2018-05-10 / Community News

Vows taken in Old Orchard Beach

Sister Ann Theresa Boyle, RSR, struggled to find the words to describe what it was like to profess perpetual vows in the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.

“I’m overwhelmed,” she said. “I have a lot of peacefulness that I’m in the right place.”

Sister Ann made her perpetual profession on Sunday, April 15, at St. Margaret Church in Old Orchard Beach, in the presence of Sister Gabrielle Cote, superior general, and other members of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Robert P. Deeley.

“May our sister, Sister Ann, be more and more faithful to your spirit that she may give witness to the tenderness and solicitude of Jesus and of Mary. By the gift of her life, may she radiate the face of Christ Jesus until the day where she will be reunited in heaven with all the saints,” Deeley said.

During the Ritual of Religious Profession, Sister Ann declared to the bishop her desire to make her perpetual profession and to follow Christ according to the Gospel and the rule of life of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in such a way that her life becomes a manifestation of the love of God.

Sister Gabrielle then presented Sister Ann with a candle, which had been lit from the paschal candle, a symbol of Christ, the Light of the World. Holding the candle, Sister Ann professed vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, resolving to give herself to Christ with all her heart and to follow him for her entire life.

“I give myself wholeheartedly to this religious family, committing myself to live in community in order to attain, with the grace of the Holy Spirit and the help of the Virgin Mary, perfect charity in serving God and the Church,” she said.

Sister Ann, Sister Gabrielle, the bishop and other witnesses then signed the Act of Profession, after which the bishop prayed over Sister Ann with outstretched hands. He then blessed her ring, which she will wear as a sign of her fidelity to Christ.

Putting the ring on Sister Ann’s finger, Sister Gabrielle then publicly confirmed that Sister Ann “is a member of the great family of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary,” saying that “from this day forward, she lives among us. She carries out faithfully the mission confided by the church to our congregation.”

Sister Ann has been preparing for this day for years. She made her first vows in October 2012, entering religious life after a career as typographer and graphic artist. She developed a connection to the sisters after getting to know Sister Carole Jean Lappa, while working in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults program at the Church of the Holy Cross in South Portland. It led her to become a lay associate. Lay associates don’t take vows but are formally connected to a religious community and make a commitment to live in the spirit of that community’s charism.

Sister Ann said that charism and the joy of the sisters are among the reasons she felt drawn to the Sisters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary.

“I think it is their openness and acceptance, their tenderness. I love their charism: to manifest the tender and caring love of Jesus and Mary. And the joy, the joy – it’s overwhelming sometimes. Even with the older sisters, that fire still burns within them,” she said.

The Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary were founded in Rimouski, Quebec, by Blessed Elisabeth Turgeon in 1874. The sisters have served in Maine since 1899 and are also now present in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

A picture of Blessed Elisabeth Turgeon was among the gifts brought forward to the bishop for the celebration of the Liturgy of the Eucharist during the Mass, in recognition of the inspiration that Sister Ann has drawn from Blessed Elisabeth’s writings. Along with the bread and wine, other gifts included a Bible; the constitution and rule of life of the congregation; rosary beads, along with four roses to represent the four mysteries of the rosary; and a small tree, a sign of Sister Ann’s rootedness in Christ and her care for creation.

Father Michael Seavey, parochial vicar of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Windham, St. Anne Parish in Gorham, and St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Westbrook, delivered the homily, reflecting on Sister Ann’s choice of the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel’s appearance to the Blessed Mother, as the Gospel reading of the Mass, as well as on Pope Francis’ call for consecrated religious to live what the Holy Father called “the mysticism of encounter.”

“This ‘mysticism of encounter’ is the key of evangelization in our day and time. The great mystical encounter of St. Gabriel and the Blessed Mother depicts how this key opens the door allowing God’s word to take flesh in the world. This encounter of the heavenly messenger and the young woman becomes the model of discipleship for all time. The Blessed Mother’s humble yet complete response to the divine messenger models how all the baptized are called to respond to God’s call,” Seavey said. “This is the call of all the baptized. Those consecrated in religious life model this life of ‘mysticism of encounter.’ Sister Ann Boyle has a lifetime of modeling this response to God as a laywoman and as a consecrated religious. Now, in this ritual, she speaks permanence with her voice what her heart has already offered generously.”

In addition to Seavey, concelebrating the Mass with Deeley were Monsignor Rene Mathieu, pastor of Good Shepherd Parish, of which St. Margaret is a part, and Father Brad Morin, a parochial vicar of the parish. Deacon Kevin Jacques of Good Shepherd Parish assisted at the Mass.

Members of several religious congregations serving in the Diocese of Portland were among those who attended the celebration. They included Good Shepherd Sisters of Quebec, Sisters of Mercy, Sisters of the Presentation of Mary, and members of the Community of the Resurrection.

Sister Ann was also joined by family, friends and lay associates.

At the conclusion of the Mass, Sister Ann thanked them all for their continuing support and, most especially, thanked God for the blessing of her religious vocation.

“I give thanks and praise to God for giving me the grace and the courage to say yes to this call. In the words of our foundress, Blessed Elisabeth Turgeon, ‘All for you, oh, my God,’ all for your greater glory and your holy love.”

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