Two local women enter religious life

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The Benedictine Sisters of Virginia in Bristow welcome a new postulant as a graduate of Christendom College in Front Royal takes her solemn vows with the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Florence in Italy.

The Benedictine Sisters accepted Kay Fitzgerald of Atlanta, as a postulant Labor Day weekend. Following a 1,500-year-old tradition, Fitzgerald knocked on the door of St. Benedict Monastery in Bristow and was received by Prioress Sister Cecilia Dwyer and the monastic community. As a postulant, Fitzgerald will be directed by Sister Glenna Smith and will serve at the BEACON Adult Literacy Program.

The Benedictine Sisters also welcomed two volunteers from the Benedictine Women’s Service Corps. Bethany Purkapile of Portland, Ore., and Mone’Kai (Mo) Shannon-Thornton of Kansas City, Mo., will live and work with the sisters for 10 months. Both are graduates of the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minn. Their service will include work at both BEACON and the Transitional Housing BARN.

The Benedictine Order was founded in the sixth century by St. Benedict of Nursia. The Benedictine Sisters of Virginia have ministered in the Richmond and Arlington Dioceses since 1868. There are currently three women in the initial stages of formation at St. Benedict Monastery. To find out more, contact Benedictine Sister Joanna Burley, director of mission integration and communication, at 571/422-3525.

In Florence, Italy, Madre Thérèse Elizabeth Dodge (RSCJ) took her solemn vows with the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Florence Sept. 2. A 2002 graduate of Seton High School in Manassas, she was a member of St. Andrew the Apostle Church in Clifton. In 2006, she earned a bachelor’s from Christendom College in Front Royal where she majored in political science and economics, and minored in theology.

In fall 2004, she participated in the Semester in Rome program and learned about the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Florence. A member of the order and then-Christendom chaplain, Madre Mary Taylor, (whose brother, Michael Taylor, is a priest in the Arlington Diocese) served as an Italian language instructor for the program. Christendom students stayed at the convent during their visits to Florence.

With encouragement from Madre Mary Taylor, Father Anthony Mastroeni and Msgr. (now Bishop) James D. Conley, Madre Thérèse began discerning a religious vocation.

Following graduation, she was offered a position as dorm mother for boarding students at the Istituto del Sacro Cuore,the school operated by the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Florence.

By January 2007, she felt the "call" and asked permission to join the order. She became a postulant in February 2007.

The Society of the Sacred Heart was founded in Paris in 1800 by St. Madeleine Sophie Barat as a contemplative order dedicated to the education of youths. According to the order, their charism is to glorify the Heart of Jesus, the Love of God made visible in the Incarnate Word, by means of the sanctification of themselves and others. To learn more, go to FriendsOfTheSacredHeart.org.

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016