Sister Mariette Professes Vows at Monastery
by Michael C. Gabriele, Editor

Sister Mariette Therese Bernier, pictured in a solemn moment of prayer beneath the outstretched hand of Father Eamon Drew, has embarked on "a lifelong journey" in the Benedictine monastic tradition. Sister Mariette professed her final vows on April 28 during a Mass at Saint Walburga Monastery in Elizabeth.

ELIZABETH-Sister Mariette Therese Bernier, O.S.B., professed her final vows of the Benedictine monastic way of life (stability, obedience and fidelity to the monastic way of life) during a special Mass on April 28 held at Saint Walburga Monastery.

Sister Sharon McHugh, monastery prioress, received Sister Mariette's vows on behalf of the community. As a response to Sister Mariette's perpetual profession, the prioress reflected on passages in Chapter 58 of the "Rule of St. Benedict," which speak to the virtues of perseverance, not perfection, as the path that leads people to God.

Father Eamon Drew, O.S.B., a monk from St. Mary's Abbey in Morristown, who was ordained just 14 days prior to the vows of Sister Mariette, served as the main celebrant at the Mass. Father Drew lauded Sister Mariette for her faith and dedication to the Benedictine tradition. Following the Mass, monastery leaders praised Sister Mariette's profession of faith as "the beginning of a commitment to a lifelong journey."

The Benedictine Sisters of Elizabeth originally inspired her during her grammar school days, Sister Mariette recalled. She said she continues to receive support and inspiration from Sisters in the community who demonstrate the Benedictine values of love, prayer, support, hospitality and perseverance. She also thanked her parents for their faith and recognized the community life and prayer life that has fostered her vocation.

Sister Mariette attended Elizabeth High School and St. Genevieve's Elementary School. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kean College and a Master of Arts degree from Seton Hall University, South Orange. She is a licensed professional counselor and registered play therapist.

She entered St. Walburga Monastery on Jan. 7, 2001. As for her near-term plans, Sister Mariette will stay at the monastery to continue her ministry with Catholic Charities as a school counselor. She will teach and counsel students in grades K-8 at St. Joseph's School in East Orange, Sts. Mary and Elizabeth in Linden and St. James in Springfield.

Her other duties include serving as a co-chair of the monastery's Benedictine Oblate Program. The program functions as a community outreach effort, which connects with laypeople who study and absorb Benedictine principles in order to apply those concepts to their everyday family and professional lives. Sister Mariette also participates as a member of the monastery's liturgy and futuring committees.

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