Sister Cappola takes vows as Poor Clare

GREENVILLE — Sister Bernadette Marie Cappola, a former teacher in Sumter, made solemn profession in the Poor Clare community Dec. 29.

Nora Jean Cappola was born in Lockport, N.Y.,  the daughter of Nicolas Cappola and the late Catherine Cappola. She has a twin sister who is a missionary in the Dominican Republic, Sister Rose Ann Cappola of the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur. She also has three brothers, Patrick, Nicholas and Paul.

At age 7, Sister Cappola heard the story of St. Bernadette from Sister Gerard, SSMN, in religion class. She decided then that when she grew up she wanted to become a religious.

On Sept. 8, 1964, she entered the Sisters of St. Mary in Kenmore, N.Y. At the time of her reception as a Sister of St. Mary of Namur, she was given the name Sister Bernadette. On Dec. 29, 1979, she made final profession as a Sister of St. Mary.

During her years as a Sister of St. Mary, she taught in grade schools in Sumter, Lowell, Mass., Buffalo, N.Y., and Kenmore, and was a pastoral assistant in Binghamton, N.Y. For three summers she ministered to the Inuit in the Northwest Territory. She also worked with Central American refugees in Canada.

While teaching in Sumter, she attended a meeting of women religious in South Carolina and met the Poor Clares. For more than 10 years, Sister Cappola had felt God’s call to live a contemplative life. When she met the Poor Clares she was attracted to their  journey to God through a life of prayer, solitude, silence and community. After several years of discernment, she began her two-year novitiate on March 1, 1999, followed by an additional three-year period of formation.

Sister Cappola’s father,  brothers, sisters-in-law, nephews and nieces attended the solemn profession in the monastery chapel. Her twin sister, Sister Rose Ann, came from the Dominican Republic. Friends of Sister Cappola came from New York, Florida, Illinois, and  throughout South Carolina.

Franciscan Father Tom Vigliotta presided at the eucharistic liturgy. Sister Carolyn Forgette, the abbess of the Poor Clare community, received her vows. The Sisters of St. Mary were represented by the provincial of the Eastern Province,  Sister Mary Veronica, SSMN.