Sister Maria Serra Garcia professes perpetual vows

MERIDEN, CT (07-31-2011) - Sister Maria Serra Garcia professed perpetual vows of chastity, poverty and obedience into the hands of Mother Shaun Vergauwen, Mother General, at a solemn Mass at St. Rose Church, Meriden, on July 31, 2011. Her parents, David and Teresa Garcia of Silver City, New Mexico, and her brother, Mark Garcia and his wife, Gail, from Minneapolis, attended the ceremony. Several of Sister Maria Serra's friends from Washington, DC, Michigan, and Connecticut joined the Franciscan Sisters and Brothers of the Eucharist in the celebration.

Sister Maria Serra Garcia pronounces her perpetual vows into the hands of Mother Shaun Vergauwen, Mother General, as Sister Sarah Doser (left) and Sister Mary Richards stand as witnesses, and Brother Leo Maneri holds the microphone.

The Very Reverend Douglas Mosey, CSB was the principal celebrant of the Mass. Concelebrants included Very Reverend Christopher Mahar of Providence, RI; Reverend Jack Hoak, OFM and Reverend Isaac Calicchio, OFM of St. Rose Parish; Reverend John Williams, Pastor of Church of the Epiphany, Cheshire, CT; and Reverend Greg Galvin of the Diocese of Norwich. Deacon Donald Philip of Springfield, MA proclaimed the Gospel. Brother Leo Maneri, FBE served as Master of Ceremonies, and Ricky Tomei, Paul Petrowski and Noah Corey were acolytes. Brother Rufino Grealy led the procession as cross bearer. The Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist and The Canticle Singers provided festive music for the liturgy, incorporating two original compositions by Sister Maria Serra.

Sister Maria Serra with her parents, David and Teresa Garcia awaiting the procession at the beginning of the Mass.
Following the entrance procession, Sister Maria Serra's parents, Teresa and David Garcia, in turn, blessed Sister and then presented her to Mother Shaun Vergauwen, a symbolic gesture of Sister's family heritage now being given over to full incorporation into her new family, the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist.

During her youth, Sister Maria Serra moved with her family to Colorado, Georgia, Florida and other states, but claims Texas as her home state, having lived there for 15 years. After graduating from Lubbock High School, she studied business management with a focus on labor relations at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, and also worked as a certified optician. In 1991 she moved to Washington, DC and graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in general business management in 1993. Sister (then known as Renee) was employed by the Archdiocese of Washington, DC, Office of Religious Education. While in the DC area, she met the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist. During her formation years, Sister completed her MBA degree at Southern Connecticut State University. From 2008 to 2010, as a member of the Lowell, Michigan, center, Sister Maria Serra served as assistant comptroller for the Diocese of Grand Rapids. She is currently on the staff of the finance office of Franciscan Home Care and Hospice Care.

The Very Reverend Douglas Mosey, CSB, as a representative of the Church, places a ring on Sister Maria Serra's finger, a sign of her perpetual spousal relationship to Christ and the Church. Deacon Donald Philip, a long time friend of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, assists Father Mosey.
Sister Maria Serra's special devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe was expressed in a framed image of Our Lady in front of the altar.