Her face was radiant; her smile contagious – we witnessed the joy emanating from the face of this beautiful Little Sister of the Poor. On July 27, 2013 Sr. Emmanuel du Bon Pasteur celebrated 60 years of religious life.
From all walks of life and many areas of the world, Sister’s family began arriving the week prior to her celebration. The Little Sisters were happy to welcome family members from as far away as India. Others were from England, St. Louis, Dallas, Houston, California, Rochester and Chicago. It was a beautiful reunion; some had not seen each other for more than 30 years.Counting the children, the youngest being 4 months old, there were approximately 30 family members all eager to join in the celebration, praising God for the years of service given him by Sr. Emmanuel.
The Jubilee began in earnest with the celebration of the liturgy of the Eucharist.Rev. Joseph Johnson, a dear friend of the Little Sisters, was the celebrant. He began his homily in French, “the language of the Little Sisters,” congratulating Sr. Emmanuel. “Over these 60 years, you have been building up a world of faith and love,” he told Sr. Emmanuel.“You had no way of knowing, 60 years ago, that you would celebrate in the ‘Year of Faith’.”
The theme of the Jubilee was Our Lady of the Good Shepherd, and Father Johnson, switching from French to English, spoke of our trust in God’s plan leading us to peace and joy and letting the “Good Shepherd” lead us on. He spoke of St. Paul evaluating everything on earth and counting it as loss, because he had Christ. He reminds us that Jesus is our true treasure; his love alone can fill our hearts. St. Paul reminds us Christ gives himself to you, Sr. Emmanuel, because you have given yourself to him. Christ is the pearl of great price.
Father Johnson, directing his comments to Sr. Emmanuel, spoke of Faith and learning to trust and hope in God for everything. Giving ourselves entirely and knowing the reward will be what God has in store for us. “Eye has not seen; ear has not heard what God has ready for those who love him.”
“Sr. Emmanuel,” Father continued, “The sacrifices you have made throughout these 60 years have born a beautiful fruit in your life, and we have all benefited by that.We thank God for all the graces and blessings he has showered on you. For many years to come, may you continue to serve him in love.”
There is an Indian Ritual which shows respect to an elder by honoring him or her on a special occasion like a milestone birthday or anniversary. Sr. Emmanuel was honored at the end of Mass by a blessing and a mark of Sandelwood paste on her forehead, a garland of flowers and a shawl.Her family members took part in this ceremony, after which Father Johnson concluded the Mass with the final blessing.
After Mass, all took part in a beautifully prepared dinner. All the Little Sisters, Sister Emmanuel’s family, and Association Jeanne Jugan members joined in the festivities.Following the dinner everyone moved to the auditorium for a special entertainment – an authentic Indian dance.
Sixty years of happiness in the Congregation of the Little Sisters of the Poor shown brightly on Sr. Emmanuel’s face. She found happiness in God’s service of caring for the elderly poor, and she expressed her gratitude to all who made this beautiful day possible.