After completing three years and three months of initial formation, on December 8, 2007 Sister Elizabeth Ann joyfully vowed to live a life of poverty, chastity and obedience according to the Constitution of our Institute.
Sister Elizabeth Ann Dockery is a native of Amarillo, Texas. She was an accomplished Orchestra Director when she felt God calling her to give up everything and belong to Him alone. In 2004 she entered and completed the aspirancy program, in 2005 finished the postulancy and entered the Novitiate, which she completed in 2007.
The Ceremony of First Profession of Vows is a beautiful experience. As an outward sign of her profession of vows she was clothed with a grey veil and removed the white veil of novices. Father Ron Mathews, our chaplain, was the main celebrant at the Mass, and Father David Toups, a friend from the USCCB, delivered the homily.
After The Mass we had a reception. Many members of her immediate and extended family as well as some friends attended this event.
We rejoice with our Sister as she begins her life as a consecrated woman in the Church. She is an asset to our community by her many and varied gifts, but most of all by her passionate response to God's call to love Him with an undivided heart.
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Mass for the Profession of First Vows
for Sister Elizabeth Ann, DLJC
Mary’s Immaculate Conception disposed her to say “yes” to the Lord. She was preordained from all eternity, and from the moment of her conception, for this particular mission in the world – to give birth to the Word Incarnate, Jesus Our Lord. She is the “New Eve” – a new creation – Mother and Model of the Church as the first and perfect Disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Today, two new sisters are born, today another takes her first vows binding herself ever closer to Our Savior as like Mary she says “yes” … Sr. Elizabeth Ann with Mary, make these words your own:
Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done unto me according to your word (Luke ).
These women have been chosen like Mary for a particular mission in the Church and in the world. As
He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before Him. […] In Him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of His will, so that we might exist for the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:4, 11-12).
The very meaning of Consecrated Life is to exist for the praise of His Glory!
As Mary is the “New Eve”, these women are new creations in Christ, not only by virtue of Baptism and Divine Adoption, but further by Religious Consecration they become a new creation – a creature totally renewed in the Lord! This should perpetually be a source of genuine joy for our sisters. Blessed Columba Marmion wrote that
in order to taste these joys, we must keep ourselves at the height of our profession; we must remain in this state of absolute self emptying; we must, during our whole life, be faithful to our vows (Christ the Ideal of the Monk, 117).
Sisters, you are espoused in a special way to our Savior, so much so that you belong entirely to Him – soul and body, you are consecrated as a gift belonging to Him alone, your Divine Spouse.
Again, Blessed Columba wrote to a religious sister:
“Christ” means consecrated, anointed, living for the Father: separated from profane things and altogether vowed to God. That is the divine ideal we should realize by our consecration on the day of our profession, and by our daily consecration on the altar with Him. The consecrated chalice may be employed only to contain the Precious Blood. The consecrated virgin exists only for her Divine Bridegroom and has no right to employ her person or her faculties except for Him; all is consecrated, reserved to Him (Union with God, 57).
Sisters, you are not only Brides of Christ, but like Mary you become Mothers for the Church. You experience a genuine and real generativity. Through your prayer and ministry you give birth to new Christians. Your womanly heart needs to be “mother” and so we hear the words of Christ saying to us as well “Behold your Mother” as we behold these sisters/spiritual mothers of ours.
Pope Benedict XVI wrote that the cloister is a “spiritual oasis […] reminding the world of the most important, in the end, the only decisive thing: that there is an ultimate reason why life is worth living: God and his unfathomable love” (
This convent is a home, a place of formation for all these sisters – a place where God is found!
In fact, for two, Elizabeth and Gina, as they were known in the world, today, Sister Stella Maris and Sister Christine Marie, it will become the womb in which they will be formed in the heart of the Church -in the heart of Mary - throughout their novitiate.
Today, for the community, a birth occurs in the first profession of Sr. Elizabeth Ann. She is born again into the world to give witness to Christ and His Kingdom through her religious consecration. As she is a great musician, we proclaim with the Psalmist, as we did today in our responsorial (Psalm 98): “Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous deeds!”
Indeed, sing Sister, proclaim Christ from the rooftops, let Him use your talents and witness to His joy in your heart to all that you meet.
I would like to close with the words of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta that she wrote on the day of her religious profession:
If you could know how happy I am, as Jesus’ little spouse. No one, not even those who are enjoying some happiness which in the world seems perfect, could I envy, because I am enjoying my complete happiness, even as I suffer something for my beloved Spouse (Come Be My Light, 18).
Sisters, may Christ be your light and your love, and may you find joy in the knowledge of His love for you even in the midst of the struggles and pain that this life may bring.Like Mary, the Immaculate Conception, may you be true Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ!