Sister Mary Immaculata professes final vows on Divine Mercy Sunday
CHARLOTTE — Divine Mercy Sunday took on new meaning for Sister Mary Immaculata of the Divine Shepherd as she made her final profession of vows before her abbess, Mother Dolores Marie, and Bishop Peter J. Jugis of the Diocese of Charlotte at St. Ann Church in Charlotte on April 15.
She is the latest young woman to take her final, or solemn, vows with the community of Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration, St. Joseph Monastery in Charlotte. The community of cloistered nuns moved to the Charlotte diocese in 2010 from Ohio, and are part of the religious community led by Mother Angelica, founder of the Eternal Word Television Network based in Hanceville, Ala. The cloistered community prays unceasingly before the Most Blessed Sacrament, to support the growth of faith in the diocese as well as to help support priestly and religious vocations.
Sister Mary Immaculata, 27, whose name before she entered religious life with the Poor Clares was Viergenie Fleurinord, was born in Haiti. She and her parents, Fleujihomme and Leranie, moved to Florida with four of her five siblings when she was 16 – quickly learning English as they only spoke French when they first arrived in the U.S.
Their new church home became Divine Mercy Catholic Church in the Orlando area, so when Sister Mary Immaculata made her final profession of vows, kneeling in the sanctuary near the image of the Divine Mercy, under the statue of St. Clare of Assisi, it was a very powerful moment for her and all those who have witnessed her religious vocation blossom.
Pictured: Sister Mary Immaculata is laying prostrate while the pall is put over her. The congregation then sang the Litany of Saints during that portion of the profession ceremony. (Photos by SueAnn Howell, Catholic News Herald)
Besides her family, more than 20 women of Divine Mercy Parish traveled from Florida to attend the Mass, donning their traditional red and white Divine Mercy best to mark the feast of the Divine Mercy and Sister Mary Immaculata's vows.
"Making my solemn vows is the fulfillment of my heart's desire and a new beginning of the full living out my calling," Sister Mary Immaculata said. "It is my response to God's love and grace and I make them for his greater glory. God is the one who first calls us and gives us the grace that we need to do what He asks of us. I have waited long for this day to come – when I could give myself to God totally and be entirely His through final profession."
Several members of the Franciscan Friars of the Eternal Word in Alabama also traveled to Charlotte for the occasion. Priests, religious and laity from across the Charlotte diocese filled the church for Mass and attended the reception to show their support for Sister Mary Immaculata and the Poor Clares' community.
"My heart was full of joy as I pronounced these words from the vow formula, '"...I vow to God into your hands Reverend Mother to live my whole life in obedience, without property, and in chastity,"' said Sister Mary Immaculata.
"As a servant and handmaid of the Lord, and like Mary, I trusted that He who had called me to this vocation and brought me to this day will also bring to fulfillment what He has begun in me. What a joy and a grace!"
— SueAnn Howell, staff writer
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