Proud family watches sister’s first steps
Gregory Marcantel says about his daughter’s investiture day: “The emotion of that parting was very intense, ” with “love, pride, and more than a little sorrow.” It was hard for him that Angelique—a CPA—would not be joining his accounting practice as he had dreamed.
"The first step is the hardest of all,” so the saying goes. And many times that sentiment rings true for men and women considering religious life. Taking the plunge can be difficult, for them and for their families, who know their relationship with their loved ones won’t ever be the same.
A few years ago the close-knit Marcantel family of Jennings, Louisiana gave its blessing to Angelique Joy as she began her entrance into the Servidoras community (Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará), but it was not easy.
First came the “investiture ceremony,” whereby Angelique donned a habit and took the name Sister Marie Protectrice de la Foi (French for Mary Protector of the Faith). That ceremony started a several-year formation process. Four months after investiture, Sister Marie Protectrice de la Foi took her first vows, which kicked off her novice year, during which she studied philosophy, liturgy, her community’s spirituality, church history, and other topics. Now a sister in temporary vows, she is stationed in Tanzania, East Africa, where she ministers in a school and medical clinic run by her community.
Her brother, Noel Marcantel, photographed Sister Marie Protectrice de la Foi’s investiture and first vows—capturing on film her feelings about her missionary calling. She describes the two events: “My emotions were those of immense peace and a very profound joy, not just happiness, but true joy. If freedom can be described as an emotion, it was that—the freedom that comes from having given Christ one’s whole self.”
She speaks to the realistic challenges as well: “I can attest that it is not easy to keep your focus on Christ when you are surrounded by so many distractions, and so, to persevere in the religious life is a gift from God. We continue to beg this gift from him every single day and to thank him regularly for our perseverance.”
Related articles: VocationNetwork.org, “Desert nuns find an oasis in sisterhood.”
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