An initiative of John Paul II in 1997, the Day of Consecrated Life is held every year on 2 February.
The Pope’s wish was to dedicate this day to “thank the Lord for the great gift of consecrated life, which enriches and rejoices the Church through the multiplicity of charisms and the dedication of so many lives totally given to the Lord and to the brethren”.
Sister Héléna Akre, a religious and student at the Ébaf for the year 2022-2023, agreed to share her testimony with us to highlight this day!
Can you tell us a little more about yourself?
I am Sister Héléna AKRE, a religious of the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Peace. A congregation founded by the first Cardinal of the Ivory Coast, the late Bishop Bernard Yago, on 29 June 1965 on the feast of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul. The charism of this congregation is “the human and spiritual promotion of women and girls in rural and urban areas”. The spirituality of the Sisters of Our Lady of Peace is “Living the Gospel of Peace”.
When did you dedicate your life to God?
I took my temporary vows on 27 June 2009 and my final vows on 26 June 2015. I have been a Sister of Our Lady of Peace for exactly 14 years.
What does this mean to you?
Every day I thank the Lord for the choice he made of my poor person. It is truly a grace for me to be able to serve Him in religious life. To be a religious is to live and imitate Christ more closely through the evangelical counsels of Chastity, Poverty and Obedience. It is also to be open to and experience the immense love of God in order to be a sign of his love and mercy in the heart of the world.
What are you studying here at Ebaf?
I am preparing a dissertation in order to obtain the title of “titulaire” of the École Biblique et Archéologique Française de Jerusalem.
How long have you been in the Holy Land?
I have been in the Holy Land for exactly five months.
What does it mean to live in Jerusalem as a religious?
Living in Jerusalem as a religious is an incredible opportunity. This land is deeply inhabited by all that the Patriarchs, the Prophets and Christ lived and taught for centuries. Thus, to walk in the footsteps of Christ and to visit the high places of the great biblical adventure is very formative.
Formative in the sense that the history of the holy places enlightens and helps to understand certain texts of the Bible. As the founding fathers wished, the study in the Holy Land makes it possible to link the document (biblical text) to the monument (archaeological sites).