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Vallombrosa 300x100 12.2017

Carmelite sister makes final vows on feast of Immaculate Conception

02 Sister Immaculate 1 PAGECarmelite Sister Immaculate of Divine Providence and St. Therese is embraced by children from the local community near the Carmel of the Mother of God monastery in Marinwood after making her final vows on Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception.  (Photo by Christina Gray/Catholic San Francisco)

December 14, 2017
Christina Gray

Almost 100 people packed the chapel, hallways and vestibule of Mother of God Monastery in San Rafael on Dec. 8, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, to bear witness to the solemn profession of vows and veiling of Carmelite Sister Immaculate of Divine Providence and St. Therese.

Sister Immaculate, 34, was born Emmaculate Anyango Ager in Kenya. She entered a Carmelite monastery as a novitiate in Nairobi but came to Mother of God Monastery in Marin County in 2013. She is one of seven cloistered, contemplative Carmelite sisters living in the suburban monastery built by Archbishop Joseph T. McGucken in 1965.

San Jose Bishop P.J. McGrath was principal celebrant of the liturgy and was joined on the altar in the monastery’s compact chapel by 10 priests including Father Brian Costello, pastor of Our Lady of Loretto Parish in Novato, and others from Carmelite, Jesuit and Dominican orders. Sister Immaculate’s mother and aunt, who traveled from Kenya, also participated.

In his homily, the bishop said that Sister Immaculate, like Mary before her, responded “yes” of her own free will to God’s call.

“Mary was asked to put her freedom, her whole person” at the service of God’s plan,” Bishop McGrath said. The difference between us and Mary is not that Mary was chosen and that we are not, he said, but rather that she fully responded to her role “while some of us remain half-hearted about what God has called us to,” he said.

He said that in that special way God chose Sister Immaculate of Divine Providence to live a life of divine love. “And like Mary you have responded whole heartedly to that call,” he said.

Bishop McGrath blessed a black veil after the profession of final vows and handed it to Sister Immaculate, asking her to “receive this veil as a sign of your consecration, and keep unbroken faith with your heavenly spouse. It proclaims that you belong entirely to Christ and to his mystical body, the church.”

God has chosen all of us, though, the bishop reminded the congregation, and “has a role for every single one of us.”

“Like Mary, we are challenged to say yes,” he said. “Let’s think about it.”

The Mother of God Monastery in San Rafael, according to its website, was founded as an extension of the Carmelite Monastery at Carmel-by-the-Sea to respond to Our Lady of Fatima’s message about praying for the conversion of sinners and for the Russian people.

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