Celebrating 50, 60, 70 and 75 Years of Religious Jubilees

On June 3, 2023, nineteen Carmelite Sisters celebrated their, 50th, 60th, 70th, and 75th religious jubilees. A Jubilee Eucharistic Celebration was held at Saint Teresa’s Motherhouse with The Most Reverend Gerardo J. Colacicco of the Archdiocese of New York who served as the principal celebrant and homilist. Very Reverend Mario Esposito, O.Carm. was the Master of Ceremonies and Reverend Michael Kissane, O.Carm., Reverend Mark Zittle, O.Carm., Rev. James Sullivan and Rev. Jim Hess, O.Carm. were con-celebrants.

The Jubilarians celebrated with loving remembrance and gratitude to the many special persons who helped them come to this time of joyous celebration. All their many years of service to God and His elderly, of those present and those who were unable to attend, you are deeply acknowledged and appreciated! Congratulations dear Sisters.

Highlighted excerpts from the Homily of The Most Reverend Gerardo J. Colacicco:

“… On the feast of Pentecost Jesus entered that upper room… and breathed on them and they received the Holy Spirit… He gave them the power of this resurrected life which we know to be the Holy Spirit, the power to live our lives faithfully… joyfully… in truth and goodness and beauty… To those who have consecrated their lives for the glory of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, He grants a blessing in silence, in the quiet of the world, in this little corner of the world. He grants a tremendous blessing. And He says to us, “Look here. Pay attention here. Look at these my brides, look at the joy they give to my Sacred Heart. Look at the joy and hope that they give the world.  Pay attention here, for this is the most beautiful, this is the most truth, this is where I move and live and act in them, and through them, and with them to show my goodness to the world. For this, my dear Sisters, we give you thanks.”

Teaching Religious Sisters Around the World How to Age Well Together

by Shane Cooney, AIG Head of Education

Above: Sisters from around the world with AIG Director, Sr. M. Peter Lillian Di Maria, O.Carm., and AIG Faculty and Staff, Deacon Tony Silvestro, Phillip McCallion, and Shane Cooney.

Communities of religious women in many countries around the world are facing the challenge of how Sisters can provide the appropriate care and support for their aging members. Unfortunately, many Religious Congregations have neither the funds nor the support systems in place.

In 2022, the Avila Institute of Gerontology and the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm discussed options to answer these needs. The Avila Institute was blessed to receive a $720k grant to develop Sisters Aging Well Together (SAWT), a Congregational eldercare enablement program offered as a pilot program to 12 Sisters from different Communities representing Mexico, India, Ghana, Kenya, and Zambia. The goal of this program is to provide an opportunity for the Sisters to learn more about how to care for their aging Sisters. They will then be charged with sharing this information and teaching their own Communities and other Communities as the eldercare networks in these countries continue their development.

Beginning in March 2023, the 12 Sisters began receiving formative education on various concepts and practices in gerontology, person-centered care, and care of the aged in the Community setting, based on Mother Angeline’s philosophy of being “kinder than kindness itself” and treating each of our cherished aged and infirm as a unique human being. They attended classes with AIG faculty twice per week via video conference in the AIG Learning Center to complete 50 hours of education, assignments, and evaluations.

In July 2023, 10 of the 12 Sisters were able to come Avila for one month and had an opportunity to tour the Teresian House in Albany, New York. During this time, the Sisters were also able to attend in-person classes that allowed for additional opportunities for discussion, information sharing, and relationship building. A considerable amount of time was given to exploring care plans and being introduced to the AIG Care Transitions Tool, which is an instrument designed to help Sisters assess the readiness to care for the aged in their Communities.

At the end of their visit at Avila, the Sisters spent more time at St. Patrick’s Manor, where they were able to see how the Carmelite Sisters operate a long-term care Home. Once the Sisters return to their homes in August, AIG will continue to meet with them to assist with the implementation of the Care Transitions Tool and to provide ongoing support. In this way, AIG will continue to be with the Sisters each step of the way as they plan for their future—one in which they will age well together. 

