NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Rebecca Shafer made her first profession of vows with the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia on July 28 at the order’s motherhouse in Nashville. She has taken the religious name Sister Gloria Christi, which means glory of Christ.
Her parents, Anne and Jeff, and siblings Andrew and Elizabeth, attended the ceremony, as did many friends and supporters from South Carolina. The Shafer family are members at Prince of Peace Church in Taylors.
Sister Gloria Christi became a postulant with the order in August of 2006. She is the second woman from the Diocese of Charleston to profess vows with the Dominicans in recent years. Katie Vaughan, whose religious name is Sister Maris Stella, is in her fifth year of formation there.
Sister Gloria Christi is a graduate of Riverside High School in Taylors and attended the College of Charleston for a year before deciding to pursue a vocation, her mother told The Miscellany in an interview. Sister Gloria Christi deferred the interview to her mother.
In her high school years, she was active with the diocesan youth evangelization team, also known as the “E” team, and other programs, according to Mrs. Shafer.
“Through her work with the diocesan youth activities she really came to feel a religious vocation was what God had planned for her,” she said. “She also attended several retreats at the Nashville motherhouse and that’s what helped her make her decision to join the Dominicans.”
The entire formation process for the Dominican Sisters is seven years. Candidates profess their first vows after two years of formation, then renew them at three and two year intervals.
Mrs. Shafer said her daughter is attending education classes at Aquinas College in Nashville. The Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia are involved primarily in teaching.
Mrs. Shafer, who is a native of Chattanooga, Tenn., said her family has a long history with the Dominican sisters.
“I was already very familiar with Dominican sisters because they taught me, and they taught my family all the way back to my grandmother. We kind of have come full circle with Rebecca’s profession,” she said.
Sister Gloria Christi’s decision to pursue a vocation is a blessing and also a milestone, her mother said.
“She’s the first woman to profess vows in our family. We’re very proud of her and it’s a real blessing for our family,” Mrs. Shafer said. “It’s very difficult not to have her here with us all the time, but we know she’s with us in the spiritual sense. She’s a special girl.”
Some of the other Dominican Sisters made national news after spending 12 months in Sydney, Australia, to help plan and organize World Youth Day. That has led to a new mission in Australia for the congregation, according to Catholic News Service.
The order will send four of the sisters to Sydney to help establish their community’s first permanent mission outside the United States.