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The Daily News, December 15, 1896  p. 3


The Reception and Profession at Conception Harbour


Thursday, December 10th, was a notable day in the little settlement of Conception Harbour.  It was the special occasion of a double event in religious life, being the reception of one Nun and the profession of another.  The reception was that of Miss Bride Joy, daughter of Captain Joy, of Holyrood.  With all the impressive pomp and reverence which the Catholic Church throws about such an event, she took the veil of a cloistered Nun and entered the Mercy Order at the above mentioned place.

The profession was that of Sister Bridget, an Irish lady, daughter of Mr. Owen Hoey, of Feahoe, Carrickman-Cross, County Monaghan, Ireland.  Nothing was lacking to make the occasion a Strikingly Beautiful One.  The background of the picture was as impressive as the scene itself.  The beautiful little Convent Chapel, where the ceremonies were performed, blazed with lights of myriads of wax candles.  At 9 a.m. the ceremonies began.  His Lordship Bishop McDonald officiated, assisted by the Revds. Joseph Murphy, William Veitch and John Rowe.  As they stood on the High Altar they looked gorgeous in their white and gold robes.  Miss Joy and Sister Bridget knelt in fervent prayer before the altar.  The former was dressed as a bride, wearing heavy white satin or silk, tulle veil and clusters of orange blossoms imported expressly for the occasion.

From the Old Country

Under the bridal veil the young postulant wore a magnificent head of hair, tied neatly in a classic knot at the nape of her neck.  Her face looked somewhat pale.  She had been fasting, praying, and meditating for ten days.  She had preserved absolute silence, and though she assisted in arranging the breakfast table in the convent, no one had spoken to her.  Aside from the pallor, however, she showed no evidence of nervousness or fatigue.  Buoyed up by that strange spiritual exaltation which led the early Christians to martyrdom, and which leads those of today into convents, she sat with bowed head throughout the long sermon, delivered by his Lordship Bishop McDonald.  The novice, Sister Bridget, also knelt in devotional attitude to hear the sermon which was for their special benefit.  His Lordship reminded them of the vows they were to take, of poverty, chastity and obedience.  He spoke of the sacrifices they were making and of the rewards they could expect in the next world, but not in this.  Then the postulant to her bridal dress, and the novice robed in the customary habit, went into a reception room, adjoining the chapel, where they Exchanged Their Garments for those of the religious order.  Before leaving for the church, where Bishop and Priests awaited, there was a flash of steel in the candle light, and the young postulant's beautiful raven tresses fell to the floor.  The white veil of the Order was draped over her head, and the black veil over that of Sister Bridget's.  As they entered the chapel, and cast themselves prone on the floor, the choir now bursts forth triumphantly, and clouds of incense rolled heavenward.  Miss Bride Joy abandoned her former name and will henceforth be known in her religious life as "Sister Cecilia" After the ceremonies had been concluded, the customary repast was partaken of in the Nuns' community room, by the clergy and a few special friends.  They were Mr. and Mr. W. K. Murphy, Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy, and Miss Josie O'Neil, of St. John's  The renunciation of all the pomps and vanities of life by those two young ladies, was a noble sacrifice for the church and religion.


Contributed by: Barbara McGrath
Transcribed by: Ivy F. Benoit (January 2001)
Page revised: August 2002 (Terry Piercey)

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