Two novices profess first vows as Holy Week begins

SIster Marie Benedict and Sister Francesa

MERIDEN, CT (03-28-2015) - Sister Marie Benedict Elliott and Sister Francesca Silver professed vows of poverty, chastity and obedience on the Saturday before Palm Sunday, which the Franciscan Sisters traditionally call "Commitment Saturday." As preparation for the days of Holy Week, the Community commemorates Christ's commitment to enter into the Passion.

Sister Marie Benedict Elliott makes vows
Sister Marie Benedict listens to the words of Mother Shaun after professing her vows. Sister Mary Anne Linder and Sister Kieran Foley stand as witnesses of the ceremony.

Sister Marie Benedict, named after Pope Benedict XVI and Sister Francesca, named after Pope Francis two years ago, completed their novitiate and were approved by Mother Shaun Vergauwen, Mother General, and the General Council for vows. The ceremony took place during the Community Mass in the Chapel of St. John. Novices spend the first year of novitiate as a "canonical" year, prescribed by Canon Law as a year of intense study and formation on the vows and community life. The second year is spent working in a Community program or in an external apostolate. Sister Francesca worked for Franciscan Home Care and Hospice Care visiting elderly persons in the Meriden-Wallingford area to discover their needs and connect them to services available in the community. She also works part-time in a Montessori school in Enfield, Connecticut. Sister Marie Benedict was assigned to full-time study at Holy Apostles College and Seminary to pursue a Masters degree in theology. She has submitted her thesis to the readers and hopes to graduate in May.

Sister Francesca Silver professes vows.
Sister Francesca Silver professes first vows into the hands of Mother Shaun Vergauwen, Mother General. Brother Leo Maneri, FBE assists with the microphone and Sister Jilda Marie Chabot and Sister Catherine Mary Clarke stand as witnesses.
Sister Marie Benedict
Mother Miriam prepares to clothe Sister Marie Benedict with a new cincture of three knots symbolizing the three vows as Mother Shaun holds the cinctures.
Sister Francesa receives cincture
Mother Miriam wraps a new cincture around Sister Francesca's waist. In likeness to St. Francis of Assisi, Franciscans wear a cincture or rope instead of a belt.
Newly vowed Sisters.
Having professed vows, the Sisters now wear a cross of nails. the insignia of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist.