Proud family watches sister’s first steps

By Carol Schuck Scheiber. Photos by Noel Marcantel.

Starting life as a Catholic sister is a big change: for the newly minted sister and her family too! When Angelique Joy Marcantel entered religious life, her family saw her off with a mix of emotions and camera in hand.

Gregory Marcantel with his daughter on her investiture day.

To best view the content on this page, please rotate your device to the Landscape (horizontal) position.

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.”

Sister Marie Protectrice de la Foi sits with another postulant who is about to take first vows.
Sister Marie Protectrice de la Foi sits with another postulant who is about to take first vows.
Mother Mary of the Sacred Heart Gaes presents a permanent veil, which is blue, and a decorative crown of flowers.
Mother Mary of the Sacred Heart Gaes presents a permanent veil, which is blue, and a decorative crown of flowers. 
A fellow sister reflects on the day of her first vows.
A fellow sister reflects on the day of her first vows.
Since first vows is a special occasion, “these are the sisters of [our] house of studies in Washington, presenting our song!”
“Part of our culture as a religious family is to follow all major feast day Masses with a ‘feast’—a meal shared by all and a presentation of songs and dances,” says Sister Marie Protectrice de la Foi. Since first vows is a special occasion, “these are the sisters of [our] house of studies in Washington, presenting our song!”
The new sister visits with her best friend, Rachel Scott, and her parents, Jean and Greg Marcantel.
During the evening of her first vows ceremony, the new sister visits with her best friend, Rachel Scott, and her parents, Jean and Greg Marcantel. 
The new sister adjusts her crown of flowers.
The new sister adjusts her crown of flowers.
Noel Marcantel

Photographer Noel Marcantel is based in New Orleans. He can be found at noelmarcantel.com and on Facebook (noelmphotography) and Instagram (@noelmarcantel_photos). He specializes in travel, photojournalism, weddings, and other ceremonies.

2018 © TrueQuest Communications

Comments

Sponsors
Sponsors

SOCIALIZE

Follow Us