A 20-YEAR-old woman from New Zealand took her first vow as Sr Anne Marie of the Sacred Heart on Monday, May 13th, the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima.
Stepping out into the sunshine outside the Oratory of the Holy Face at Corran South in Leap, Sr Anne Marie – formerly Hannah Maria Loeman – told The Southern Star: ‘I am so glad to be professed at last, and be a bride of Christ.’
Sr Anne Marie arrived in West Cork in March 2017. She spent her first six months here as a postulant and another year and a half as a novice before taking her first vows, a promise to observe obedience, chastity and poverty for the next three years.
In the midst of a congregation of 25 people, Sr Anne Marie said: ‘Hopefully, I will take my final vows three years from today.’
The bond between Mother Irene of The Holy Face and Sr Anne Marie was evident throughout the entire ceremony.
As Fr Thomas Le Gal from France spoke about ‘putting on the armour’ and ‘becoming an ambassador’ for her faith, Mother Irene was adding to Sr Anne Marie’s habit as a Carmelite of The Holy Face.
A belt was put around Sr Anne Marie’s waist; a brown tunic was placed over her head; the white scapular of Our Lady was wrapped around her shoulders; a rosary was attached to her waist; and a crucifix was placed beneath the scapular.
It was then, with great reverence, that Mother Irene removed the novice’s white veil and carefully pinned into place – on the toque on her head – the black veil of their Order. During the ceremony, Sr Anne Marie made her vows then laid down prostrate on the floor as Red Clover blossoms where strewn the length of her new habit.
The entire ceremony took just over an hour and it was followed with mass practiced in the Tridentine Rite. Mother Irene said the gathering was ‘proof that people are hungry to find something deeper and to return to holy tradition.’
Mother Irene and Sr Anne Marie are the only two members of the Carmelites of The Holy Face in Leap, an Order that follows traditional Catholicism as it was before Vatican 11.
As part of their religious life, the two women spend much of their time in solitude – each in their own hut – but they also come together as a community several times during the day.
Sr Anne Marie said: ‘Our lives are dedicated to God, and the blessed Virgin Mary, especially in prayer.’
It was with joy that Mother Irene said the occasion was ‘something she have dreamed of for about 30 years. I never realised my dream would be fulfilled, and that the Carmelites of The Holy Face would receive such a beautiful young lady.’