Written by Sister Bianca Camilleri, FMIHM
On Feb. 3, 2018, the Diocese of Camden celebrated the World Day for Consecrated Life with a Mass and dinner honoring men and women religious who will commemorate significant Jubilees this year. As a Sister celebrating 60 years of religious consecration, I was blessed to take part in the day. It was very uplifting and the bishop’s homily was touching. He said that Sisters work hard, and he was right.I cannot believe that I am celebrating 60 years. It is as if it was only yesterday that I entered my congregation in 1955. I do not regret a minute of it. Giving my life to God was always my calling since I was 13 years old.
When I professed my first vows, as a very young Sister, I was sent to the Holy Land from my home country of Malta, not knowing where I was going and not knowing the language. However, my superiors told me, “God will be waiting there for you to help you,” so I left in October of 1958. And they were correct. My years in the Holy Land were really a great experience for me. I worked with children in school, helped in the boarding section, learned the language and studied at the University of Jerusalem.
After 13 years there, coming to the United States was not easy. I had to leave my first mission, school students and many friends, but I had made the vow of obedience. Since arriving here, I have worked with children and I have loved it. I have taught in Westmont, Blackwood, Glassboro and Clayton. Since I retired as a full time teacher in 2012, I wanted to continue my mission with the children. So I embarked on a voluntary mission at Saint Michael the Archangel School. I am very happy doing God’s work, especially promoting the rosary, services to elderly, liturgies and much more around the school and, of course, religious education after school.
The bishop was right to say that all the Sisters work hard in our diocese. Maybe you do not see it all, but believe me, we do. I thank everyone for all you do for the Sisters in our diocese, for your love and concern for us. Please know you are in our prayers and I ask you to pray for us too!
I end with the words of Saint Ignatius from a hymn I like very much. These words have been true for me in my years of religious life and can be true for you as well:
Take my heart, O Lord, take my hopes and dreams.
Take my mind with all its plans and schemes.
Give me nothing more than your love and grace.
These alone, O God, are enough for me.