Professions

 

Sister Elizabeth Ann McGill, IHM

September 26, 2021

On Sunday, September 26, 2021, Sister Elizabeth Ann McGill professed temporary vows of chastity, poverty and obedience in Our Lady of Lourdes Chapel in the presence of family, friends, IHM sisters and women religious of various congregations. At the beginning of the Eucharistic celebration, Sister Ellen Maroney, President of the IHM Congregation, warmly greeted Sister Liz’s guests. She spoke of the community’s joy at welcoming into the IHM Congregation a new member who comes with such an incredible energy and passion for religious life.


Sister Ellen Maroney's Welcome

Good afternoon, Everyone.  On behalf of all the Sisters of I.H.M., I am delighted to welcome all of you to our IHM Center home on this very special afternoon.   We gather in this beautiful chapel in gratitude and thanksgiving to God for the gift of Sister Elizabeth Ann McGill in all of our lives and in the life of our congregation.  Her first profession today brings together in a new relationship family, friends, and community, those who have loved Liz into this moment and who share the significance and joy of her commitment.  A special welcome to Liz’s parents, Helen and Richard, her brother, Terry, and niece, Kate, who are here with us today and to her other family members and friends, and all our sisters and associates who join us via live stream. 

As we look around this chapel, we see a composite of Liz’s life:  family, her many friends, mentors, co-workers, and sisters who have shared her journey to this moment.   We are especially delighted to welcome Sister Janet Mock, a Sister of St. Joseph of Baden, who will give the gospel reflection shortly, Sister Maria McCoy, SSJ, who is Liz’s spiritual director, and Father Terry Odien, our presider.  We’re also happy to welcome Sister Barb Giehl, a Sister of Mercy who was part of the Intercongregational Formation Program with Liz, and several of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Chestnut Hill who made the thirty day retreat this summer with Liz.  I understand they gave themselves a nickname:  the “Party of 2021.”  Now I know my thirty day retreat in preparation for vows was not a party, so, in case you’re wondering, no, I did not ask where or when the party was!  Maybe I will after the ceremony.  

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Father Terry Odien

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I want to take a moment to thank those women and men who have shared life and ministry with Liz and whose example of love, faith, and service have given her the courage to follow her heart’s desires.  We give gratitude to her parents and her family who first nurtured your growth in God’s love for all and we thank all those whose lives have intertwined with yours, Liz, as you journeyed to this moment.  I want to give special thanks to the sisters who have lived and ministered with Liz during these past few years and have helped shape her life as a woman religious, especially the sisters in “The house on Capouse,” Annunciation Community, and Spirit of Hope Convent here in Scranton, Queen of Apostles Convent in St. Petersburg, and our community in Sicuani, Peru, and those at our sponsored works of Friends of the Poor, St. Joseph’s Center, and Marywood University, where Liz currently serves.  All of these have mentored, modeled religious life, and inspired Liz to continue in her quest.  We owe special gratitude to Sister Mindy, our director of Vocations, and Sister Mary Elaine who, as director of candidates and novices, has walked (and sometimes run) with Liz during this time of seeking and stretching, challenges and understanding, leading and letting go.  As we see today, both made it safely through!

So today, we all celebrate the commitment of this woman whose passion for the consecrated life has led her on a journey from Elmira, New York to Scranton, to California and New York, and back again to Scranton and Marywood University and finally here to the IHM congregation.  But it is her journey of deep inner self-discovery and grace that has led her to this day, this moment, and for which we are filled with joy and gratitude:  gratitude, Liz, for your trust in God when our world seems enveloped in uncertainty and darkness; for your commitment to join with your sisters to embrace a life of radical interdependence in order to bring about God’s dream for this beautiful, yet wounded world; for your willingness to steep yourself in prayer and contemplation of the God who loves you and sustains you always; and gratitude to our God who has called you, nurtured you, and patiently waited for your “Yes” with a love beyond all measure.  Today, you witness, not to the glitz and glamour of passing fame or fortune or to superficial relationships, but to an authentic, honest, and deep vision of love and service for the good of all, especially the most vulnerable in our world.  Your willingness to search for beauty, goodness, and truth and to gently help others find their own inner, true selves is a clear sign of the depth of God’s grace working in and through you.  Your journey forward will not always be easy, but it will lead you into your deepest, authentic self, where God’s love and strength will sustain you through the workings of the Spirit.

Liz, in your letter asking to be professed, you expressed your awareness that religious life is undergoing a transformation even as you seek to embrace that reality.  You chose, as the words on the cover of your ceremony booklet say, to “risk everything for God’s dream.”  We celebrate today your courage and commitment to that dream.  You have been inspired to take this step today, and in so doing, you challenge and inspire all of us to reignite our own call to fidelity, authenticity, love, and service. Let us all embrace the words of Sister Doris Klein: “To risk the journey and face the future is simply to walk in faith . . . clothed in grace and showered with blessings . . .escorted into tomorrow by Love, who gives us everything we need.”

 Liz, may you be blessed specially by the God who loves you and always waits for and with you.  And so let us begin our celebration!


Profession of Vows Liturgy: https://video.ibm.com/recorded/130955167

Sister Elizabeth McGill's Response

Sister Mary Elaine Anderson's Affirmation of Readiness

Sister Janet Mock, CSJ - Homily

Sister Mary Persico's Prayer Before Dinner

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