CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Perpetual vows on Lamma Island

HONG KONG (SE): Friends and relatives gathered at The Portiuncula Monastery of the Blessed Sacrament Monastery on Lamma Island on December 18 last year to witness Sister Mary Grace Abastillas of the Immaculate Heart of Mary from the Order of St. Clare take her perpetual vows.

With a crown of roses on her head and a bouquet in her hands, Sister Abastillas approached the altar slowly during a Mass celebrated by Father Frank Elsinger, together with Father Adjutus Tian and Father Paul Fru.

The crown of roses was then replaced with the crown of thorns, signifying readiness also to join the Lord in his suffering.

Sister Abastillas explained that it is almost 10 years from joining the order to final or perpetual vows. She shared that she first felt God’s call when she was in high school, but then got busy with her job.

However, she expressed gratitude that she was able to discover a monastery in Hong Kong. She explained that her parents and her Filipino community at the Holy Family in Choi Hung were influential in her decision to enter the religious life.

Sister Abastillas encouraged young people to stay close to Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary, who she said will lead them to their true vocation.

Guests received a set of rosary beads as a souvenir.

The Order of St. Clare dates back to Assisi in 1212, when St. Clare received the habit from St. Francis in a small church called Portiuncula, which means a small portion of land in Latin.

The group was established in Hong Kong on Lamma Island in 2000.

The life of the monastery revolves around prayer and worship, and incorporates a 24-hour a day adoration of the blessed sacrament.

The contemplative life offers respite from the woes of the world.

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