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Investiture of the Holy Habit of the Sister Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus Christ Sovereign Priest  

On the morning of Wednesday, October 12, 2022, after at least a year or more of discernment, many prayers and preparations, seven young women courageously and joyfully took their next intensive step in their religious vocation. Upon arrival at the Covent of St. Thomas Aquinas, in Naples, Italy, the Novitiate House for the Sister Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus Christ Sovereign Priest, the families of the future Novices began a most blessed day. Our daughter Grace, from St. Louis, Missouri was one of these young women.   

Grace Pekny grew up with the Traditional Latin Mass as her family attended the Oratory of St. Francis de Sales since the Institute of Christ the King’s arrival in 2005.  She regularly attended Mass, received many of the sacraments, participated in the choir and fundraiser galas, annual May Crownings, The Company of the Immaculate Youth Group, was taught through the catechism and co-op classes, loved to partake at the oratory festivities such as the Seminary Society Breakfasts, Kirshviefests, Summer at the Oratory gatherings and coffee hours over the years.  Lastly, Grace greatly appreciated spiritual direction and guidance from the Canons of the Institute through this oratory.  At 18 years old, Grace entered the Convent of the Sister Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus Christ Sovereign Priest as a Postulant.  As a Postulant, she moved to Germany and lived at Maria Engleport with the community of Sister Adorers.  With God’s Grace, many prayers, help from her spiritual director and superiors, she was invited to receive the veil and make a more serious and dedicated commitment to her religious life this fall. 

On that beautiful morning, as the fathers greeted their daughters, dressed in white bridal gowns, the seven young women solemnly processed from the Cloister of the Covent into their church, enrobed in glorious decoration and stunning flower arrangements. Words cannot express my thoughts and emotions as I watched my husband and oldest daughter walk arm in arm into the church followed by a fully professed Sister to guide and direct during this most poignant ceremony.  

Monsignor Michael Schmitz, Vicar General of the Institute, gave a sermon to the Novices, first in French, and then in several other languages so everyone could understand that on this day these young women were making such an important commitment in their vocation and one that, with God’s Grace, will lead many to their sanctification. 

The investiture ceremony began with the invoking of the Holy Ghost; the Veni Creator Spiritus was chanted by the community of Sisters. The future Novices knelt, made a declaration of intention, in which they state their desire to “please [God] and to do in all things according to His royal and divine Will”. The veils were removed one by one, and each young woman approached Monsignor Marco Agostini, Pontifical Master of Ceremonies, and he cut a lock of their hair to represent detachment from the world. Next, they each received their habits, and they were incensed and blessed with holy water. Each woman had the white veil placed on their head and the future Novices left the sanctuary to don their holy habits while the Sisters intoned Psalm 23 and the organ filled the church with joyous melodies. With much anticipation, the newly habited Novices processed back into the church and knelt before the altar where they were given their new names. Founder and Prior General, Monsignor Gilles Wach announced their names and then each was presented with a candle as a representation of the spiritual light of Christ. In Thanksgiving, the Magnificat was chanted.  

A Solemn High Votive Mass for St. Joseph was celebrated with the new Novices now in choir with the other Sister Adorers. After the Mass was a most festive luncheon for those in attendance, with the Superiors, hosted by the Sisters, at the Convent. The remaining afternoon was restful with time for the Novices to visit with their families, as well as a dinner to conclude the evening.  

Words cannot further describe this most moving day that touched my husband and I profoundly. We will let the pictures speak for themselves and we pray daily and fervently for a continuation of religious vocations to thrive around our world for many generations to come. Our daughter, now Sr. Agnes-Marie of the Mother of Sorrows, resides again at the Maria Engleport Convent with her community of Sisters: her home and her life dedicated to God.  Deo Gratias!

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