MERIDEN, CT (04-23-2017) – On Divine Mercy Sunday, the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist welcomed two lay women as life-committed Franciscan Apprentices. Mrs. Christine Bee of Wallingford, Connecticut and Mrs. Georgeann “Gae” Savino of Ossining, New York professed their life commitments after the homily during the Sunday Mass. Mother Shaun Vergauwen, Mother General, presented them with the Apprentice manual, medal and a name. She, Mother Miriam Seiferman and Reverend Christopher Tiano, celebrant, offered them blessings followed by the community of Sisters and Brothers singing the Blessing of St. Francis.
Mother Shaun gave Christine Bee the name “Mariam” who was one of the first two Palestinian saints, to honor Christine’s love of the Holy Land. Gae Savino received the name “Mercy” in light of her work and dedication to counseling bereaved persons. The Franciscan Apprentices who were present renewed their life commitments to live Franciscan spirituality as lay men and women through their dedication to uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church in their personal and family lives and their professional involvement in the secular arena.
The Mass ended with a festive Easter hymn accompanied by an ensemble of flutes, French horns, organ, cello and clarinet played by Sisters in formation. Following the Mass, all enjoyed a luncheon on the Chiara Center patio and the San Damiano Room.
Friends and families of the new Apprentices joined in the celebration, including the adult children of Mrs. Bee and her husband John, from the Washington D.C. area, and 30 persons from Ossining who came by private bus for the occasion. Of special note for Mrs. Savino, her husband, Dr. John Savino and her mother, Mrs. Bette Hoffman, was the consecration of a chalice and paten donated by the family in memory of Gae’s father, George Hoffman, who recently died in Florida.
The Franciscan Apprenticeship program, sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, is for men and women who desire to live Franciscan spirituality and participate in the Franciscan mission to “rebuild the Church” of our day, in the spirit of St. Francis and St. Clare.