Pope Paul: What Does Venerable Mother Angeline and Saint Pope Paul VI have in Common?

During a visit to our homes in Dublin, Ireland and in Dunoon, Scotland accompanied by Mother M. Brendan, O.Carm., Mother Angeline planned to include a visit to Rome and have the opportunity for an audience with Pope Paul VI (1963-1978)… Mother described the Solemn Papal Mass at Saint Peter’s Basilica: ‘It was heavenly!’ Mother said, of course, that the biggest thrill while in Rome was her private audience with His Holiness, Pope Paul VI… ‘One can never explain how it feels to be ushered into the presence of the Vicar of Christ on earth.’  Mother was particularly pleased that while the audience started out with about thirty people, she could hardly believe it when it ended with only Mother M. Brendan and herself in the presence of the Holy Father.  Paraphrased: Rome Visit in 1964 from Woman of Faith.

What do Venerable Mother Angeline and St. Pope Paul VI have in common? Both were declared Venerable in 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI. (Pope Paul VI was beatified October 19, 2014; and canonized October 14, 2018.)

Additionally, St. Pope Paul VI and Venerable Mary Angeline Teresa shared a devotion to the Eucharist. During the Second Vatican Council, in his encyclical, Mysterium fidei, St. Pope Paul VI spoke firmly about the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. One belief of the Catholic Church that is the teaching that Jesus is truly present under the appearance of bread and wine in the Eucharist. St. Pope Paul VI reinforced this and made it clear that the Eucharist is not merely a symbol of Jesus’ presence.

From Venerable Mary Angeline Teresa’s writings to the Sisters, we have the following: “What is important for us is that we understand the Liturgical action of the Holy Mass is Christ Who comes to us in His Word and in His Eucharistic presence to be the food and nourishment of our spiritual life. Indeed, the Mass should be the very center of our lives where we daily find Christ. Finding and receiving Christ in the Mass we are able to give Him to one another and to the people with whom we come in contact each day. In this way, we are able to share His Love and allow His love to be more and more effective in our lives.”  From The Close of Chapter 1966

June 11, 2023 – July 17, 2024, is the second phase of the National Eucharistic Revival meant to foster Eucharistic devotion at the parish level, strengthening our liturgical life through faithful celebration of the Mass and Eucharistic Adoration.

Commemorating 39th Anniversary

Venerable Mary Angeline Teresa
Rev. James Donlon

On January 21, 2023, the 39th anniversary of Venerable Mary Angeline Teresa’s passing to eternal life, the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm held a Eucharistic celebration at Saint Teresa’s Motherhouse in Germantown, New York. The theme of this year’s celebration is ‘Venerable Mary Angeline Teresa: Exemplar of Hope.’ The Very Reverend Mario Esposito, O.Carm., Prior Provincial of the Carmelite Friars of the Saint Elias Province in Middletown, NY served as the principal celebrant. Concelebrating with Father Mario were Rev. James Donlon and Rev. Timothy Ennis, O.Carm. The event was attended by invited members of
the clergy, members of the McCrory family, friends of the Congregation, and The Carmelite Novices and Friars of the Brandsma Priory Novitiate in Middletown, NY. The Mass was live streamed to the public via the Carmelite Sisters website.

Very Rev. Mario Esposito, O.Carm.

