Sister Maria David Magbanua professes perpetual vows
MERIDEN, CT (12-12-2010) - In the presence of Most Reverend Henry J. Mansell, Archbishop of Hartford, nine priests, two deacons, the Franciscan Sisters and Brothers of the Eucharist, and 300 guests, Sister Maria David Magbanua professed perpetually vows of chastity, poverty and obedience into the hands of Mother Shaun Vergauwen, Mother General. The festive celebration of Mass was held at Holy Angels Church, South Meriden. The solemn occasion was a triple celebration, as it included also the 25th jubilee of vows of Sister Jilda Marie Chabot and Sister Judith Zoebelein.
Sister Maria David is the first woman from the Philippines to become a perpetually professed member of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist. Representing her family was Ann Bignayan of Seattle, granddaughter of Sister Maria David's foster mother, the late Aquilina de Leon. Sister is the daughter of Catalina and Marino Magbanua, Sr. of New Lucena, Iloilo.
Having met the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist while she was employed in Jerusalem, Sister Maria David, then Guida Magbanua, felt she had found her true vocation. She came to the motherhouse as a postulant and began full time studies in Connecticut in the field of health care. In the Philippines, Sister had earned a degree in Midwifery from New Lucena Community College and was a registered midwife. In May, 2010 she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health with a specialization in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention from Southern Connecticut State University. She is certified as a Health Education Specialist by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing. Sister Maria David is the Flu Clinic Coordinator for Franciscan Home Care and Hospice Care and a Personal Care Assistant for Franciscan Ever There Care. During her years of formation, she has studied theology, philosophy and Scripture at Holy Apostles College and Seminary and prior to entering the Community, she studied Hebrew for two years at the Moadon HaOleh Nathan Steinberg Center in Jerusalem.
In his homily, Archbishop Mansell highlighted elements of the lives of the three celebrating Sisters. He emphasized the gift of her Philippine culture which Sister Maria David brings to the Community and her valuable ministry in health care. He recounted the many travels and experiences of Sister Judith Zoebelein whose education is in International Studies and English as a Second Language, and who worked in Thailand as a Peace Corps volunteer prior to entering the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist. In the past 25 years, Sister Judith worked for Catholic Relief Services as a technology trainer, a mission that took her around the world to almost every continent. She was then missioned to Rome to serve in the Vatican where she inaugurated the Vatican's web site. She currently serves in the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue and teaches technology courses at two universities in Rome.
The Archbishop congratulated Sister Jilda Marie Chabot, and her parents, Robert and Lucille Chabot of Meriden, for her 25 years of vowed commitment as a woman religious. He shared events from her life as she became a registered nurse and was sent by the Community to Pocatello, Idaho, to earn a degree in nursing from Idaho State University, and then returned to work in the Meriden-Wallingford Hospital. She continues her nursing ministry in Franciscan Home Care and Hospice Care as a primary care nurse and as a Certified Wound Specialist.
A reception followed the Eucharistic celebration. Later in the evening, the Sisters' families gathered with the Franciscan Sisters and Brothers for a special dinner.