Rebecca LaFever named for Blessed John Francis,
Franciscan Martyr

Sister John FrancesMERIDEN, CT (07-22-2013) - Rebecca LaFever was received into the novitiate of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist on the feast of St. Mary Magdalen in the Chapel of St. John. Rebecca will be the last woman to receive her habit in this chapel as it is slated for destruction in a few days and will be replaced by a larger, new chapel.

In giving Rebecca her new name, Mother Shaun Vergauwen, Mother General, cited Rebecca's strong willingness to stand for truth and principles in the face of opposition, and as the Catholic Church meets with increased challenges in the United States, Rebecca will be a witness to standing for her faith and the teachings of the Church. Mother Shaun thus gave her the name of Sister John Frances under the patronage of Blessed John Francis Burté, a Franciscan martyr of the French Revolution. Blessed John Francis, an OFM Conventual friar, was martyred in France for refusing to back down on his Catholic principles. His feast day is celebrated by Franciscans on September 2nd.

Sister John Frances is the daughter of Kevin and Janet LaFever of Fairfax, Virginia. She is the second of three girls, Jessica being older and Cynthia, younger. She was a member of Holy Spirit Parish, Annandale, Virginia. Rebecca attended the University of Virginia where she received a B.A. degree with double majors, English and Religious Studies.

Sister John Frances met the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist during her four years of employment at the Diocese of Arlington in the IT department. Since coming to Connecticut, Sister John Frances worked at Franciscan Ever There Care, Franciscan Home Care and Hospice Care, and the Archdiocese of Hartford Pro-Life Ministry.

Sister John Frances will be a novice for two years. The novitiate is a time for the new Sister to study the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. It also affords the Sister opportunities to become more acquainted with the spirituality of the Community and to learn to serve the Community's daily needs.

Rebecca LaFever requests novitiate

Rebecca listens to Mother Shaun Vergauwen respond to her request for novitiate.


Mother Rosemae Pender blesses Sister

Mother Rosemae Pender, Mother Foundress, gives Sister John Frances her blessing.

Sister John Frances

Sister John Frances LaFever

Formation Sisters

Franciscan Sisters novices, from left, Sister Francesca Silver, Sister Marie Benedict Elliott
Sister John Frances, Sister Mary Peter Ryan, Sister Faith Marie Woolsey and Sister Mary Kolbe Heffern.

Sister Catherine Mary and Sister John Frances

Sister Catherine Mary Clarke, Postulant Director, and Sister John Frances