Former Appleton teacher professes vows in Texas

By Maria Gilicinski | Special to The Compass | December 10, 2014

Sr. Mary Elizabeth Jane was longtime teacher at Xavier High School

TYLER, Texas — On Nov. 22, the vigil of the solemnity of Christ the King, Sr. Mary Elizabeth Jane, formerly Mary Beth Meehl of St. Pius X Parish in Appleton, professed first temporary vows for the Daughters of the Divine Hope at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

Sr. Mary Elizabeth Jane, wearing a white veil, kneels before Mother Susan Catherine Kennedy during her profession of temporary vows for the Daughters of the Divine Hope at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Tyler, Texas, Nov. 22. Looking on is Marquette Bishop John Doerfler, former priest of the Green Bay Diocese. Bishop Doerfler served as Sr. Mary Elizabeth’s spiritual director for nine years. (Andrew Gilicinski | Special To The Compass)
Sr. Mary Elizabeth Jane, wearing a white veil, kneels before Mother Susan Catherine Kennedy during her profession of temporary vows for the Daughters of the Divine Hope at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Tyler, Texas, Nov. 22. Looking on is Marquette Bishop John Doerfler, former priest of the Green Bay Diocese. Bishop Doerfler served as Sr. Mary Elizabeth’s spiritual director for nine years. (Andrew Gilicinski | Special To The Compass)

Meehl was a longtime teacher at Xavier High School in Appleton. She moderated Xavier’s pro-life club and organized March for Life pilgrimages for youth to Washington, D.C. She also facilitated Steubenville youth conference trips and led many young women on “Nun Runs.”

In addition, she piloted a nontraditional “Discerning Your Vocation” class at Xavier for a small group of high schoolers.

Meehl, whose husband died six years ago, began to feel a great desire to deepen her union with God. She requested a leave of absence from teaching.

Following prayer and discernment of God’s will, she left Wisconsin for the Diocese of Tyler, Texas, to join a newly-found religious order, the Daughters of Divine Hope, declared a public association of the faithful in November of 2010. Their charism is to be visible witnesses of hope in the risen Lord through service to the church under the guidance, direction, and request of their local bishop.

The women consecrate themselves to Christ and his church by taking the traditional vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, and also a fourth vow of fidelity to the church. Much like Mary, the Daughters of Divine Hope dedicate their lives to praying for and serving Christ’s priests.

Unlike many faithful communities in the United States, which will not admit women mid-40’s and older, this order has no age limit. Widows are most welcome, and the community respects the need for women to maintain family relationships, as it is lived out in consecrated life.

Meehl entered the community as a postulant in September of 2013. Together with two other postulants, she began the spiritual formation that led to the profession of her first temporary vows.

The Nov. 22 Mass was celebrated by Bishop John Doerfler of the Diocese of Marquette. Bishop Doerfler, a former priest and vicar general for the Diocese of Green Bay, served as Meehl’s spiritual director for nine years.

Clothed in a dark green habit (the color of hope) and veiled in white, Sr. Mary Elizabeth Jane knelt before Mother Susan Catherine Kennedy and Bishop Doerfler, repeating the vows to live out her vocation to holiness.

For more information about the Daughters of the Divine Hope, contact Mother Susan Catherine at [email protected].

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