FARMINGTON HILLS, Michigan — The day Sister Renee Kettering professed her final vows as a Sister of Mercy of the Americas, she called it “a celebration of a lifelong commitment to God and God’s people.”
“I am grateful for the encouragement and support of the (Mercy) community, friends and family,” she remarked during the ceremony at Mercy Center Chapel in Farmington Hills.
With her profession July 13, Kettering became a permanent member of one of the largest congregations of Catholic sisters in the United States. The perpetual profession of vows is the final step in the multiyear process of becoming a member of a religious order.
Sister Anne Murphy, incorporation minister for the Mercy sisters’ West Midwest Community, welcomed the nearly 200 sisters, family members, Mercy associates and friends who filled the chapel.
Sister Patricia McDermott, president of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, questioned Kettering regarding her desire to live religious life.
Then Kettering formally pronounced and signed her vows that were then witnessed by Sisters Marie Henderson and Judith Mouch. She received a ring symbolizing the promise of her vows and inscribed with the motto she chose — “Thanks Be to God” — that will continue to inspire her life.
The daughter of Tim and Christina Kettering of Cincinnati, Kettering is the fifth young woman to profess final vows as a Mercy sister this year. Four others did so at a eucharistic liturgy June 8 in Merion, Pennsylvania.
“It’s truly a joyful day to witness Kettering’s public profession of the vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and service to the poor, sick and uneducated,” said Sister Susan M. Sanders, leader of the Mercy sisters’ West Midwest Community.
“Since her entrance into the Sisters of Mercy in 2009, our sisters have engaged with her in prayer, ministry, and community life, and have benefited from the questions and insights she shared as she was discerning her call to religious life,” she added. “We hope other young women will be inspired by her commitment and be open to how God might be calling them to vowed religious life. It’s a wonderful thing to be a Sister of Mercy!”
McDermott said that after her attendance at the profession of final vows by Kettering and the “four other passionate and talented young women, I feel a new energy in our community.” She added that 17 other young women are in various stages of the process of becoming a Mercy sister.
Kettering is currently an information technology specialist at the University of Detroit Mercy where she has worked since 2013.
“We just love having Sister Renee at Detroit Mercy,” said Barbara Milbauer, longtime university administrator and current director of planned giving there. “Her position in IT brings her in contact with students, faculty and staff. Her presence as a Sister of Mercy at the university, and the talent and skill Sister Renee brings to her work is deeply appreciated by many of us.”
Kettering earned a bachelor of arts degree in computer information systems from Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, Kentucky.
She entered the Sisters of Mercy in Farmington Hills as a candidate in August 2009. She was received as a novice in July 2011 and spent the following year focusing on prayer and study at the order’s novitiate community in Laredo, Texas.
For the second year of her novitiate, which focuses on service, Kettering served at St. Peter’s School in the Mission District of San Francisco.
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