Our Community is celebrating this year the 75th Jubilee of Sister Eva Batta, and the 25th Jubilee of Sister Arlene Te. Sister Eva is one of the original companions of our Foundress, Servant of God Sister Ida Peterfy. Sister Arlene is a medical doctor serving as the Director of Family Medicine at Cardinal Tien Hospital in Taiwan.
Mass of thanksgiving was offered for the Sisters at the end of July at the Heart of Jesus Retreat Center in Santa Ana. Archbishop Paul Russell, Apostolic Nuncio to Turkey, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan was the principal celebrant along with Abbot Sharbel Ewen, O.S.B
Sister Arlene’s words of gratitude during the celebration:
Good afternoon, dear Family and Friends,
I am so happy to see all of you here to celebrate together in thanksgiving for Sister Eva and my jubilees. Today we also give thanks to God for His faithfulness and His unconditional love for each of us.
Twenty-five years went fast. It is a gift from God to be a consecrated religious. I am grateful to our Lord for giving me this greatest treasure—which is my vocation. Looking back since my entrance day, God has blessed my life abundantly. I remember when I said “yes” to His calling to religious life; my heart was filled with deep joy and peace. I knew this is what God wanted me to do.
My holy card is of “Jesus, the Divine Healer”; the same picture I chose for my final vow holy card. The face of Jesus in this picture is full of compassion, mercy and gentleness as He heals the blind man. Jesus chose me to be His co-worker in His healing ministry to bring His compassion, mercy and gentleness to the people I serve in my work as a physician.
Today’s reading speaks of God’s love for us and His commission for us to go and to bear fruit that will last. It is also the quote on my holy card. I am called to continue Jesus’ mission here on earth. Love is the content of my mission. To let myself be loved, to love Him in return, and to share this love with others.
As Saint Paul said: “I live no longer I but Christ lives in me.” It is the life of Jesus that bears fruit in me. “Here I am Lord, I come to do Your Will.” As Sister Ida taught us in so many ways: “God’s love is our greatest treasure.”
Before I end, I would like to express my gratitude to Archbishop Paul Russell, Apostolic Nuncio to Turkey, (also to Turkmenistan and Azrbaijan). We met when the Archbishop was Papal Nuncio in Taiwan. Archbishop is a good friend and a brother to me and to our Sacred Heart Sisters. I am also grateful for the presence of Abbot Sharbel Ewen, OSB, from Prince of Peace Abbey in Oceanside. He is a longtime faithful friend. I would like to thank our priest friends and Deacons for your prayers and support to each of us in our vocations.
To my beloved Community, thank you for your constant companionship and witness to me in my religious life. Your loving support means a lot to me.
I am grateful to my parents for their faith and love; and who have entered into eternal life . To my dear family who are present with us, my two sisters Darlene and Marlene, my Aunt Lily; my cousins Dr. Ricardo (Richie)Tan, Jonard and Jun Jun for their support. I also am grateful to my dear family members in the Philippines and Chicago who could not be present but are with us in spirit. To all my friends, our benefactors and volunteers for your generosity and loving support and encouragement to us. Please keep us in your prayers especially for vocations to priesthood and religious life, in particular to our Community. Thank you for rejoicing with us today. Count on my prayers for all of you. May God Bless each one of you and keep you close to His Sacred Heart! Thank you!
Artwork: Isabel Piczek, “Jesus, the Divine Healer”, Heart of Jesus Retreat Center, Santa Ana, CA
Sister Eva’s words of gratitude
Your Excellency Archbishop Russell, Abbot Sharbel, and our dear friends:
It is a great joy for me to celebrate this unbelievable 75th Jubilee of consecrated life.
I am so deeply grateful to our Lord that He touched my heart at such an early age. I was 15 when I made a lifetime decision to answer the call of the Lord Jesus — and thanks be to God — I never wavered, I never gave it a second thought. And my life was always filled with grace and blessings. I always remembered that our Lord never promised us a “rose garden” here on earth, but He said: “My yoke is easy and my burden light.”
In the Community we went through difficult times, but never alone. Our Lord ran with us, when the persecution began in Communist Hungary, He protected and helped us to break through the heavily guarded barbed-wire fences when we escaped. He was my strength and consolation when in prison. He was with us as we travelled on the stormy ocean in a loaded refugee boat. Whatever happened, we always enjoyed the security and the love of our Lord.
During this time I learned, that when our Lord calls us to follow Him, He is right there ahead of us, His Holy Spirit inspired and gave me great joy as I was teaching His children, youth, catechists and catechumens, leading Girls’ Camps, schools of prayer and whatever assignment I was given.
Little did I know at 15, in a small country in Europe, that I will be here today looking back at 75 blessed years.
I never stop rejoicing over the fact that the Lord Jesus called and sent me to continue His work on earth, proclaiming the Good News of the love and mercy of the Father.
Thank you again for sharing my joy and for coming to give thanks to God together for these blessed 75 years. Please continue to keep our Community, the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in your heart and prayers. Let us pray together for vocations, that those, whom our Lord is calling, may hear His voice and respond joyfully to His call to religious life.
May Our Lord bless you and keep you close to His Heart!