'It's been a journey', in her own words, for Sister Emily Beata Marsh, who will make her perpetual profession of vows as a Daughter of St. Paul on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at St. Mary of Lourdes Catholic Church in Bemus Point. The 31 year old grew up in the community along Chautauqua Lake, where she has fond memories of biking and playing soccer.
"It's been kind of a journey in growing with Jesus and a journey in the desire to give myself to him completely," said Sister Emily. "It's a gift that I make but I only make the gift because Jesus has already given himself completely to me. It's been a discovery of his love for me, a discovery of my own desire to love him back and love his people with him and for him."
The Daughters of St. Paul is a Roman Catholic international religious congregation founded in 1915 in Italy. Sister Emily entered theand made her first vows in 2012. She has been renewing those 'temporary' vows each year since then. Her perpetual vows of poverty, chastity, obedience and renewal will be received by Provincial Superior, Sister Donna Giaimo, at Saturday's Mass celebrated by Bishop Edward Grosz, auxiliary bishop of Buffalo. It is the same church where she was baptized and eventually served as an organist and a teacher of CCD classes.
She was drawn to this particular order because of the way it follows the "We're specifically called to use any and all media to evangelize," said Sister Emily who assists in the writing and editing of posts for social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. "We're called to use it for the Gospel."
Twelve of her consecrated sisters have gathered this week in the Buffalo Diocese for events leading up to Saturday's profession of vows. They met with Bishop Richard J. Malone on Monday. On Wednesday evening at 7 p.m., they will host an evening of song and reflection at St. Mary of Lourdes Church in Bemus Point. On Thursday, they will run a vocation camp in North Collins. On Friday, they will be serving ice cream and taking prayer intentions at Bemus Point Market, a store owned by her parents, Jon and Ruth Marsh.
"I'm grateful on the one hand to come back and live this moment with my parish family, and I'm also grateful that the sisters can be here and be such a great presence this week and they can meet my home parish and my home diocese," said Sister Emily who has been in Italy for most of the past year, and in Alexandria, Virginia for the three years before that. She will find out on Saturday where her next assignment will be.
The congregation is part of the worldwide Pauline Family, one of the ten institutes founded by James Alberione, and operates in 51 countries around the world. Mother Thecla Merlo assisted in the founding and development of the Daughters of St. Paul and other Pauline institutes that developed throughout the 20th century.