Excerpts from Fr. Mario’s homily:
...in working on Mother’s Cause for so many years, and looking at her in the context of today, our Commission could not fail to notice that Mother Angeline, though certainly possessing the virtues of faith, and charity and compassion to an heroic degree, also excelled in the virtue of hope....A person of hope believes that God’s plan as revealed in Christ will not fail, and a hopefilled person relies on God’s grace to step by step reveal that plan, God’s will, and give the strength to carry it out....From those who knew her, it was clear that her most obvious and foundational virtue was faith – faith in God, in Our Lord Jesus Christ, faith and trust in the action of the Holy Spirit and Mary. She also had faith in the Church and its leaders, bishops, and priests....And what was next? Hope. ...Mother Angeline looked at Mary, Our Lady of Hope, as a model for herself and her Sisters....This hope is part of the charism and spirit of the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm and their ministry. Even when times are challenging, we have a grace-filled hope that God is with us, will direct us, and help us as he did Venerable Mary Angeline Teresa. The cross is a symbol of faith and the heart a symbol of charity. The precious symbol of hope is the anchor, which I didn’t always understand. When the anchor is sent off the ship, it must and does find a secure place on which to rest. The anchor holds the ship in place, giving stability and grounding....My sisters and brothers – Mother Angeline was grounded in the anchor of hope, Christ our Lord – his promises, his presence, his grace to help in all things. Hope must grow in us as well. Where are we anchored? I would guess in moments of anxiety and fear, the anchor may not be in the right place. Mother Angeline can remind us to be sure we are anchored in the right and secure place, our dear Lord, whose promises are always trustworthy. As the Letter to the Hebrews announced: ‘Let us rouse one another to love and good works” always anchored in Christ.

The Saints of St. Bede Catholic Church and Mother Angeline

The panels of the perimeter of the church and panel 8 depicting Mother Angeline

A massive art project commissioned by St. Bede Catholic Church in Williamsburg, VA, The Saints of St. Bede, includes 34 panels totaling approximately 1,360 square feet of handcrafted mosaic art. The mosaic panels will grace the perimeter of the church and depict 162 saints, including those who are venerated as venerable and blessed by the Roman Catholic Church. Venerable Mary Angeline Teresa McCrory, O.Carm. is portrayed in this series of very large mosaics. The Saints of St. Bede illustrate all the saints of the Americas as well as other men and women who lived heroically virtuous lives worthy of imitation or who were martyred for the Faith. Of the 162 who are depicted, 120 of those are people who lived and worked in the Americas since about 1530. The other 42 are saints whose lives span over 2000 years of Christian history and have a particular connection to the parish of St. Bede, the Diocese of Richmond, or a special devotion expressed by a parishioner.

Mother’s biography is also posted on St. Bede’s bulletin website for anyone in the world to read. The biographies of the individuals in the mosaic project can be found on this webpage: http://www.bedeva.org/meet-the-saints-of-saint-bede. Mother Angeline shares
the panel with two other venerables: Venerable Henriette DeLille, S.S.F. and Venerable Alphonse Gallegos, O.A.R. Mother Angeline can be found on Panel 8. All of the figures depicted are based on live models. First, the image is painted, and then it is enlarged to a cartoon as a reverse image measuring 5’ x 8’ and is sent to the mosaicists. Venetian glass tiles are adhered to the drawing, and then the panel is mortared into a brass frame that has a substrate underneath it. The panel, weighing 260 pounds, has a beveled edge, and is held in place with a French cleat system. The best way to ensure the quality, safety and completion of the panels was to have the artisans on site: Angel Ramiro Sanchez, the principal artist and designer of the project; Emanuel Barsanti of Barsanti Bronze Marble Mosaic, the “general artistic contractor” for the project; and Manrico Bertellotti, the principal mosaicist. The project began in 2016 with a planned completion date of 4-5 years
and an estimated cost of $1 million. The funds were procured through private gifts and generous parishioners. To paraphrase the words of the Director of Development of St. Bede Catholic Church, Mr. Harold Samorian, Jr.,‘It is our job to propagate the faith to do this for generations to come, to help them learn about the Faith… One of the hopes is that each of us see ourselves in someone depicted… Some may have a connection with one of those marked by the sign of Faith.’ The Carmelite Sisters, their families, the residents of the Homes, and members of the Mother Angeline Society surely do! The Saints of the Americas around the Altar – mosaic program video can be found on online on the St. Bede Catholic Church YouTube channel.