Women commit to Christ

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Katie Clemmer, who taught fifth grade at St. Joseph School in Herndon for the past two years, entered the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary community Sept. 8 as a postulant. This is her first year of the formation process. She lives the life of a sister, gets to know the community better and continues discerning the call to religious life. Next year, she will become a novice for two years.

She is working to eliminate her educational loans so she can be free of debt to enter the novitiate. She is fundraising with the Laboure Society.

Clemmer graduated from Atholton High School in Columbia, Md., in 2004, and earned a bachelor's from Catholic University in Washington in 2008, and a master's in special education from Providence College in Providence, R.I., in 2010. She taught for two years in Fall River, Mass.

While teaching at St. Joseph, Clemmer was a parishioner of All Saints in Manassas, where she was active in youth ministry.

Sister Mary Agatha Hester, a former parishioner of St. Anthony of Padua Mission in King George, was among 19 women who professed the simple vows of poverty, chastity and obedience as Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia in Nashville, Tenn., July 28.

Sister Mary Agatha is the daughter of retired Col. Wes Hester and Nancy Hester. She is a graduate of King George High School in King George and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she earned a bachelor's in Middle Eastern studies. She is studying at Aquinas College, Nashville, in preparation for the teaching apostolate.

The Mass of first religious profession was celebrated at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Nashville. Auxiliary Bishop Lee Piché of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, Minn., was the main celebrant. The homilist was Dominican Father Albert Trudel of the St. Joseph Province.

The Congregation of Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia was established in Nashville in 1860. The Sisters of St. Cecilia are dedicated to the apostolate of Catholic education.

Sister Sarah Ellen McGuire, a former teacher at St. James School in Falls Church, professed her perpetual vows in the Congregation of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Aug. 15 at Villa Maria House of Studies in Immaculata, Pa.

Bishop John O. Barres of Allentown, Pa., presided at the Mass, and Msgr. Joseph Marino of Philadelphia delivered the homily. Sister Lorraine McGrew, general superior, received the vows in the name of the church for the congregation.

During the rite of perpetual profession, Sister Sarah Ellen lay prostrate as the litany of the saints was sung. She then publicly professed her vows of chastity, poverty and obedience to God in the service of the Catholic Church.

Sister Sarah Ellen entered the congregation in 2004 and professed her first vows in August 2007.

During her formation period, she discerned her vocation as a postulant and then explored it more formally as a novice. The formation period includes growing in prayer, studying various college courses, participating in the community life of the sisters and serving in the mission of the congregation - "to evangelize, to catechize and to teach."

Sister Sarah Ellen attended St. Philomena Elementary School in Lansdowne, Pa. She is a 2001 graduate of Archbishop Prendergast High School in Drexel Hill, Pa., and a 2005 graduate of Immaculata University. Her brother, Father Tim McGuire, was ordained a priest in May for the Philadelphia Archdiocese. Sister Sarah Ellen taught first grade at St. James from 2007 to 2009. She currently teaches second grade at Trinity Academy in Shenandoah, Pa.

Sister Christiana Mickwee, a teacher at St. Thomas Aquinas Regional School in Woodbridge, was among nine women who made their perpetual profession of the simple vows of poverty, chastity and obedience as Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecilia in Nashville, Tenn., July 25.

Sister Christiana is the daughter of Rod and Dorothy Mickwee, parishioners of All Saints Church in Atlanta. She attended St. Jude the Apostle Elementary School and is a graduate of St. Pius X High School in Atlanta. She attended the University of Georgia where she earned a bachelor's in education.

The Mass of perpetual religious profession was celebrated at the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Nashville. Nashville Bishop David Choby was the principal celebrant, with Bishop John M. LeVoir of New Ulm, Minn., concelebrating. Concelebrants also included Father David P. Meng, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Lake Ridge. The homilist was Dominican Father Albert Trudel of the St. Joseph Province.

Sister Elizabeth Ann Sjoberg, a former parishioner of Corpus Christi Mission in South Riding and member of the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul since 2007, made vows for the first time Aug.12 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, Md.

Sister Elizabeth Ann had served in campus ministry at Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg since 2009. A native of Chantilly, Sister Elizabeth Ann is beginning graduate studies in social work at DePaul University in Chicago.

The Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, founded in 1633 by St. Vincent and St. Louise de Marillac, is a Society of Apostolic Life. The Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul are dedicated to serving the poorest and most abandoned in society. In the United States, they trace their roots to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. The vows are private, annual and always renewable.

Sister Elizabeth Ann is a member of the of U.S. province of St. Louise, which includes 540 sisters who serve in 22 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., Canada and in foreign missions on every continent except Antarctica.

Sister Tracey Catherine Uphoff, a math and chemistry teacher at Bishop O'Connell High School in Arlington, Aug. 12 renewed the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience that she made at her first profession as a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Sister Lorraine McGrew, general superior of the congregation, received the vows in the name of the congregation for the Catholic Church. The renewal of vows took place at Villa Maria House of Studies in Immaculata, Pa.

Sister Tracey Catherine graduated from Merion Mercy Academy in Merion Station, Pa., in 2003 and Immaculata University in 2007.

As part of initial formation in becoming a perpetually professed sister, a young woman enters into a process that spans eight to 10 years. Sister Tracey Catherine entered community in 2008 and professed her first vows in August 2011. She will renew these each year until she makes her perpetual profession.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2012