Twenty years have passed since then. On Wednesday, Aug. 22. (the Feast of the Queenship of Mary) I once again appeared in the sanctuary of the Monastery of the Poor Clares in Barhamsville, Va. This is a beautiful religious house built in the last four years in the tradition of convents going back hundreds of years.
Eight priests assembled in the sanctuary surrounding Father Joseph Wheelock (originally from Port Henry) who was the principal celebrant of the Mass. Father Joseph is a nephew of Sister Mary Agnes. He and his cousin, Father Neil Pezzulo, are in a very special way the products of Sister Mary Agnes prayers. Father Neil was, unfortunately, unable to attend the Mass. He is currently serving as a Missionary in Arkansas.
The Mass was beautiful. It was the Golden Jubilee of her profession of vows. Sister Mary Agnes arrived in the sanctuary in the traditional brown habit of the Franciscans with a black veil on her head. She was wearing a crown of roses and had a rose corsage was over her heart. As is the tradition of the Poor Clares her feet were bare. The Mother Abbess accompanied her and the other Sisters followed in procession.
After the proclamation of the Gospel and the homily by Father Wheelock, Sister Mary Agnes knelt before the Mother Abbess and renewed her Profession of Vows. Each of the priests then came forward and congratulated her.
Then the Mother Abbess led her to the gates of the cloister which separated the people from the nuns. The gates were opened and Sister Mary Agnes was able to receive the hugs of her family and friends. It was a very moving moment. Several of her grand nieces and nephews had never seen her only hearing over the years about the great aunt who was praying for them in a distant monastery.