Monday, June 22, 2009

Sr. Lydia's 25th Jubilee

Sr. Lydia Anna Sawka, OSBM, celebrated her Silver Jubilee on June 13, 2009 at Holy Trinity Chapel in Fox Chase Manor, PA. Did you attend Sr. Lydia's Jubilee? Share a memory by clicking the "Comment" link at the bottom of this post.

Video #1 = Liturgy including Renewal of Vows (8 minutes)

Video #2 = Sr. Lydia Anna Sawka, OSBM, Speech (3 minutes)

Sr. Lydia's Speech

Slava Isusu Khrystu!

Your Excellencies, Archbishop Stefan and Bishop John, Reverend Fathers and Deacon, Venerable Missionary Sisters of the Mother of God, my dearest family, friends and dearest Basilian Sisters,

How delighted I am to have you all here for my 25th anniversary celebration. Our Beloved Lord has blessed me with a special gift – that of a vocation to the Sisters of the Order of St. Basil the Great. Little did I imagine the journeys and adventures Our Lord had mapped out for me. Growing up in Hamtramck, MI, I thought that was my whole world – and I was happy there, amidst loving family, friends and people whom I met. God, however, had larger and different plans for me, plans beyond anything I ever expected. Throughout my life He has prepared, nurtured and encouraged me, even though I often was not aware of it. How?

God blessed me with faith-filled parents – Michael and Adela, who were constant good examples of living their faith. They cared for family and friends; lived a life that revolved around church and family. With my sister, Nadia, we went to Liturgy every Sunday and often for other services, such as Molebens, Stations of the Cross, and processions on Feasts. It was simply what was done - the norm in our lives. Looking back, perhaps, what touched me the most was when I would peek into my parents’ room (when I should have been in bed) and would see my father or mother praying before going to sleep. Their live showed me the importance of God in all facets of life. I am forever grateful for my parents, whom I am sure are with us today in spirit. My sister and I grew in a loving atmosphere. My sister, Nadia, was and continues to be, not just the best sister imaginable, but also, my dearest and closest friend – who else shares so much in common with me.! Indeed, I was and continue to be blessed with a wonderful family – my sister, Nadia, and her incredible family, my uncle Ted (Dozio), other aunts and uncles, my cousins and their families, my late grandparents and relatives.

In addition to family, friends are very important – and there, too, my life is very rich for God has given me many friends who have provided much laughter, understanding, encouragement and support in my journeys. There are so many – from school, Plast, the chancery, work and other facets of my life. You come in many forms – hierarchy, clergy, married and single. Some have journeyed with me for many, many years, others for just a few years. You are each important and precious to me.

These are not, however, the only people who have influenced my life and prepared me for the journeys I have and continue to travel. Throughout my life, I have been guided by both the Basilian Sisters and Fathers, who nurtured the faith and helped form my life. From kindergarten to high school – in the Immaculate Conception Church and Schools– they have led me to know God in my life. I had wonderful teachers in the schools, who first taught me and then taught with me – and continue to be my friends. I was blessed with the opportunity to continue my education through university and, eventually, become a teacher. My gratitude is extended to my students, who continued to teach me through new eyes on the world.

My community – my Basilian Sisters – what a great part you have played and continue to play in my life – from childhood to the present. Sometimes, I laugh, when in the daily living of community life, something goes badly and I annoy someone, which is bound to happen when you live in community - I just laugh and since so many Sisters have had a hand in my formation, say: “Just remember, what you made is what you got!” Of course, they are not totally responsible for whom I have become – just a little. Today, I celebrate each of you, my Sisters. I have spent 25 years in this community of Jesus, Lover of Humanity. What a blessed time! You have encouraged me to grow and to stretch – often in ways I never imagined! You have provided opportunities beyond my dreams. To each of you, here, and those who have gone on to their heavenly reward – I thank you. I only hope that I have been and will be a blessing to you, as you have been to me.

Before I end, please let me thank all those who have helped with this celebration. There are too many to mention by name here and now – but know that you will each be individually remembered in my prayers. Without you – this could not have happened! Thank you to all of you who have come here today – from near and far – you have each had a part in my journey here. I love each of you! May God send his abundant blessings upon you. I, also, thank the Blessed Mother, who has guided me along me journey, often pointing out the right way to go, St. Basil and St. Macrina, and all those who have walked the journey in our Basilian Community. Most of all – I thank my Beloved Lord – who is the center of my life and blesses me with each breathe I take, surprising me at every turn in the road – always walking tenderly with me, even when I am not mindfully aware of His Presence. He is my Lord and my Love.

-Sr. Lydia Anna Sawka, OSBM
June 13, 2009

Photos from Sr. Lydia's Jubilee (click photo to enlarge)

-the end-

Photos & Video: Teresa Siwak from "The Way"
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