A young woman from Peru traveled nearly four thousand miles to profess her perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in the congregation of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities. The Eucharistic liturgy took place in the St. Mary of the Angels convent chapel in Williamsville on Saturday, December 10.
"The community here is very special for me," said Sister Reyna Jesusa Onton Nahui, OSF. "For me, it's the fraternity, so I want to share with them. That's why I decided to come here." In 2012, she spent six months with the Sisters of St. Francis in Williamsville. "All the sisters are special for me, but I found a friendship with the sisters here."
If she had chosen to take her perpetual vows in Peru, there would be only two other sisters to celebrate with her. In Williamsville, there were over a hundred sisters, some coming from Pittsburgh, Syracuse and the Bronx. The service marked the first time since 2009 that a new sister took her final vows at the motherhouse in Williamsville.
A native of Apurimac, Peru, Sister Reyna has spent the past seven years in formation as a sister of St. Francis working in the San Miguel Archangel Church in Lima, Peru. She is a physical therapy technician who spends many of her days working with the elderly. Some days she takes a two hour bus ride to provide physical therapy to developmentally disabled children in a very poor section of Peru. She often finds herself counseling the parents of these children as they deal with challenging living arrangements and a lack of running water. By counseling them on the struggles of daily life, she considers it an opportunity to open their hearts to God.
"The dedication to God comes first," said Sister Reyna, who considers the community service as the way in which she ministers. "It is in my heart to serve others working through Jesus Christ." Sister Reyna is 28 years old and will return to Peru to continue her work there.
The Sisters of St. Francis of the Neumann Communities is a congregation of 400 vowed women religious whose origin goes back to St. Francis of Assisi in the 13th century. Together, the sisters serve in 12 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, as well as Kenya and Peru.