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Get to Know the Sisters

It is a long-standing custom in the community that when a sister makes her Final Profession, she chooses a motto that expresses her life with God and the community. The motto is then inscribed on her ring, the symbol of life-long commitment in the IBVM.


Lorraine Crawford, IBVMLorraine CrawfordMY GRACE IS ENOUGH FOR YOU. (II Cor. 12: 8)

My greatest decision was certainly saying “yes” to my call to become an I.B.V.M. Sister. I remember when I chose this motto I believed so strongly that God had chosen me. I didn’t choose Him. When looking for a motto to fit my call, I came upon this brief line from St. Paul. Suddenly it was a perfect fit for my conviction that if God called me to this life, so different from my peers. I would get His help.

When I chose this motto for my ring, it was not an emotional choice. It was deep. I had a secure trust that these six words would carry me through. During the many years I have lived as an I.B.V.M. Sister, these words rooted me to God. Intellectually I knew God was ever-present but emotionally He sometimes was absent to me. Those six words always won the battle with doubt. I believe these six scriptural words, “My grace is enough for you” were a blessed decision that helped form me as a happy woman of Christian faith.


Irene HowellIrene Howell, IBVM

Years ago, when choosing a motto, I listened to the choices made by the Sisters around me. Their choices were lofty and most inspiring. But each time I heard the Suscipiat (Take and Receive) sung at Profession of Vows, my spirit was always deeply moved. After much thought and prayer, I chose, “Give Me Thy Love and Thy Grace.” Although at the time, I wondered whether it could fit in the engraving of the ring, which I was to receive, there was absolutely no doubt about the accommodation within my heart!

My greatest joy is to be loved by a Loving Father who gave me Life. Not only does He give me Himself, but also lavishes me with the means to respond to that Love.

What more do I need?

Judy Illig, IBVM

Judy IlligAs a child I recognized and treasured the gift of faith given to me by God and nurtured by my family. 
My Final Profession occurred just shortly after my youngest brother died. These words of Jesus, “The one who believes in Me lives,” seemed most appropriate for the theme of our liturgy celebrating David’s life, and then for the motto on my ring. 

My faith has grown through all the experiences of my life – through my family life, my education with our IBVM sisters, my IBVM community life, and all the wonderful, grace-filled people I have come to know and enriching experiences in which I have been privileged to share.

Belief in God and God’s unconditional love for all has been the source of strength, inspiration and joy which has guided my life.

Cindy LangloisCindy Langlois, IBVM

While it is not inscribed on my ring, the motto I live by is taken from Mary Ward's last words to her sisters, "Cherish God's vocation in you." I think of this as referring to Jesus words in Chapter 10 of John's Gospel, "I came that you may have life, and live it to the fullest."I believe that God gently and lovingly led me along the path that leads to my being most fully who I am. I believe that God wants to do that with each one of us, if only we would allow that.So please cherish God's vocation in you,whether it may lead you into marriage, the single life, religious life, or priesthood.


Gabrielle MarryGabrielle Marry, IBVM

This is the motto I choose on my Final Profession Day, April 22, 1963. I loved the richness and depth of St. Paul’s Epistles. As my spirituality grew and deepened I was drawn more and more into Paul’s understanding of God’s generous and loving plan for me. In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul speaks of his weakness and finding his power in Christ. “My grace is enough for you, for in weakness power reaches perfection.” Paul was willing to boast of his weakness for there he found his strength.

Little did I know that this little phrase I had chosen would become so meaningful to me as life went on. Four years after my Final Profession, I was diagnosed with M.S. which I have lived with for thirty-seven years. It is a slow, low grade type which enables me to be involved in various ministries: hospital ministries, working with under-privileged children, prison ministry, to mention a few. From where do I draw my strength and acceptance? From the Source of all strength. At the end of each day, with my heart full of gratitude to the Lord, I can say with St. Paul, “In him who is the source of my strength, I have strength for everything.” (Phil 4:13)

Evelyn McCloskyEvelyn McClosky, IBVM

I received my ring at Final Profession on August 15, 1960. On the inside of everyone’s ring was “A.M.D.G. Jesus Mary Joseph” and a female and male saint of one’s choosing. I have Mary Ward and St. John. John is for my Dad since my religious name, Evelyn, is after my Mom. These are still visible inside.

