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HomeLocalDenver's own Sister Mercy Marie makes solemn profession as Sister of Life

Denver’s own Sister Mercy Marie makes solemn profession as Sister of Life

“Are not our hearts burning within us with love and bursting with joy to witness the profession of these seven sisters?” asked Mother Mary Concepta, SV, the new Superior General of the Sisters of Life, at the conclusion of the Profession of Final Vows at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. Many hearts in Denver, too, were burning with love and bursting with joy as Sister Mercy Marie, SV, a daughter of Denver, gave her yes to the Lord Jesus’ call for the rest of her life.

“There’s a deep, deep joy,” Sister Mercy told the Denver Catholic leading up to her final vows. “I feel very humbled and a little amazed at his choice, but also joy that it is his choice.”

A long and winding road, Sister Mercy found herself brought closer and closer to the heart of Christ, which journey led her to the marble floor of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where she prostrated herself in humble offering last Saturday morning.

Watch Sister Mercy Marie, SV make her final vows below!

Through her humble yes, the Lord Jesus promises to transform her and her fellow sisters, Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, told the thousands gathered, reminding them of God’s penchant for changing and transforming people, things and situations.

“He’s the Lord of surprises, like an August snowfall,” Cardinal Dolan said, referencing the miracle of snow on the Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of Mary Major in Rome, a feast which has been nicknamed “Our Lady of the Snows” for this very reason. “He’s a God of transformation. He’s a Lord of Transfiguration, as we’ll celebrate tomorrow. He changed a blistering, sweltering Roman August afternoon into a winter wonderland. He changed chaos into order at Creation. He transformed a wandering tribe into his chosen people. He changed, as we just heard in the Annunciation in the Gospel, he changed a virgin named Mary into the mother of his son. And his son, at his first miracle, at the request of his mother, changed water into wine.”

But he doesn’t stop there. God continues his transformative work through history, turning sinners into saints, the possessed into the liberated, the paralyzed into the dancing, storm winds into gentle breezes, and “the most dramatic of all, death on a cross into radiant, risen new life.”

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Most of all, Cardinal Dolan told the seven sisters professing final vows, God will transform each of them. “He’ll change you to his brides, commissioning you to be a sister to us all and to change the culture of death into the culture of life. You seven are, in the words of Isaiah the prophet we heard this morning, the darlings he’s chosen — his words, not mine — who now proclaim, again in the prophet’s words this morning, ‘I belong to the Lord.’ He is your Alpha and Omega, as the book of Revelation records.”

“So, you know what,” the Cardinal concluded, “it’s snowing on this fifth of August on Fifth Avenue. A gentle snow that waters and refreshes and brightens the world, through your consecration. Now, please, get ready to welcome God’s transformation through your consecration.”

Indeed, the “yeses” professed last Saturday filled St. Patrick’s Cathedral and our local Denver community with an air of joyful renewal, refreshing transformation and bright hope. As these seven women now live poverty, chastity and obedience for the rest of their lives, they also devote themselves to protecting and enhancing the sacredness of human life in an age in which life is disrespected and degraded. The joyful, sacrificial, countercultural witness of these seven sisters alongside their numerous confreres continues to confound the world.

“He is worthy,” Sister Mercy shared as she reflected on her vocation and final vows. “I think we dedicate our time and energies to so many things and God is worthy of our whole hearts and he calls. It’s so important because he knows what we really need. I think religious life in a particular way contributes to the sanctification of the world by following in his footsteps and choosing to unite radically to the ways in which he showed us in his life: poverty, chastity, obedience, to adhere radically to the Father’s will, to suffer with. I think the more we are in a culture that’s consumed with the self, selfishness and self-pleasure, the more radically a life totally given radiates a freedom that each heart is made for.”

For those seeking to radically follow the Lord’s will for their lives, Sister Mercy recommends openness to him. “Open wide the doors of your heart to Christ! He has a perfect plan for our life, and we don’t have to be afraid of it,” she shared. “He’s speaking it in our reality. I think that’s why I love that I found the Sisters of Life on Facebook. I was just going about life and he broke through. So this openness to God in my reality and then giving him space to speak, because he is speaking! So maybe more giving ourselves space to hear him. For me, that time in silent prayer changed everything. We’re so busy and distracted by the things around us, and even distracted by good works. That was part of my story, too, but to let my real heart be caught up in him, to waste time with him, to let my real heart speak to the real Jesus.”

Mother Mary Concepta summed it up well as she spoke a word of gratitude to the newly professed sisters at the conclusion of Mass. “Thank you for your faith, love and perseverance, and for your great courage and trust that has impelled you to place your lives into the hands of the God who loves you. In him, our hopes will never be disappointed. Blessed are you who believe that what the Lord has promised to you will be fulfilled. Thank you for your ‘yes!’”

André Escaleira, Jr.
André Escaleira, Jr.
André Escaleira is the Managing Editor of the Denver Catholic and El Pueblo Católico. Originally from Connecticut, André moved to Denver in 2018 to work as a missionary with Christ in the City, where he served for two years.
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