Morgantown’s Sarah Riffon to Make First Profession of Vows as Franciscan Sister

MORGANTOWN— Sister Chiara Joan Riffon will make her first profession of vows Aug. 6 at Father of Mercy Chapel in Toronto, Ohio, at the motherhouse of her community, the Franciscan Sisters, Third Order Regular of Penance of the Sorrowful Mother. She will make vows at a Mass celebrated by Bishop Jeffrey Monforton, bishop of the Diocese of Steubenville. She professed the three vows of chastity, poverty and obedience for one year, a commitment that will be renewed for about five successive years before she makes her perpetual profession. Sister Chiara Joan (Sarah) of Morgantown is the daughter of Tom and Tracy Riffon, who attend St. John University Parish. She has two sisters and two brothers. She grew up in a Catholic family that attended Mass at St. Francis de Sales Parish in Morgantown and prayed together often. She graduated from University High School and went on to attend Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa., for two years. She first felt the stirrings of a religious vocation on a retreat during her sophomore year of high school when she saw some sisters playing music. “I remember thinking, ‘Lord, this could be me,’” she wrote. “This could be what you are calling me to.” After a difficult first semester at Saint Vincent College, she shared her hardships with one of the Benedictine monks there, and he recommended that she visit the Franciscan Sisters, TOR. “From the moment I said yes, I had an immense fear of going,” she wrote. “I think I was afraid of knowing the truth of who God was calling me to be and what he was calling me to do.” But when she came on a vocation discernment retreat, she had a powerful encounter with the Lord in Eucharistic adoration. “I just kept thinking about how beautiful Jesus was,” she wrote. “As I was thinking this, the Lord told me that I am nothing but a reflection of him and I possess the same beauty that I was seeing in him.” She returned for more visits to the sisters, as well as spending more time in prayer at her student chapel at school. She wrote, “I saw this life as the desire of my heart, and through much discernment and prayer, I decided to enter.” She entered the community in July 2014. This coming year, Sister Chiara Joan will continue her formation as a junior sister and begin her assignment as the assistant kitchen coordinator at Our Lady of Sorrows motherhouse in Toronto. More on her vocation story and about the Franciscan Sisters, TOR, may be found on their website: www.franciscansisterstor. org.