My motto is “Lord, I am not worthy.” This is no longer visible on the outside of the ring. I chose this because having attended Mass daily in grade school this Communion prayer was always special to me,

“Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.” In high school at Loretto Academy, I was inspired by the Loretto sisters. I loved them for their individuality, kindness, and friendliness. I have always felt honored and humbled to be called to be one of them. Hence, “Lord, I am not worthy” still means a lot to me.

Jane McKirchy, IBVM

I am most grateful for my vocation I think I've been singing for joy ever since I entered our community. "Giving Thanks and Singing for Joy" hopefully speaks of me and my journey over the past forty-four years in our Institute.

Mary Howard MoriartyMary Howard Moriarty, IBVM

From the time I was born, my mother and father instilled in me the attitude that everything that happens during a lifetime has a purpose.God is present in everything from the most inconsequential situation to the most important one.That philosophy has been a major part of my life. When it came time to choose a motto for my ring at profession, I tried to find something that had been a guide for my day to day life.I found this saying in the Book of Revelations. “Behold, in all that comes, it is I”.It jumped out at me and I knew it was what I needed to get me through the rest of my life. It has seen me through the good and not so good times for 51 years.I truly believe that nothing happens without God’s presence in it. May it carry me through whatever happens in the future.

Barbara NelsonBarbara Nelson, IBVM

The above inscription in Hebrew, “I to my Beloved, my Beloved to me” is from the Song of Songs, 6:3. The ring I wear was bought at a little shop in the French Quarter in New Orleans the summer of 1962. I was a junior professed and we were told, now that we were out of a habit, to get a ring to wear as a symbol of our commitment.

I saw this one in the Shop of the Three Magi and when I found out what the inscription said, I realized it spoke of my relationship to my God in religious life. Six years later in 1975, when I was “finally” finally professed, I could have gotten another ring. But I chose to have this one blessed and wear it because it still speaks so strongly of my relationship with God.


 Esther O'Mara, IBVM

 I chose this motto at the ripe old age of 18 or 19 with the hope that I could some day really say it and mean it. I felt it was important for me to do God’s will, but what was it and where would it lead me? I had not a clue as to what was waiting for me! Now, many, many years later, I can say that I have turned to this motto often, especially during the difficult times in my life. To realize that God has better ideas for me than I have is certainly not always easy, but as the years went on, there are many times I was finally able to say this prayer with some meaning. For this I thank God and pray when I can no longer say it, she will remember it is now etched in my heart.



Mary Lou WcisloMary Lou Wcislo, IBVM

Fifty-some years ago, as a romantic young woman, I took the motto, “to love Thee more and more.” In our black constitution book, rule 16, there was the phrase, “to please thee more and more.” This phrase penetrated my being during the first year. Why I changed “please” to “love,” I cannot imagine now, but I must have had a reason. Can one “please” with or without love? Can one “love” with or without pleasing? Fifty-some years have passed and hopefully that “love” has grown as an old shoe – easily worn, comfortable and pleasing.

Alice WhiteheadAlice Whitehead, IBVM

Tecum, in Te, ad Te (with you, in you, to you) speaks to the Trinity, acting with Jesus, in the grace of the Holy Spirit, to the Father. My own father gave me an image of the meaning of fatherhood. I find it easy and natural to speak to God as Father (ad Te) of my concerns, great and small.

Trying to live a life of service in companionship with Jesus (Tecum) keeps me aware of his life of service, providing wine for the feast, bread for the hungry, himself to us in bread and wine.

Dependence on the grace of the Holy Spirit (in Te) directs me to seek out another’s need, to provide what little I can to simplify the life of others, even if it’s just to suggest the right book, fill the sugar bowls, or walk the neighbor’s dog.

When the situation is traumatic, the need desperate, all I can do is pray, for instance, that the Father (ad Te) will direct his Son to work with (Tecum) world leaders under the grace of the Holy Spirit (in Te) for peace through justice.