Francesca's vows fell during the celebration of the patron saint of Saracena which began with a solemn coronation of and procession with the statue of St. Leo.

The town's preparation for the feast of St. Leo was also a preparation for Francesca's vows.

The Apostles practiced the music for the big day for weeks.

There was an Adoration hour prayer vigil the night before the ceremony.

Francesca gave a moving witness talk about how she came to hear the call to consecration followed by a speech by Sr. Susan.

Many people came to the prayer vigil. Here is Sr. Susan talking with Francesca's dad, Domenico.

Here is Francesca with her nephew, Lorenzo, after the prayer vigil.

Sr. Simona explaining what is happening to some local children.

The excitement for the big event was tangible! Here Srs. Susan and Elena after the prayer vigil.

Saturday morning was full of anticipation, and catechetical instruction for those who were available.

Sr. Tatum and Briana were excited to not only gain a sister but also to view a new part of Italy for the first time.

The Sisters and women in formation get in one more practice before the big moment.

Francesca's parents accompanied her in the procession at the beginning of the Mass.

The Bishop of Cosenza celebrated the Mass of the profession of vows.

Fr. Rocco is the pastor of Francesca's home parish and was extremely hospitable.

Francesca entered with her family before her vows and sat with the Sisters after professing.

Fr. Salvatore, our founder, enjoyed being able to participate in the festivities in the part of Italy where he was born.

The Bishop gave a great homily, especially mentioning the gift on the part of Francesca's family.

The moment of the complete gift of self in the profession of the vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience.

Francesca signing for her vows.

Sr. Susan makes Francesca's vows official.

The Bishop addresses Francy immediately after her profession of vows.

The Bishop was very affectionate and considerate towards Francesca and her family. Here he embraces her immediately after her profession.

Francesca receiving her Spouse for the first time.

Francesca was honored by her former fellow-scouts after the Mass.

The city square right outside the Church was packed with townsfolk for the reception after the Mass.

Many people came from all over the world to celebrate with us!

Part of the joy of Francesca's profession was being able to share it with the whole town of Saracena.

Francesca got the party started after her vows by fearlessly opening the champagne!

Let the reception begin!

The Di Leone Siblings from left to right: Giuseppina, Francesca, Annarita and Vincenzo.

All of the Sisters and women in formation with the new Sr. Francesca!

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.