SMA Teacher Sister Agnes to Profess Perpetual Vows

Sister Agnes, a teacher at Stella Maris Academy, will celebrate the profession of her perpetual vows as a Sister of the Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus on Friday, June 28. The ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New Ulm, MN.

During the Profession Mass, Sr. Agnes will make perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

“The vows are the way we make a total gift of ourselves to the Lord,” said Sr. Mary Joseph, the local superior for the Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus.

Religious Sisters proclaim their perpetual vows eight years after entering a convent. During those years, they learn from their older Sisters, grow spiritually, teach and serve. The first three years are a time of initial formation. After that, they profess temporary vows for three years and then renew them for two more years. Lastly, they make a lifelong commitment to the community and the Lord through perpetual vows.

“The biggest [change after the vows] is the stability of being a perpetually professed member, so it's being in that committed relationship forever,” Sr. Agnes said. “The community receives one more member in that stable role.”

The vows are similar to the ones husband and wife make, Sr. Agnes explained, but do not end at death.

“It’s a great gift that the Lord has asked of me that I would give myself to him and he would give himself to me not only for our time on Earth but for eternity,” she said.

At the ceremony, Sr. Agnes will profess her vows hand-in-hand with her superior Mother Mary Clare, then receive a ring to symbolize her commitment to Jesus Christ. She will also receive a crucifix and Bishop John LeVoir will place a crown of roses on her head.

“It’s a beautiful Mass,” Sr. Agnes said.

Sr. Mary Joseph said the best way Stella Maris Academy can support Sr. Agnes on the day of the ceremony is through special prayer.

Stella Maris has been blessed to have Sr. Agnes, as well as Sr. Mary Elizabeth of the Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus, teaching religion and Latin studies at the St. James campus since the beginning of this school year.

Julianne Blazevic, principal at the St. James campus, emphasized the importance of having the Sisters in the school.

“All of our schools used to be filled with Religious. Now when the students see a Sister, they’re just awe struck,” Blazevic said. “The history of our schools here were founded on the Sisters, so to have none and then have a few come back… I can’t reiterate how important they are and how blessed we are to have them.”

Blazivic sees the Sisters’ impact in the classroom as well. “The Sisters definitely have a different perspective and are able to share that with the students in a whole different way because they’ve given their lives completely to God as a vocation,” she said.

The Sisters feel similarly appreciative about their time in Duluth.

“It’s been a beautiful gift to be here and to be welcomed into the diocesan family,” Sr. Agnes said. “It’s been a gift to be received into that and to have this place where Christ is loved and taught.”

“There’s just so many good people in Duluth and we’ve felt very welcome and very loved,” Sr. Mary Joseph added.

Father Richard Kunst, the pastor at St. James Catholic Church, believes that Sr. Agnes giving her perpetual vows will only benefit SMA.

“[The Sisters] presence in the school is incredible and for Sr. Agnes to take that next step in her religious life is going to further positively impact the children and school community,” he said.

All are welcome to the ceremony in which Sr. Agnes will profess her perpetual vows. There will be a potluck to follow. For more information about the Handmaids of the Heart of Jesus, visit handmaidsoftheheartofjesus.com.