made her First Profession at Villa Maria, Nairobi. Sisters from the Northern Province, the Nigerian region and the Kenyan Province gathered for the occasion. Sr. Maire McGann from Nigeria, Sisters Anne Lyng, Rose Marie Conlan and Gabriel Stuart from the Northern Province witnessed the First Profession of Sr. Juliana. It was a wonderful occasion for the South African Province, as she took her First Profession vows as a Sister of Mercy. Sr Liz Fletcher, Provincial Leader, received her vows.
Fr. Niall Martin S.P.S celebrated the Mass. He highlighted the message of the Gospel Mark 1:14-20 “Follow me I will make you fishers of people” – comparing the ongoing commitment of a Sister of Mercy to challenging task of a fisherman; his work in endless, and he often has to make hard choices.
The liturgy for the Profession was enhanced by the singing led by the Novices and Postulants. A variety of instruments accompanied them.
After the ceremony, the congregation was entertained by the newly professed and novices, with their director Sr. Catherine Dooley to a heavenly rendition of songs like, “Be Still my Soul’, ‘Whispering Hope”. A fitting conclusion to the ceremony!
All were served with a delicious meal in the Provincial House.
Final Profession – 9th December 2017
Srs. Marvis (left) and Juliana (right) before the ceremony
“We express our gratitude to all of you especially Juliana for responding to the challenge to be Mercy, to be the compassionate presence of God in the reality of daily life here in South Africa”. These are the words of Sr. Margaret Casey in her address at the Final Profession of Juliana Yarkwan on Saturday 9th December 2017.
Sr. Margaret Casey giving her address to the congregation
Sr. Margaret Casey and Sr. Marie Louise White, some of the members of Juliana’s family had all arrived in Pretoria a few days before. So there was time for catching up on family news as well as for practising for the ceremony.
The main celebrant at the Mass was Archbishop Emeritus George Daniel who was assisted by priests from Pretoria, Nigeria and Zimbabwe. The choir of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Pretoria North sang hymns in various languages and was accompanied by a young drummer.
Srs. Juliana and Marvis receiving their rings
In his homily, Archbishop Daniel spoke about the origins of the Church in Africa. He was delighted that two more daughters of the soil were committed to bringing Jesus’ love to the people of Africa.
After the profession of her vows, the ring was given by Sr. Margaret. Juliana has chosen as her motto: Nothing is impossible for God.
Profession of vows
In Sr. Margaret’s address at the end of the celebration, she not only congratulated Juliana but also encouraged her in the commitment they she had made in these words: “I remind all of us that we are called to be faithful not successful. Glory be to God whose power working in us can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine (Eph 3:14-21). As Mercy women we learn from the shadows of the past and make our journey together through greater communion, meaningful conversation, deeper prayer and reflection. Above all trust in God our loving vinedresser; Catherine, we know, relied with unhesitating confidence on the Providence of God.”
Sr. Juliana’s Profession Cake
Sr. Margaret also spoke about the importance of the vows that Juliana had just professed. “Alexandra Kovats … offers the re-visioned vows as follows – the vow of poverty as the vow of cosmic reverence; the vow of chastity as the vow of hospitality and reverence; the vow of obedience as the vow of creativity.”
It was a wonderful occasion for the newly professed Sister, her family, the Sisters of Mercy and the Church.