The Renewal of Temporary Vows of Sr. Juthamat Phanwilai

The Renewal of Temporary Vows of the Sisters of the Lovers of the Cross of Ubon Ratchathani was held on March 13, 2021 at the chapel of the convent. The ceremony was performed during the Holy mass, Sr. Juthamat Phanwilai, a nursing student of Bernadette de Lourdes School of Nursing Science with others six junior sisters renewed their vows in front of Rev. Father Andrew Witthaya Ngamwong, the Chaplain and Mother Jovanna Vanida Thavorn, the Superior General of the Sisters of the Lovers of the Cross of Ubon Ratchathani.

The Congregation of the Lovers of the Cross of Ubon Ratchathani (LCU) is a Catholic female religious order working in Ubon Ratchathani Diocese located in the northeast of Thailand. This congregation was founded in 1889 by Rev. Father Jean Baptiste Prodhomme, MEP, a French Missionary who entered in Thailand.

He took vision from Bishop Pierre Lambert de la Motte. Its name is "The Sisters of the Lovers of the Cross of Ubon Ratchathani" or LCU Sisters. They devoted their life to Jesus Christ who died on the Cross and learn how to love and serve the people. They have a mission with several fields of social work, such as the Center for marginalized women under-privileged, work with drug addicts, AIDS patients, orphans and single mothers, and providing education basic vocational training for the youth.

At present, the LCU Sisters are working in Ubon Ratchathani and Nakornratchasima dioceses, covering eight provinces: Ubon Ratchathani, Amnatcharoen, Yasothon, Mahasarakam, Roi-et, Sisaket, Nakornratchasima and Buriram. There are 119 Sisters in the Congregation running five own schools and working another 20 schools.

What is Vows?

          Promises or commitment to undertake, or abstain from, particular actions, lifestyles, etc.  All religions offer the opportunity to formalize one’s intentions in this way, to such an extent that there can be uncertainty about whether a vow once made can be revoked.  Thus in Judaism vows are not required of Jews in the Bible, but once made they have to be carried out with precision (Deuteronomy 23. 22-4).  Vows are thus inviolable (I Samuel 14. 24 ff.; Judges II. 30 ff.), and there is no mechanism for absolving oneself from one’s vow (see Numbers 30. 1-16). 
          In later books, reservations are expressed about making vows (e.g. Ecclesiastes 5.3 f.), reservations which are reiterated in the *Talmud (e.g. B.Ned. 22a), where the problems of vows made in haste and then not fulfilled are recognized.  Perhaps for that reason, the *rabbis evolved an elaborate system for the annulment of vows in the tractate Nedarim. Jewish law uses three terms for vows, neder (general), nedavah (freewill offering), and shebu’ah (to pursue or not to pursue a course of action) – see also KOL NIDREI; NAZIRTE; OATHS.

          Some early Christians followed the practice of taking vows (Paul, e.g., taking the temporary vow of a Nazirite, Acts 21. 22-6), although *Jesus had warned against letting a dedication of something to God through qorban take precedence over more fundamental obligations (Mark 7.11).  Vows came to be understood as a social act through which a person donates himself or herself to another (marriage vows), or to God in religious community. 

          Thus vows are a voluntary dedication of the future, and an undertaking of more than the moral law requires.  A vow is called “solemn”, as opposed to “simple” if it is recognized by the Church, and may be perpetual or temporary.  Members of religious orders take vows to observe the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience.       

Bowker, J. (ed.). (1999). The Oxford dictionary of world religions. Oxford.

The Renewal of Temporary Vows of Sr. Pierina Mu Mee Mee

The Renewal of Temporary Vows of Sr. Pierina Mu Mee Mee, a Sister of St. Francis Xavier Congregation and an AU Myanmar student , who is currently enrolled in M.A. English Language Teaching Program, Graduate School of Human Science. The temporary vows renewing ritual was performed by Rev. Fr. Édouard Gnoumou on February 1, 2021 at the Chapel of the Annunciation, Hua Mak Campus, Assumption University of Thailand.

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