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Welcome Sister Elizabeth DeMerchant, IHM

On April 15, 2023, we celebrated Sister Elizabeth Ann DeMerchant, IHM, who made her life-long commitment as a Sister, Servant of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

On April 15, 2023, we celebrated Sister Elizabeth Ann DeMerchant, IHM, who made her life-long commitment as a Sister, Servant of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. LEGO creations by Sister Elizabeth, her students, and her friends enhanced the ambiance in the chapel and the conference center.

During a public ceremony, in the presence of more than 150 Sisters, students, family members and friends, in the context of a special liturgy of religious profession, Sister Elizabeth professed: “In personal response to the promise of the living God, and guided by the Holy Spirit, I, Sister Elizabeth Ann DeMerchant, vow chastity, poverty and obedience for the rest of my life according to the Constitutions of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In the hope of a deeper relationship with Christ, and with others in Christ, I promise to bear witness to the reign of God, both present and to come, by living in the spirit of these vows and by manifesting true devotion to Mary the Mother of God.”

Sister Kathryn Clauss, President of the IHM Sisters, accepted Sister Elizabeth’s vows and received her as an IHM Sister for the rest of her life. Thank you, Sister Elizabeth, for your “yes” to God, to the Church, and to us, your IHM Sisters.

Sister Elizabeth serves as a teacher at All Saints Academy in Scranton, PA.

View the perpetual vow ceremony and liturgy at:

Homily for Perpetual Profession of Vows

Here is the homily given by Monsignor Thomas Banick for the Perpetual Profession of Vows of Sister Elizabeth Ann DeMerchant, IHM
April 15, 2023
IHM Center Chapel

It was a very long journey, or shall we call it a pilgrimage, from a potato farm in Northern Maine to the IHM Center in Northeastern Pennsylvania, more precisely to a Lego Farm. Elizabeth DeMerchant came to size-up the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to see if they would be a good fit for her religious life. This day of her final profession is a great and terrible day. Great in joy and thanksgiving and in the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of Elizabeth and among us in our midst. Terrible, in the sense of one of the origins of that word, namely, formidable and frightening. Today is joyful and thankful, formidable and frightening because on this day, Elizabeth DeMerchant, guided by the Holy Spirit and under the formative influence of the Blessed Virgin Mary, via the IHM Formation team, will profess her final vows as an IHM Sister. Today, Elizabeth, you set a definitive direction for your life along a path of Christian discipleship, a path marked by vows of celibate chastity, communal poverty, and discerned obedience.

The path you have chosen is unusual, certainly countercultural. As you have already discovered and will continue to discover in the days and years ahead, you are choosing a life that is both surprisingly wild and often regimented, self-disciplined and marvelously free, peaceful and frenetic, lonely and overflowing with love, as suggested in your selected reading from Saint Paul’s letter to the Corinthians: three things will last forever – faith, hope and love – and the greatest of these is LOVE. It is a path that is in the world but not of the world, detached from many things and, as the first scripture reading put it, engaged in the sufferings and injustices of the world: “here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased. Upon her I have put my spirit, she shall bring forth justice to the nations.”

Elizabeth you will be building community, surely with the IHM Sisters and religious communities beyond, but also with those you are among as one who serves and builds even with Legos. You will be steepled in prayer and silence. You will find yourself reflecting on the Word of God and on life itself.

Monsignor Thomas Banick

Elizabeth, as you know so well, our American “Pursuit of Happiness” and consumer mentality sometimes undermines our approach to discipleship and even your living-out of the evangelical counsels. But that will not happen to you. Your vocation, which you pursued in the hope-filled journey from Maine, and which today you concretize in your Perpetual Profession, tell us a lot about you and all of us are thrilled that it is precisely about you, Elizabeth Ann DeMerchant. But you surely know that it is also and even more so about Christ and you in Christ, just as we are celebrating the Easter feast, about dying with Christ, in order to be raised up and live in Christ. It is about living, deep living, in Christ and embracing Christ’s ongoing school of love – how to love God, neighbor and self, friend and foe, near and far. How to put into practice the summary teaching of Christ in the Beatitudes, your chosen Gospel for proclamation at this profession eucharist: “to be poor in spirit, to comfort those who mourn, to be rich in meekness, to hunger and thirst for righteousness, to show mercy, to see God as one who is clean of heart, to be a child of God as a peacemaker…”

Sister Elizabeth Ann, I know I speak for all gathered here in saying with much delight that we already see in you the blessedness of Christ’s Beatitudes: “so, rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”

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