ALTON, Ill. — On Aug. 15, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, at St. Mary Parish ihere, seven former students of Benedictine College in Atchison took their final vows as Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George. The Sisters took their final vows at St. Mary’s in a ceremony presided over by Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield, Ill.
“It was a beautiful way to share the consecration and covenant with my family and friends present and to show them how much it means to me. It was a day overwhelmed with grace that was indescribable,” said Sister Mary George Brown, class of 2005. “I turned my heart over to the One who created it forever.”
Thirteen Sisters in total made their final vows. This is the final step in a long process. The Sisters have been in the convent for eight to 10 years: three years of initial formation and the rest in temporary profession.
“Through final profession of vows, the young Sister hands over her life to God ‘forever’ within our community,” the Sisters’ website explains. “She receives a ring as the sign of her commitment to Jesus.”
Seven of the Sisters have attended Benedictine College. According to Frank Kessler, a Benedictine College professor who attended the service, the group sang the Raven Fight Song after the ceremony.
“Not all of them graduated from the school, but they are all Ravens,” said vocations director Sister M. Consolata, FSGM.
The seven professed were: Sister M. Catherine Welter, ’07; Sister Mary George Brown, ’05; Sister M. Vianney Ebben, ’08; Sister M. Christiana Lanuzga, ’11; Sister M. Clementia Toalson; Sister Mary Jude Marsella; and Sister Mary David Tappan.
In his homily, Bishop Paprocki told the Sisters not to be satisfied with being good, but to be great, which means to be holy, to be a saint.
Four bishops, along with Cardinal Justin Rigali, concelebrated, along with dozens of priests.