Final Vow Profession: Sister Jessi Beck
August 1, 2015
There was excitement in the air which could be felt throughout the Presentation community as family, friends and sisters gathered for the celebration of Sister Jessi Beck’s profession of perpetual vows on August 1, 2015. Sister Jessi’s faith journey began when she was brought to St. Gabriel Church by her parents, Art and Diane Beck, to be baptized and claimed as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Jessi and her sister, Izzie, grew in age and grace surrounded by family and friends in Roland, Iowa. Little did anyone know then how Jessi would come to know and be inspired by an 18th century Irish woman named Nano Nagle.
Sister Jessi reflects, “As I celebrate this moment in religious life, I know this is where God has been leading me. I am inspired by the spirit of Presentation foundress, Nano Nagle, and her passion for the mission of Jesus – bringing light to those living in darkness.”
The story of Nano Nagle and her work with the poor of Cork, Ireland, was recalled as the Eucharistic celebration moved from dance to storytelling, song, scripture, prayer and ritual. The Gospel story of the widow who gave her few coins, reminded all present of Nano’s life and all that she gave, and all gathered rejoiced with Sister Jessi as she proclaimed her desire to give all. Sister Joy Peterson, in her reflection for this day, reminded the congregation that “we are all asked to give our lives in love to be stretched until all we are able to give is out of the poverty of our lives.”
Sister Jessi’s journey to this day included peer ministry experiences at St. Stephen the Witness Catholic Student Center in Cedar Falls, Iowa; praying with the Benedictine Sisters in Rock Island, Illinois; and volunteering with Amate House in Chicago, Illinois. More recent ministry experiences include teaching at St. Mary School in Manchester, Iowa, and Our Lady of Tepeyac in Chicago. In each of these experiences Sister Jessi has continued to be led by the voice of God nudging her to a commitment to those made poor.
Courage and hope are qualities needed today when a commitment to religious life is not chosen by many, yet Sister Jessi is hopeful. “I see a network of Nano’s daughters with great treasures to offer the world through their life and work. I am energized going into the future knowing I walk with so many amazing people; my Dubuque Presentation family, Presentation people around the globe and a network of young sisters across the country. We all work for the common mission of making our world a more just and loving place.”
Throughout the ages oil has been used to anoint those called to leadership bringing healing and blessing. As Pat Bergen, CSJ, anointed Sister Jessi, she prayed for the courage to be ready with a radiant smile and tender touch, to take one more step to reveal God’s love. “Remember,” Sister Pat says, “you are a Presentation, a lantern of Nano’s love in the world!”