Last year was a whirlwind of events going on in my life. I made a conscious decision and commitment to complete my initial formation as a member of the Sisters of the Living Word in Chicago IL. This past fall saw the culmination of the discernment period and I took my first vows in the presence of my community sisters, some of my biological family members who had traveled from Nigeria and my friends who came from different parts of the US and world as well. Also in the ceremony were some of my friends who were part of the Inter Congregational Novitiate (ICN) program with me and some of my Giving Voice friends. It was a memorable occasion for me and the sisters.
Of course, with the summation of formation comes the start of a ministry. As a Social Worker by profession, I have worked in different organizations and indeed loved being present to the poor who need the services that I have been able to provide. Through discernment with my community, I will continue in the same ministry but with a twist- exploring working more with the immigrant community particularly of Latin American descent. This past few months have seen me studying the basic Spanish language and I completed a two months’ Spanish immersion program in Mexico this Spring - an opportunity that came through one of my Giving Voice sister’s connections. The gift of sisterhood!
Being a member of Giving Voice has been a great gift to me, especially as I navigate through the search, discernment process and formation period in a new congregation in the US and as an immigrant. This group has created a forum for me to associate, relate and mingle with young women who are discerning to be sisters or who are already sisters, share daily experiences in our context and encourage each other on our journey and ministry.
I have been enriched greatly by the opportunity of cross cultural contact particularly Latin American culture which gave me access to people’s way of life, traditions and believe some element of which remind me of my own cultural heritage. As I look forward to the years ahead of me, I continue to be ever grateful to my sisters for this opportunity and to rely on God’s grace especially in my ministry with the immigrants and the less privileged of our society.
By Sister Chioma Ahanihu, SLW