First Italian Vocation in 14 Years
In a beautiful Mass and celebration, Francesca De Leone took her vows on August 5th, 2017 at the parish where she grew up in Saracena, Italy. Francesca desired the people of her small town to be able to participate in the celebration since they had never seen the profession of vows of someone so close to them. The Apostles of the Interior Life caravanned together from northern Italy to reach Francesca’s hometown in the deep south. The moment they arrived, the people of Saracena warmly welcomed them and the other guests in anticipation of the weekend’s festivities.
The whole weekend was a celebration of God’s love for Francesca and of her “yes” to respond to His love through consecration of her life, expressed in the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. There was an evening prayer vigil held in the parish the night before the vows ceremony. It was an opportunity for each person to pray and experience the same Love Francesca had encountered and also was a time for her to share her story about how a girl from Saracena arrived at such a moment in her life. She expressed her desire to become Jesus’ spouse and the following day was nothing less than an experience of a wedding day.
The bishop of Diocese of Calabria came to celebrate the Mass, and the Apostles sang and played the music. Francesca, as well as the congregation, invoked the intercession of the Saints and then she professed her vows to the Lord. A moving embrace was given by each member of the Apostles of the Interior Life as a sign of Francesca’s belonging to the Community. Then, in an unexpected and tender gesture, the Bishop brought Francesca over to her family to be hugged by them. The Mass was followed by a reception in the town square and then a dinner with close friends and family.