Sr Anne Teresa of St Joseph, OCD, made her final profession as a Carmelite nun in Christchurch on May 1, the feast of St Joseph the Worker.
Archbishop Paul Martin, SM, apostolic administrator of Christchurch diocese, was the principal celebrant at the Mass at the Carmelite monastery in Hoon Hay.
Sr Anne Teresa was known as Maselina Seinafo Tevaga before she took her current religious name.
Born in a small village at Mauga Lealatele in Savaii, Samoa, her family were all strong Catholics, and a few became religious and priests.
“My great uncle Mgsr Lui Tevaga, who died in Auckland about five years ago, was an inspiration to many of us. I have my Sr Mareta here with me in Carmel, and one is in Rome, Sr Claudia Agnese, with the Contemplative Order of the Visitation,” Sr Anne Teresa told NZ Catholic.
She said the strongest earthly influence on her religious journey came from her parents. “Their lives first planted the seed that made me stay and persevere in my vocation, from the beginning to this far.”
Sr Anne Teresa previously entered an “active” religious order, which cared for the elderly, and she worked for them for a number of years.
“I am indebted to them for all they taught me, and I had experienced great things in life through their dedication. I was given everything that I needed, the support necessary, without lacking anything.
“However, there was always something unfulfilled within me, so I felt I was not completed or fully satisfied as a person. I grew up in a home where there was always prayer. It was there that I had this yearning, wanting to be more present with the Eucharist, that attracted me the most.”
Therefore, she embarked on the contemplative life, and is very thankful to be a Carmelite.
She said the one person who matters is Jesus.
“Whether I am in the monastery, or if I live life elsewhere, it is the same goal that I will always aim for; to make Jesus loved and remembered by many others.
The solidarity and silence in the cloister have brought me closer to the Lord.” The liturgy for Sr Anne Teresa’s final profession Mass can be viewed at www. streamer.co.nz/ sranneteresa/