SAGINAW— Three women professed their Perpetual Vows as Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma on Tuesday, Aug. 16, during Mass at the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption in Saginaw. In the Rite of Religious Profession, Sister Mariana Koonce, Sister Rose Marie Timmer and Sister Mary Thoma Houseal publicly requested to make their perpetual profession, were examined by Superior General Mother Mary McGreevy and prostrated themselves before the altar during the Litany of the Saints. Following the Litany, each Sister knelt before Mother Mary McGreevy to profess her Vows; after the Superior General accepted them, she and the Sister approached the altar to sign the vow formula.
Their Act of Religious Profession includes perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and the service of the poor, sick and ignorant, and to persevere faithfully until death in the Institute of the Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma.
The Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, then prayed the Solemn Prayer of Consecration over the newly-professed Sisters. Afterward, each of the newly professed sisters knelt before the Superior General as she placed a ring, signifying their Religious Profession, on their left ring finger.
Bishop Cistone was joined by His Eminence Justin Cardinal Rigali, Archbishop Emeritas of Philadelphia. Concelebrants included the Most Rev. Carl F. Mengeling, Bishop Emeritus of Lansing; the Most Rev. Richard F. Stika, Bishop of Knoxville, Tenn.; the Most Rev. John M. Quinn, Bishop of Winona, Minn.; the Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmstead, Bishop of Phoenix, Ariz., the Rev. David Koonce, LC, brother of Sister Mariana, the Rev. Brian Van Hove, SJ, Chaplain for the Religious Sisters of Mercy, the Rev. Andrew Booms, rector of the Cathedral and Vocation Director for the Diocese of Saginaw, and a number of priests from the Diocese of Saginaw.
Deacon Sean K. Smith, Chancellor, Diocese of Knoxville, Tenn., where Sister Mariana serves, and Deacon Maximilian Nightengale, transitional deacon, Diocese of Kalamazoo, Sister Mary Thoma's cousin assisted with the celebration of the Word and the Eucharist. Two diocesan seminarians, Jason Payne and Matthew Gembrowski served.
The Religious Sisters of Mercy, with its Motherhouse located in Alma, Mich., is a Religious Institute of Pontifical Right dedicated to the Spiritual and Corporal works of Mercy. Established in 1973 in response to the renewal called for in the Second Vatican Council, the Institute recognizes Venerable Catherine McAuley as its original foundress.
To learn more about the Religious Sisters of Mercy of Alma, please visit www.rsmofalma.org