Sr. Heather Sikes Makes First Profession


a Q&A with Sister Heather

Sister Heather Sikes, OLS made her first profession of vows as a Sister of Our Lady of Sorrows on Saturday, June 9, at the 4:00 p.m. Mass at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Shreveport.

On Saturday, June 9, you took your First Profession of vows to the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows. What is the significance of First Profession?

First Profession is a beautiful and significant transition from Novitiate to a time of contemplation in action, which points to our congregational motto: “Ardere et Lucere” meaning “to burn and to light.” It is a time when the sister’s consecration permeates all aspects of her life: apostolic ministry, prayer, study and community life. She lives the fruits of her consecration by seeing all people and circumstances through the eyes and heart of our crucified and risen Lord. In the daily life of a Sister of Our Lady of Sorrows, these spiritual elements are also nurtured and radiated: a love of the Holy Eucharist and a deep, genuine devotion to Our Blessed Mother at the foot of the Cross – Our Lady of Sorrows. During the time of First Profession, the sister also prepares herself for her final vows in the future.

After you take your First Profession, what will change?

After First Profession, one is assigned to a community and to an apostolic service. I have been assigned to St. Joseph’s Convent in Alexandria, LA, and I will teach at St. Frances Cabrini Catholic School. My transition from being a novice to a temporary vowed sister entails living out our charism, spirituality and apostolate through my consecration to God.

Can you share your religious vocations story? What made you decide to join the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows?

I was a sophomore in college at the University of Louisiana Lafayette when I encountered the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows. Before meeting the sisters, the desire of religious life was kept safely in the back of my mind and heart, and I was not on the path of actively discerning. I was studying pre-pharmacy, and I was preparing myself to move to Monroe for pharmacy school when I met the sisters at Our Lady of Wisdom Catholic Church and Student Center on campus. My hidden desire of giving my life to God was brought from the back-burner to the altar, and I sensed God’s invitation once again.

Looking to the future, what will be some of the apostolates you pursue as a sister of OLS? 

The primary apostolate of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows is education. However, we also minister in the specific areas of social services and catechesis.

Will there be future vows?

After five years of temporary vows and preparation, there will be another public ceremony for a perpetual profession. During this solemn occasion, the sister professes her vows for the rest of her life and receives a golden ring with our Crucified Lord as a visible sign of His commitment, fidelity and love to her. Also, her free fiat in response is a sign of her commitment, fidelity and love to Him.

What advice would you give to a woman who is interested in pursuing religious life?

For any young women who may be interested in pursuing religious life or who may have a desire and not know how to be disposed to it, I would say to pray for the grace to be open to our Lord and ask Him to speak to your heart!

Our foundress, Blessed Elisabetta Renzi, has many beautiful quotes, and one that helped me in my early discernment was: “Pray, and you will know the harbor that Divine Providence has chosen for the little ship of your soul.” I think it’s a very gentle, open approach that can easily dispose oneself to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

I would also encourage them to have courage and a trustful recollection in their relationship with Jesus. Fr. John Paul Crispin, FMH once said about religious life, “God doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called.” What a beautiful way to open wide the doors to religious life – the doors of one’s heart to God! And God can work through anything and choose anyone. This is the power of His gentle, guiding love.  •

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