Sister Maria David Magbanua professes perpetual vows
Sister Jilda Marie Chabot & Sister Judith Zoebelein celebrate 25th jubilees

Sister Maria David Magbanua

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 MagbanuaSister 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.

Ann Bignayan represented Sister Maria David's familial heritage as they walked together in the entrance procession. At the front of the church, Ann presents Sister Maria David to Mother Shaun Vergauwen, Mother General, a symbolic gesture of Sister's familial and cultural heritage now being given over to full incorporation into her new family, the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist.

Archbishop Henry J. MansellIn 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.

Sister Judith Zoebelein
Sister Judith Zoebelein renews her vows of chastity, poverty and obedience into the hands of Mother Shaun Vergauwen.
Sister Jilda Marie Chabot
Sister Jilda Marie Chabot renews her vows after which the professed Sisters all renewed their vows.
Holding the microphone is Brother Leo Maneri, F.B.E., who served as Master of Ceremonies with Reverend Jeffrey Romans.

(Above) "Questions by the Church" is part of the ceremony of perpetual vows. In the name of the Church, Archbishop Mansell asks Sister Maria David to express her intentions and her willingness to persevere in her commitment.
(Right) Archbishop Mansell places a ring on Sister Maria David's finger as a sign of her spousal commitment to Christ and the Church through her vows.

From left, Mother Shaun Vergauwen, Mother General; Sister Maria David Magbanua; Mother Rosemae Pender, Mother Foundress; Archbishop Henry J. Mansell, Sister Judith Zoebelein, Sister Jilda Marie Chabot; and Mother Miriam Seiferman, Vicar General.
From left, Reverend Lawrence Symolon, Reverend John Blackall, Reverend Joseph V. McCabe, M.M., Deacon Richard Santos, Archbishop Mansell, Deacon Donald Philip, Very Reverend Douglas Mosey, C.S.B., Reverend Gregory Galvin, Monsignor James P. Cassidy, Reverend Robert Blyman (behind Monsignor Cassidy) and Reverend Raymond Borkowski, O.F.M., Conv.
Sister Maria David's sister in the Philippines sent small candy baskets for the tables at the reception.
Tables set for the reception at the Reverend Roland LaPlante Hall at Holy Angels Parish. The floral centerpieces featured blue hydrangeas, white roses and and white stars of Bethlehem. The stars of Bethlehem were chosen in honor of the season and of Sister Maria David's discovering her Franciscan vocation in the Holy Land.